Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Aircraft Engine

Advances in the Development of a Microturbine Engine

[+] Author and Article Information
O. Dessornes

Palaiseau, France
e-mail: olivier.dessornes@onera.fr

S. Landais

Palaiseau, France
e-mail: Stephane.landais@onera.fr

R. Valle

Chatillon, France
e-mail: Roger.valle@onera.fr

A. Fourmaux

Meudon, France
e-mail: antoine.fourmaux@onera.fr

S. Burguburu

Moissy-Cramayel, France
e-mail: Stéphane.burguburu@snecma.fr

C. Zwyssig

Zürich, Switzerland
e-mail: Christof.zwyssig@celeroton.com

Technical University of Lodz,
Lodz 90-924, Poland
e-mail: Poland zkozan@p.lodz.pl

Contributed by the Aircraft Engine Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received January 9, 2014; final manuscript received January 10, 2014; published online February 18, 2014. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 136(7), 071201 (Feb 18, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: GTP-14-1011; doi: 10.1115/1.4026541 History: Received January 09, 2014; Revised January 10, 2014

To reduce the size and weight of power generation machines for portable devices, several systems to replace the currently used heavy batteries are being investigated worldwide. As micro gas turbines are expected to offer the highest power density, several research groups launched programs to develop ultra micro gas turbines: IHI firm (Japan), PowerMEMS Consortium (Belgium). At Onera, a research program called DecaWatt is under development in order to realize a demonstrator of a micro gas turbine engine in the 50 to 100 Watts electrical power range. A single-stage gas turbine is currently being studied. First of all, a calculation of the overall efficiency of the micro gas turbine engine has been carried out according to the pressure ratio, the turbine inlet temperature, and the compressor and turbine efficiencies. With realistic hypotheses, we could obtain an overall efficiency of about 5% to 10%, which leads to around 200 W/kg when taking into account the mass of the micro gas turbine engine, its electronics, fuel and packaging. Moreover, the specific energy could be in the range 300 to 600 Wh/kg, which largely exceeds the performance of secondary batteries. To develop such a micro gas turbine engine, experimental and computational work focused on: (1) a 10-mm diameter centrifugal compressor, with the objective to obtain a pressure ratio of about 2.5; (2) a radial inflow turbine; (3) journal and thrust gas bearings (lobe bearings and spiral grooves) and their manufacturing; (4) a small combustor working with hydrogen or hydrocarbon gaseous fuel (propane); (5) a high rotation speed microgenerator; and (6) the choice of materials. Components of this tiny engine were tested prior to the test with all the parts assembled together. Tests of the generator at 700,000 rpm showed a very good efficiency of this component. In the same way, compressor testing was performed up to 500,000 rpm and showed that the nominal compression rate at the 840,000 rpm nominal speed should nearly be reached.

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Fig. 1

Architecture of the micro gas turbine engine

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Fig. 2

Prototype on the test bench

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Fig. 3

Combustion chamber of the micro gas turbine engine

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Fig. 4

Computed temperature for hydrogen (left) and propane (right)

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Fig. 5

Released energy (W.m−3)

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Fig. 6

Picture of the compressor

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Fig. 7

3D view of the compressor and its diffuser

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Fig. 8

Computed pressure ratios for nominal and partial regime

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Fig. 9

Microcompressor test bench compared to the final microturbine engine

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Fig. 10

Compressor test setup

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Fig. 11

Experimental pressure ratios (without diffuser)

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Fig. 12

Comparison between computation and experiments

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Fig. 13

Generator drawing and dimensions

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Fig. 14

Measured speed dependent losses

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Fig. 15

Geometry of the gas bearings

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Fig. 16

Position of the gas bearings

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Fig. 17

Machining process for the lobe bearings

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Fig. 19

SEM micrograph of two neighboring lobes of the superalloy gas bearing

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Fig. 20

View of the thrust bearing



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