GE Gas Power has secured $4.2 million in federal funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding is part of the ARPA-E OPEN 2021 programme, which prioritises the advancement of transformational technologies supporting a more decarbonised energy system. GE Gas Power’s funding is focused on two projects entitled “Lifted-flame combustion for high-hydrogen reheat gas turbines” and “Manufacturing high-yield investment castings with minimal energy.” Both initiatives will be led by GE Gas Power and conducted at GE’s Global Technology centre in Greenville, South Carolina.
Common to both projects, GE will conduct what it believes is cutting-edge research for gas turbine decarbonisation in close collaboration with industrial companies and educational institutions.
John Intile, VP Engineering at GE Power, commented: “GE is pleased that ARPA-E has recognised the value of developing alternative methods to boost the efficiency of gas turbines powered by fuel blends with high percentage of hydrogen, and the potential to completely disrupt current cycle time, producibility limits and energy requirements for investment castings of turbine components. We look forward to developing these breakthrough technologies with … collaborators including Georgia Institute of Technology, the GE Global Research Center, and [casting specialists] DDM Systems.”
The project ‘Lifted-Flame Combustion for High-Hydrogen Reheat Gas Turbines’ will investigate a lifted-flame combustion approach for advanced gas turbine engines powered by mixtures of natural gas and hydrogen. Gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) combustion technology is very mature in its present form, and further gains in efficiency are likely to be incremental without game-changing technical and operating cycle advances. This new technology and research aim to break the current, materials-limited upper bound efficiency barrier for new gas turbines and installed base retrofits and create a new GTCC growth trajectory targeting net plant efficiencies of 67% or greater on a wide range of fuel compositions, all while meeting strict emissions standards.
A second project, ‘Manufacturing High-Yield Investment Castings with Minimal Energy’ will develop and combine key elements of casting technology including an innovative furnace development, as well as 3D printed additive ceramic moulding technologies that will ‘fundamentally change the production of high-value metal components for gas turbines’. It is believed that the new system could produce cast parts using up to 90% less energy than traditional methods, as well as provide improved quality, consistency, and yield, all at lower cost.
GE Gas Power will develop this advanced solution in collaboration with DDM Systems, a company known for the precision investment castings of complex engineered components.