Gas turbines: Wikis

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A typical axial-flow gas turbine turbojet, the J85, sectioned for display. Flow is left to right, multistage compressor on left, combustion chambers center, two-stage turbine on right

A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a flow of combustion gas. It has an upstream compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between. (Gas turbine may also refer to just the turbine element.)

Energy is added to the gas stream in the combustor, where air is mixed with fuel and ignited. Combustion increases the temperature, velocity and volume of the gas flow. This is directed through a nozzle over the turbine's blades, spinning the turbine and powering the compressor.

Energy is extracted in the form of shaft power, compressed air and thrust, in any combination, and used to power aircraft, trains, ships, generators, and even tanks.

Contents

History

  • 150: Hero's Engine (aeolipile) — Apparently, Hero's steam engine was taken to be no more than a toy, and thus its full potential not realized for centuries.
  • 1500: The "Chimney Jack" was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci which was turning a roasting spit. Hot air from a fire rose through a series of fans which connect and turn the roasting spit.
  • 1551: Taqi al-Din invented a steam turbine, which he used to power a self-rotating spit.[1]
  • 1629: Jets of steam rotated a turbine that then rotated driven machinery allowed a stamping mill to be developed by Giovanni Branca.
  • 1678: Ferdinand Verbiest built a model carriage relying on a steam jet for power.
  • 1791: A patent was given to John Barber, an Englishman, for the first true gas turbine. His invention had most of the elements present in the modern day gas turbines. The turbine was designed to power a horseless carriage.
  • 1872: A gas turbine engine was designed by Dr. Franz Stolze, but the engine never ran under its own power.
  • 1894: Sir Charles Parsons patented the idea of propelling a ship with a steam turbine, and built a demonstration vessel, the Turbinia, easily the fastest vessel afloat at the time. This principle of propulsion is still of some use.
  • 1895: Three 4-ton 100 kW Parsons radial flow generators were installed in Cambridge Power Station, and used to power the first electric street lighting scheme in the city.
  • 1903: A Norwegian, Ægidius Elling, was able to build the first gas turbine that was able to produce more power than needed to run its own components, which was considered an achievement in a time when knowledge about aerodynamics was limited. Using rotary compressors and turbines it produced 11 hp (massive for those days). His work was later used by Sir Frank Whittle.
  • 1913: Nikola Tesla patents the Tesla turbine based on the Boundary layer effect.
  • 1914: Application for a gas turbine engine filed by Charles Curtis.
  • 1918: One of the leading gas turbine manufacturers of today, General Electric, started their gas turbine division.
  • 1920: The practical theory of gas flow through passages was developed into the more formal (and applicable to turbines) theory of gas flow past airfoils by Dr. A. A. Griffith.
  • 1930: Sir Frank Whittle patented the design for a gas turbine for jet propulsion. His work on gas propulsion relied on the work from all those who had previously worked in the same field and he has himself stated that his invention would be hard to achieve without the works of Ægidius Elling. The first successful use of his engine was in April 1937.
  • 1934: Raúl Pateras de Pescara patented the free-piston engine as a gas generator for gas turbines.
  • 1936: Hans von Ohain and Max Hahn in Germany developed their own patented engine design at the same time that Sir Frank Whittle was developing his design in England.

Theory of operation

Gas turbines are described thermodynamically by the Brayton cycle, in which air is compressed isentropically, combustion occurs at constant pressure, and expansion over the turbine occurs isentropically back to the starting pressure.

In practice, friction and turbulence cause:

  1. non-isentropic compression: for a given overall pressure ratio, the compressor delivery temperature is higher than ideal.
  2. non-isentropic expansion: although the turbine temperature drop necessary to drive the compressor is unaffected, the associated pressure ratio is greater, which decreases the expansion available to provide useful work.
  3. pressure losses in the air intake, combustor and exhaust: reduces the expansion available to provide useful work.

As with all cyclic heat engines, higher combustion temperature means greater efficiency. The limiting factor is the ability of the steel, nickel, ceramic, or other materials that make up the engine to withstand heat and pressure. Considerable engineering goes into keeping the turbine parts cool. Most turbines also try to recover exhaust heat, which otherwise is wasted energy. Recuperators are heat exchangers that pass exhaust heat to the compressed air, prior to combustion. Combined cycle designs pass waste heat to steam turbine systems. And combined heat and power (co-generation) uses waste heat for hot water production.

