sCO2 turbine for Allam Cycle

4 August 2016

Aturbine operating with supercritical CO2 as the working fluid, with oxyfuel combustor, is one of the enabling technologies needed to make the highly promising Allam Cycle a reality (see MPS April 2016, pp 8-10).

Toshiba is developing the first-of-a-kind turbine and combustor, and is expected to be shortly supplying this equipment to the 50 MWt demonstration project currently under construction in Texas, where first firing is pencilled in for around March 2017. Toshiba has been working on the new technology since 2012, in conjunction with NET Power, CB&I, Exelon and 8 Rivers Capital.

The new supercritical CO2 power cycle employs high temperatures and high pressure gas at the turbine inlet. To cope with these conditions, Toshiba has utilised materials developed for use in high temperature steam turbines together with technology derived from combustion and cooling technology used in gas turbines, eg, thermal barrier coatings and intricate cooling channels.

The Toshiba developed CO2 turbine combines elements of both advanced steam (including the ability to operate at 300 bar, with pressure ratio about 10) and the high temperature capabilities ofgasturbines.

The inlet temperature of the turbine is 1150°C, which is in fact “not that high” compared with modern gas turbine practice, said Hideo Nomoto (formerly Toshiba, now with 8 Rivers) at a March 2016 IMechE conference in Manchester, UK (Steam turbine and generator user group).

Materials Toshiba is employing in the turbine include: Ni based forging and CrMoV forging welded together for the rotor (to minimise requirement for Ni based material); CrMoV casting for outer casing; Ni base casting and CrMoV for inner casings; Ni base casting for blades. Goodwin Steel Castings of the UK has been working with Toshiba on development and manufacture.

The required Ni based materials had already been developed by Toshiba for gas turbines and advanced ultrasupercritical coal plant applications (eg, TOS1X and TOS3X) and were “ready for use”, so “time consuming materials R&D was not necessary”, according to Hideo Nomoto, although the welding has proved difficult.

Rig testing on the Toshiba developed combustor has been successfully completed at a test rig in California. This is a first of a kind in view of the high pressure, and working fluid, but because there are no NOx emissions from atmospheric nitrogen, a stable diffusion flame can be used.

The combustor has been designed to cope with a gas pressure of 300 bars, more than 10 times the pressure used in conventional gas turbines, Toshiba notes. 

Allam Cycle Allam Cycle: basic process scheme
Allam Cycle Creep rupture strength of materials to be used in the CO2 turbine. TOS1X and TOS3X are already available, having been developed by Toshiba
Allam Cycle Supercritical-CO2 turbine component manufacturing by Toshiba for 50 MWt Allam Cycle demo plant
Allam Cycle Combustor for 50 MWt Allam Cycle demo plant (currently under construction). Toshiba says this is first-of-a-kind in view of the high pressures and the working fluid. However, a stable diffusion flame can be used since NOx emissions are zero and there is no need for novel cooling schemes since temperatures are within existing gas turbine experience
Allam Cycle Rotor and cooling design concept for supercritical-CO2 turbine (Source of this and other diagrams: Toshiba and 8Rivers, IMechE Steam Turbine and Generator User Group 2016, Manchester, UK, 16-17 March 2016)

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