Mitsubishi's 1700 program, IGCC and hydrogen turbines

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With almost 1000 technical papers on the subject of turbomachinery on offer during four days of intensive sessions, it’s hard to beat the ASME’s Turbo Expo as a source of leading edge technology. While a good portion deals with the theoretical and experimental, plenty of it addresses existing technology as well as upcoming developments.

Eisaku Ito of MHI discussed the company’s 1700°C program which included adjustments to the combustor and better thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) utilizing a top coat of ceramic material. He was followed by Skigh Lewis, a combustion aero-thermal engineer from GE Energy, who covered the F-class Dry Low NOx (DLN) enhancements in the form of the DLN2.6+ combustor. It has 18 nearly identical cans and incorporates GE’s patented “swozzle” technology (combining swirlers and nozzles) to increase firing temperature while decreasing emissions.


The conference devoted an entire afternoon to the subject of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), promoting it as an essential element of the nation’s fuel mix going forward. Richard Dennis of NETL said the Carbon Capture and Storage/Sequestration (CCS) was needed to meet lower CO2 targets and that CCS would eventually be used for natural gas and oil, as well as coal. NETL and the DOE are hard at work to bring as many as 10 large-scale plants online by 2015 to both prove and improve this technology. Meanwhile Duke Energy’s new IGCC facility will be online within one year. 

A major research goal, said Dennis, was to create a hydrogen turbine that could fire at 2650°F. Reason: while there are many areas that can be addressed to improve IGCC efficiency and reduce cost, the turbine gives the biggest benefit. Robert Steele, a Senior Project Manager at EPRI , echoed that the gas turbine was key, while adding that boosting supercritical steam turbine temperatures could also make a difference.

This year’s conference also included a series of tutorials on such subjects as steam turbines, compressor dynamics, inlet cooling and cogeneration. Rakesh Bhargava of Foster Wheeler began with the history of Combined Heat and Power (CHP), while Cyrus Meher-Homji, a Bechtel Turbomachinery and LNG Specialist highlighted the relationship between turbine inlet temperature and pressure ratio. The tutorial theme was continued by Dharam Punwani of Avalon Consulting who gave an overview of inlet cooling as well as fogging technologies. He was followed by speakers outlining the basics of wetted media evaporative cooling, inlet chilling and Thermal Energy Storage (TES).

Next year’s Turbo Expo will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark.