Development and Testing of a Novel Centrifugal Gas Turbine Design Phase II – Combustor Development and Load Testing, 18-9540

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Principal Investigator
Klaus Brun

Inclusive Dates:  04/01/05 – Current

Background - This project aims to develop a novel centrifugal gas turbine design that will give Southwest Research Institute® the proprietary patent for a marketable power generation product. The research effort will consist of the design, development, and full prototype testing of a 50-horsepower centrifugal gas turbine. The centrifugal gas turbine concept is based on a radial flow gas turbine consisting of a centrifugal compressor and impulse turbine mounted on the same side of a rotating wheel. Because the radial flow-vaned combustor is mounted on the wheel's stationary shroud; there is no 180-degree flow turning required as in conventional radial flow gas turbines. This simple and rugged gas turbine concept has numerous advantages over the conventional turbines.

Approach - The project includes the conceptual design, structural and aerodynamic analysis, performance prediction modeling, detailed design, prototype fabrication, test rig instrumentation, and full speed/full load testing of the proposed centrifugal gas turbine. During Phase I, completed in December 2004, the performance of the compressor and turbine elements were individually mapped to allow for the development of accurate centrifugal gas turbine performance prediction tools. The current Phase II, initiated in April 2005, consists primarily of combustor development, combustor testing, and full gas turbine performance validation. System integration, controls, and safety shutdowns will also be addressed in this phase.

Accomplishments - A feasibility analysis was performed to determine practical combustion concepts. The results from this analysis showed that the concept with highest probability for success would be a recessed swirl combustor with dividing rib (see Figures 1 and 2). To verify and optimize the combustor design, a number of three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic studies were performed. A final prototype combustor geometry was selected. The final combustor and rotor geometries are currently being manufactured by outside machine shops. During the last three months, the fuel control system and control system were also designed. This system is currently being tested on a small gas turbine available from another project. The fuel system and controls will be integrated into the final gas turbine assembly after the rotor and stator have been received from fabrication.

During the next three months, the centrifugal gas turbine geometry with the combustor will be installed into the high-speed test rig. Basic functional run tests will be performed, and the automatic shutdown system will be verified. After the test cell area is completed and the control system fully integrated and tested, full load tests will be performed.

Figure 1. Gas Turbine with Recessed Cavity Combustor

Figure 2. Geometry of Combustor

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