Mechanically, gas turbines can be considerably less complex than internal combustion piston engines. Simple turbines might have one moving part: the shaft/compressor/turbine/alternative-rotor assembly (see image above), not counting the fuel system. However, the required precision manufacturing for components and temperature resistant alloys necessary for high efficiency often make the construction of a simple turbine more complicated than piston engines.

More sophisticated turbines (such as those found in modern jet engines) may have multiple shafts (spools), hundreds of turbine blades, movable stator blades, and a vast system of complex piping, combustors and heat exchangers.

As a general rule, the smaller the engine the higher the rotation rate of the shaft(s) needs to be to maintain top speed. Turbine blade top speed determines the maximum pressure that can be gained,this produces the maximum power possible independent of the size of the engine. Jet engines operate around 10,000 rpm and micro turbines around 100,000 rpm.

Thrust bearings and journal bearings are a critical part of design. Traditionally, they have been hydrodynamic oil bearings, or oil-cooled ball bearings. These bearings are being surpassed by foil bearings, which have been successfully used in micro turbines and auxiliary power units.

Types of gas turbines

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Aeroderivatives and jet engines

Diagram of a gas turbine jet engine

Airbreathing jet engines are gas turbines optimized to produce thrust from the exhaust gases, or from ducted fans connected to the gas turbines. Jet engines that produce thrust primarily from the direct impulse of exhaust gases are often called turbojets, whereas those that generate most of their thrust from the action of a ducted fan are often called turbofans or (rarely) fan-jets.

Gas turbines are also used in many liquid propellant rockets, the gas turbines are used to power a turbopump to permit the use of lightweight, low pressure tanks, which saves considerable dry mass.

Diagram of a high-pressure turbine blade

Aeroderivatives are also used in electrical power generation due to their ability to startup, shut down, and handle load changes more quickly than industrial machines. They are also used in the marine industry to reduce weight. The GE LM2500 and LM6000 are two common models of this type of machine.

Amateur gas turbines

Increasing numbers of gas turbines are being used or even constructed by amateurs.

In its most straightforward form, these are commercial turbines acquired through military surplus or scrapyard sales, then operated for display as part of the hobby of engine collecting.[2][3] In its most extreme form, amateurs have even rebuilt engines beyond professional repair and then used them to compete for the Land Speed Record.

The simplest form of self-constructed gas turbine employs an automotive turbocharger as the core component. A combustion chamber is fabricated and plumbed between the compressor and turbine sections.[4]

More sophisticated turbojets are also built, where their thrust and light weight are sufficient to power large model aircraft.[5] The Schreckling design[5] constructs the entire engine from raw materials, including the fabrication of a centrifugal compressor wheel from plywood, epoxy and wrapped carbon fibre strands.

Like many technology based hobbies, they tend to give rise to manufacturing businesses over time. Several small companies now manufacture small turbines and parts for the amateur. Most turbojet-powered model aircraft are now using these commercial and semi-commercial microturbines, rather than a Schreckling-like home-build.[6]

Auxiliary power units

APUs are small gas turbines designed for auxiliary power of larger machines, such as those inside an aircraft. They supply compressed air for aircraft ventilation (with an appropriate compressor design), start-up power for larger jet engines, and electrical and hydraulic power.

Industrial gas turbines for electrical generation

GE H series power generation gas turbine. This 480-megawatt unit has a rated thermal efficiency of 60% in combined cycle configurations.

Industrial gas turbines differ from aeroderivative in that the frames, bearings, and blading is of heavier construction. Industrial gas turbines range in size from truck-mounted mobile plants to enormous, complex systems. They can be particularly efficient—up to 60%—when waste heat from the gas turbine is recovered by a heat recovery steam generator to power a conventional steam turbine in a combined cycle configuration.[7] They can also be run in a cogeneration configuration: the exhaust is used for space or water heating, or drives an absorption chiller for cooling or refrigeration. Such engines require a dedicated enclosure, both to protect the engine from the elements and the operators from the noise.[citation needed]

The construction process for gas turbines can take as little as several weeks to a few months, compared to years for base load power plants.[citation needed] Their other main advantage is the ability to be turned on and off within minutes, supplying power during peak demand. Because they are less efficient than combined cycle plants, they are usually used as peaking power plants, which operate anywhere from several hours per day to a few dozen hours per year, depending on the electricity demand and the generating capacity of the region. In areas with a shortage of base load and load following power plant capacity, a gas turbine power plant may regularly operate during most hours of the day and even into the evening. A typical large single-cycle gas turbine may produce 100 to 300 megawatts of power and have 35–40% thermal efficiency.[citation needed]

