Power Generation Goals
Goal 1: Efficiency
Increase combined cycle efficiency to 70 percent and simple cycle efficiency to more than 50 percent.
Goal 2: Compatibility with Renewable Energy Sources
Reduce turbine start-up times and improve the ability of gas turbines operating in simple and combined cycles to operate at high efficiency while accommodating flexible power demands and other requirements associated with integrating power generation turbines with renewable energy sources and energy storage systems.
Goal 3: CO2 Emissions
Reduce CO2 emissions to as close to zero as possible while still meeting emission standards for NOx.
Goal 4: Fuel Flexibility
Enable gas turbines for power generation to operate with natural gas fuel mixtures with high proportions (up to 100 percent) of hydrogen and other renewable gas fuels of various compositions.
Goal 5: Levelized Cost of Electricity
Enable reductions in the levelized cost of electricity from power generation gas turbines to ensure that these costs remain competitive with the cost of solar and wind power systems over the long term.
Goal 1: Fuel Burn
Develop advanced technologies that will increase thermal efficiency to enable a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn relative to today’s best-in-class turbofan engines for narrow- and wide-body aircraft, and concomitant reductions in fuel burn for military aircraft.
Oil and Gas Goals
Goal 1: Fuel Flexibility
Enable gas turbines for natural gas pipeline compressor stations (and other oil and gas applications) to operate with natural gas fuel mixtures with high proportions (up to 100 percent) of hydrogen and other renewable gas fuels of various compositions.
Goal 2: Condition-Based Operations and Maintenance (CBOM)
Develop the ability for condition-based operations and maintenance to increase periods of uninterrupted operation for natural gas pipeline compressor stations to 3 years or more without reducing availability or reliability.
Goal 3: Flexible Power Demand and Efficiency
Design gas turbines for pipeline compressor stations (and other oil and gas applications) that can handle large load swings and operate at partial load with efficiency that exceeds the efficiency of stations that use compressors driven by electric motors.
RESEARCH AREAS AND TOPICS
Research Area 1: Combustion
Enhance foundational knowledge needed for low-emission combustion systems that (1) can work in the high-pressure, high-temperature environments that will be required for high-efficiency cycles, including constant pressure and pressure gain combustion systems; and (2) have operational characteristics that do not limit a gas turbine’s transient response or turndown (i.e., the ability to operate acceptably over a range of power settings), with acceptable performance over a range of fuel compositions.
Research Topic 1.1: Fundamental Combustion Properties
Investigate fundamental combustion properties that control macrosystem emissions and operability characteristics for constant pressure and pressure gain combustors.
Research Topic 1.2: Combustion Concepts to Reduce Harmful Emissions at Elevated Temperatures and Pressures
Develop combustion concepts that emit acceptable levels of harmful emissions in high-efficiency cycles.
Research Topic 1.3: Operational and Performance Limits on Combustors
Develop the ability to better understand and predict combustion operational limits that restrict overall gas turbine transient responses (e.g., varying load rapidly to back up intermittent renewable energy sources), turndown, and the ability to accommodate variable fuel compositions.
Research Area 2: Structural Materials and Coatings
Develop (1) the technology required to produce ceramic matrix composites (CMCs); (2) advanced computational models; and (3) advanced metallic material and component technologies that would improve the efficiency of gas turbines and reduce their development time and life-cycle costs.
Research Topic 2.1: CMC Performance and Affordability
Develop processing methods to manufacture higher quality silicon carbide (SiC) fibers at a lower cost than is currently possible, supporting widespread implementation of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) for hot gas path applications within gas turbines.
Research Topic 2.2: Physics-Based Lifing Models
Establish physics-based lifing models that address environmental degradation of hot section turbine materials.
Research Topic 2.3: Advanced Alloy Technologies
Develop advanced high-temperature alloys and component design concepts for these alloys.
Research Area 3: Additive Manufacturing for Gas Turbines
Integrate model-based definitions of gas turbine materials (those already in use as well as advanced materials under development), materials processes, and manufacturing machines with design tools and shop floor equipment to accelerate design and increase component yield while reducing performance variability.
Research Topic 3.1: Integrated Design and Additive Manufacturing
Develop advanced methods for integrating models of materials, processes, machines, and cost with computer-aided design (CAD) software to create a complete digital engineering framework that accommodates the particular needs of gas turbine designers for additive manufacturing.
Research Topic 3.2: Additive Manufacturing of High-Temperature Structural Materials
Develop new high-temperature structural materials and advanced additive manufacturing equipment and processes in order to raise the thermal efficiency and operating temperature limits and increase the durability of gas turbine components produced using additive manufacturing; in addition, accelerate the qualification process for their application.
Research Topic 3.3: Integration of Sensors, Machine Learning, and Process Analytics
Integrate models of physics-based composition, processing, microstructures, and mechanical behavior with artificial intelligence (AI) analysis and decision making of process signals into the manufacturing infrastructure to enhance process controls and first-time yields of gas turbine components.
Research Area 4: Thermal Management
Develop advanced cooling strategies that can quickly and inexpensively be incorporated into gas turbines and enable higher turbine inlet temperatures, increased cycle pressure ratios, and lower combustor and turbine cooling flows, thereby yielding increased thermodynamic cycle efficiency while meeting gas turbine life requirements.
