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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Cycle Innovations

Toward Higher Micro Gas Turbine Efficiency and Flexibility—Humidified Micro Gas Turbines: A Review

[+] Author and Article Information
Ward De Paepe

Department of Thermal Engineering and
Combustion,
Faculty of Engineering,
University of Mons (UMONS),
Place du Parc 20,
Mons 7000, Belgium
e-mail: ward.depaepe@umons.ac.be

Marina Montero Carrero

Thermo and Fluid Dynamics (FLOW),
Faculty of Engineering,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB),
Pleinlaan 2,
Brussels 1050, Belgium
e-mail: mmontero@vub.ac.be

Svend Bram

Thermo and Fluid Dynamics (FLOW),
Faculty of Engineering,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB),
Pleinlaan 2,
Brussels 1050, Belgium
e-mail: svend.bram@vub.be

Alessandro Parente

Aero-Thermo-Mechanical Department (ATM),
Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB),
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50,
Brussels 1050, Belgium
e-mail: alparent@ulb.ac.be

Francesco Contino

Thermo and Fluid Dynamics (FLOW),
Faculty of Engineering,
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB),
Pleinlaan 2,
Brussels 1050, Belgium
e-mail: fcontino@vub.ac.be

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Cycle Innovations Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 17, 2017; final manuscript received August 30, 2017; published online July 10, 2018. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 140(8), 081702 (Jul 10, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: GTP-17-1371; doi: 10.1115/1.4038365 History: Received July 17, 2017; Revised August 30, 2017

Micro gas turbines (mGTs) offer several advantages for small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) production compared to their main competitors, the internal combustion engines (ICEs), such as low vibration level, cleaner exhaust, and less maintenance. The major drawback is their lower electrical efficiency, which makes them economically less attractive and explains their low market penetration. Next to improving the efficiency of the components of the traditional recuperated mGT, shifting toward more innovative cycles may help enhancing the performance and the flexibility of mGTs. One interesting solution is the introduction of water in the mGT cycle—either as auto-raised steam or hot liquid—preheated with the waste heat from the exhaust gases. The so-called humidification of the mGT cycle has the potential of increasing the electrical performance and flexibility of the mGT, resulting in a higher profitability. However, despite the proven advantages of mGT humidification, only few of these engines have been experimentally tested and up to now, no cycle is commercially available. With this paper, we give a comprehensive review of the literature on research and development of humidified mGTs: we examine the effect of humidification both on the improvement of the cycle efficiency and flexibility and on the performance of the specific mGT components. Additionally, we will present the different possible layouts, both focusing on the numerical and experimental work. Finally, we pinpoint the technological challenges that need to be overcome for humidified mGTs to be viable. In conclusion, humidification of mGT cycles offers great potential for enhancing the cycle's electrical efficiency and flexibility, but further research is necessary to make the technology commercially available.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The mGTs is a typical recuperated Brayton cycle, consisting of a radial compressor (1) and turbine (4), a low-NOx burner (3), a recuperator (2) to increase the efficiency and a high speed generator (5). Since most mGTs are used in CHP applications, the thermal power is produced in an economizer (6).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

In a mGT with annular recuperator (here the Capstone C60 [11]), the compressor outlet is less accessible for possible cycle modifications, compared to the models with a separated recuperator layout

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic overview of the different possible humidified mGT cycle layouts, consisting of cycles with injected water that fully evaporates (a), cycles with steam injection (b), and cycles with water injection in a saturation tower with water recovery loop (c)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Literature data of simulated performance improvement for the different types of existing method for mGT cycle humidification clearly highlight that cycles using a saturation tower with water recovery loop for humidification (mHAT, triangles) have the highest potential, compared to cycles with water injection that fully evaporates (WI, diamonds), which in turn is superior over mGTs with steam injection (STIG, circles). The numbers refer to the reference from which the data were taken.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

On the mGT shaft, compressor and turbine are placed back to back to balance the forces on the shaft (example: Ansaldo AE-T100 mGT (a) [5] and Capstone C30 (b) [10])

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

By introducing water in the mGT cycle (here simulated on a Turbec T100 [33] at constant rotational speed (N=cte) and at constant power output (Pgen=cte)), the surge margin of the compressor is reduced

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