NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory) has a University Turbine Systems Research Program (UTSR) that has a mandate to transition and develop advanced turbine productivity based systems and turbines to ensure that they operate efficiently and cleanly when fueled with hydrogen fuels and syngas (coal derived synthesis gas). The research focuses its attention on materials, heat transfer/aerodynamics and combustion. Due to the fact that there is fuel flexibility, the gas turbines can then be used in IGCC applications that are made to capture CO2.
Supercritical CO2 Based Power Cycles
These operate similarly to the other turbine productivity with the exception that CO2 is the fluid working in the machinery. The cycle works above Carbon Dioxide’s critical point ensuring that the liquid CO2 does not convert to its gaseous form. Instead, its density changes drastically as it undergoes changes in pressure and temperature. As such, a lot of energy is removed at very high temperatures from apparatus that is comparatively small in size. There is plenty of ongoing research by NETL with the hope of getting greater efficiency in sCO2 and combustion turbine power cycles that will be able to power the new generation facilities.
The advanced research level currently pertains to three major areas. They are:
Heat transfer/ Aerodynamics project – The goal of this program is to investigate the operation conditions unique to hydrogen turbine productivity and design improvements for these particular areas. The current focus is on increasing the length of airfoil, reduction of cooling flows, increasing the areas of the expansion stage, reduction of leakage flow and sealing rates, reduction of the rotating airfoil count. With these changes, it is expected that the power output will be higher and the machines more efficient.
Combustion – Improvements in this area are geared towards the development of a hydrogen or syngas fueled gas turbine productivity. Current efforts are focused on assessing and measuring the various properties of combusting hydrogen and how the said properties can be used to create combustion systems with low NOx.
Materials: Thermal Barrier Coatings – These projects are working to develop and assess TBCs (thermal barrier coatings) that are able to provide the durability and performance that is required if they are to be used in hydrogen and syngas fueled advanced gas turbines.
The overall mission of NETL is to ‘discover, integrate and mature technology solutions’ for the purpose of enhancing the energy foundation of the nation while at the same time protecting the environment and preserving it for upcoming generations. Contact us for consultation and services on your gas turbine here.