Research Topic 4.1: Innovative Cooling
Improve turbine component efficiencies through innovative cooling technologies and strategies.
Research Topic 4.2: Full Conjugate Heat Transfer Models
Develop advanced full conjugate heat transfer techniques to enable the optimum design of combustor and turbine cooling configurations, which would minimize component cooling air flow, enable increased turbine inlet temperatures, and allow for higher cycle pressure ratios.
Research Topic 4.3: Fundamental Physics and Modeling in Particle-Laden Flows
Develop a fundamental understanding of the physics and modeling of particle-laden flows in gas turbines that result from their respective operating environments.
Research Area 5: High-Fidelity Integrated Simulations and Validation Experiments
Develop and validate physics-based, high-fidelity computational predictive simulations that enable detailed engineering analysis early in the design process, including virtual exploration of gas turbine module interactions and off-design operating conditions.
Research Topic 5.1: Numerical Simulation of Subsystems and System Integration
Develop advanced, high-fidelity, predictive numerical simulations to permit expanded exploration of design spaces and to enhance system-level optimization to support the development of gas turbines with higher efficiencies, reliability, and durability, and with lower development costs.
Research Topic 5.2: Coordinated Experimental Research
Conduct experimental research to validate numerical simulations of individual and integrated gas turbine modules.
Research Topic 5.3: Computer Science and the Utility of Simulation Data
Develop advanced methods for mapping high-fidelity numerical tools, including pre- and post-processing algorithms, to emerging computer architectures to facilitate the adoption of the high-fidelity simulation tools by gas turbine designers without specialized expertise in these methods.
Research Area 6: Unconventional Thermodynamic Cycles
Investigate and develop unconventional thermodynamic cycles for simple and combined cycle gas turbines to improve thermal efficiency, while ensuring that trade-offs with other elements of gas turbine performance, such as life-cycle cost, are acceptable.
Research Topic 6.1: Gas Turbines with Pressure Gain Combustion: Technology
Develop gas turbine technology that would allow incorporation of unconventional cycles to maximize improvements in thermal efficiency that are achievable using pressure gain combustion.
Research Topic 6.2: Gas Turbine Cycles for Carbon-Free Fuels
Develop gas turbine technology that would allow incorporation of unconventional Brayton cycle variants to achieve high thermal efficiency from combustion of carbon-free fuels such as hydrogen.
Research Topic 6.3: Gas Turbine Cycles with Inherent Carbon Capture Ability
Develop gas turbine technology that would allow incorporation of unconventional cycles or improvements to existing cycles that have inherent carbon capture ability (i.e., no need for expensive and complex add-ons to capture CO2 from the exhaust stream).
Research Area 7: System Integration
Improve, modify, and/or expand the conventional gas turbine architecture (i.e., a compressor module, combustor module, and turbine module on a common shaft in the direction of gas flow) to enable the development of gas turbines with higher performance and/or greater breadth of application.
Research Topic 7.1: Gas Turbines with Pressure Gain Combustion: System Layout
Develop an optimal layout for gas turbines with pressure gain combustion that derives the maximum benefit from the total pressure rise generated by the combustor.
Research Topic 7.2: Closed Cycle Gas Turbines
Develop closed cycle gas turbine systems to maximize reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) and thermal efficiency when using external heat sources, such as solar and modular nuclear power plants, that eliminate carbon emissions.
Research Topic 7.3: Hybrid Gas Turbine Systems
Develop configurations for compact and cost-effective integration of Brayton cycle gas turbines with other technologies (e.g., fuel cells and reciprocating engines) for high thermal efficiency.
Research Area 8: Condition-Based Operations and Maintenance
Develop technologies that will improve operation of gas turbines by reducing the amount of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, thereby reducing unscheduled shutdowns.
Research Topic 8.1: Sensors
Develop reliable, high-capability, and low-cost sensors that will improve the accuracy of information gained about the health of gas turbines during operation.
Research Topic 8.2: Inspection and Repair Technologies
Develop in situ inspection and repair technologies to evaluate the degraded state of gas turbines, to maximize run time, and to minimize long-term maintenance costs.
Research Topic 8.3: Advanced Controls
Develop advanced controls to respond to electric grid requirements associated with the increasing operational integration of the existing power grid with renewable energy sources and energy storage systems.
Research Area 9: Digital Twins and Their Supporting Infrastructure
Develop the capability to generate enhanced digital twins and a digital thread infrastructure that supports them.
Research Topic 9.1: Digital Twins and the Digital Thread
Develop digital twins and the supporting digital thread infrastructure that is specially designed to meet the needs of a gas turbine.
Research Area 10: Gas Turbines in Pipeline Applications
Investigate (1) opportunities to improve the efficiency of gas turbines in pipeline applications exposed to extended periods of partial load operation and (2) the safety implications of gas turbines with a substantial percentage of hydrogen in the fuel.
Research Topic 10.1: Efficiency of Pipeline Gas Turbines Under Partial Load
Improve the efficiency of gas turbines for natural gas pipeline compressor stations while operating under partial load and while maintaining high efficiency at peak load.
Research Topic 10.2: Safe Operation of Gas Turbines in Pipeline Applications with Hydrogen Fuels
Develop the ability for gas turbines in pipeline applications to operate safely with varying levels of hydrogen (up to 100 percent).