SAN ANTONIO--Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is a member of three teams awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory to develop technologies to advance the state-of-the-art in power generation. The three projects total about $18.2 million in DOE and private non-DOE funding, and are part of DOE’s initiative to advance gas turbine components and supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles. SwRI’s share of the awards is about $7.8 million.
“SwRI has been working with the Department of Energy for the past 10 years on several large power plant and energy development programs,” said Dr. Klaus Brun, a program director in SwRI’s Mechanical Engineering Division. “The technologies being advanced under these new projects address key technology needs to make power plants cleaner and more efficient.”
SwRI will lead the team of Thar Energy LLC, GE Global Research, Georgia Tech, and the University of Central Florida for the project “High Inlet Temperatures Combustor for Direct Fired Supercritical Oxy-Combustion.” The project will demonstrate an integrated 1 megawatt oxy-combustion cycle to advance fossil fuel fired sCO2 power cycles. Goals include generating a detailed combustor and test stand design, and fabricating and integrating a prototype into an existing test loop at SwRI for performance testing.
GE Global Research will lead “Development of Low-Leakage Seals for Utility-Scale sCO2 Turbines.” GE and SwRI will develop advanced shaft seal technology for large high-pressure, high-temperature applications. Objectives include developing detailed designs for the seal and full-scale test rig, fabricating test articles, laboratory testing, and full-scale testing at SwRI.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will lead the team of SwRI, Purdue University, the University of Alabama, the University of Michigan, the University of Central Florida, and Duke Energy on the project “Rotating Detonation Combustion for Gas Turbines.” This project will develop rotating detonation engine technology for power generation applications. SwRI will evaluate diffuser devices that remove unsteadiness in the process, enabling integration with power generation turbines.
All three projects are three-year efforts and are expected to be underway in August 2016.