The most efficient single-cycle turbines have reached 40% efficiency. "Combined-cycle power plants, in which exhaust heat from a gas turbine driving an electrical generator is used to make steam to power a separate [steam] turbine driving yet another electrical generator, can see efficiencies as high as 58 percent."[8]

Compressed air energy storage

One modern development seeks to improve efficiency in another way, by separating the compressor and the turbine with a compressed air store. In a conventional turbine, up to half the generated power is used driving the compressor. In a compressed air energy storage configuration, power, perhaps from a wind farm or bought on the open market at a time of low demand and low price, is used to drive the compressor, and the compressed air released to operate the turbine when required.

Turboshaft engines

Turboshaft engines are often used to drive compression trains (for example in gas pumping stations or natural gas liquefaction plants) and are used to power almost all modern helicopters. The first shaft bears the compressor and the high speed turbine (often referred to as "Gas Generator" or "N1"), while the second shaft bears the low speed turbine (or "Power Turbine" or "N2"). This arrangement is used to increase speed and power output flexibility.

Radial gas turbines

In 1963, Jan Mowill initiated the development at Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk in Norway. Various successors have made good progress in the refinement of this mechanism. Owing to a configuration that keeps heat away from certain bearings the durability of the machine is improved while the radial turbine is well matched in speed requirement.

Scale jet engines

Scale jet engines are scaled down versions of this early full scale engine

Also known as miniature gas turbines or micro-jets.

With this in mind the pioneer of modern Micro-Jets, Kurt Schreckling, produced one of the world's first Micro-Turbines, the FD3/67.[9] This engine can produce up to 22 newtons of thrust, and can be built by most mechanically minded people with basic engineering tools, such as a metal lathe.[citation needed]

Microturbines

A micro turbine designed for DARPA

Also known as:

Microturbines are becoming widespread for distributed power and combined heat and power applications. They are one of the most promising technologies for powering hybrid electric vehicles. They range from hand held units producing less than a kilowatt, to commercial sized systems that produce tens or hundreds of kilowatts.

Part of their success is due to advances in electronics, which allows unattended operation and interfacing with the commercial power grid. Electronic power switching technology eliminates the need for the generator to be synchronized with the power grid. This allows the generator to be integrated with the turbine shaft, and to double as the starter motor.

Microturbine systems have many advantages over reciprocating engine generators, such as higher power to weight ratio, extremely low emissions and few, or just one, moving part. Advantages are that microturnbines may be designed with foil bearings and air-cooling operating without lubricating oil, coolants or other hazardous materials. Microturbines also have a further advantage of having the majority of the waste heat contained in the relatively high temperature exhaust making it simpler to capture, whereas the waste heat of reciprocating engines is split between its exhaust and cooling system. [10] However, reciprocating engine generators are quicker to respond to changes in output power requirement and are usually slightly more efficient, although the efficiency of microturbines is increasing. Microturbines also lose more efficiency at low power levels than reciprocating engines. When used in vehicles the static efficiency drawback is negated by the superior power - weight ratio - the vehicle does not have to pull a heavy engine and transmission.

They accept most commercial fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas, propane, diesel, and kerosene as well as renewable fuels such as E85, biodiesel and biogas.

Microturbine designs usually consist of a single stage radial compressor, a single stage radial turbine and a recuperator. Recuperators are difficult to design and manufacture because they operate under high pressure and temperature differentials. Exhaust heat can be used for water heating, space heating, drying processes or absorption chillers, which create cold for air conditioning from heat energy instead of electric energy.

Typical microturbine efficiencies are 25 to 35%. When in a combined heat and power cogeneration system, efficiencies of greater than 80% are commonly achieved.

MIT started its millimeter size turbine engine project in the middle of the 1990s when Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alan H. Epstein considered the possibility of creating a personal turbine which will be able to meet all the demands of a modern person's electrical needs, just like a large turbine can meet the electricity demands of a small city. Problems have occurred with heat dissipation and high-speed bearing in these new microturbines. Moreover, their expected efficiency is very low 5-6%. According to Professor Epstein current commercial Li-ion rechargeable batteries deliver about 120-150 Wh/kg. MIT's millimeter size turbine will deliver 500-700 Wh/kg in the near term, rising to 1200-1500 Wh/kg in the longer term.[11]

External combustion

Most gas turbines are internal combustion engines but it is also possible to build an external combustion gas turbine which is, effectively, a turbine version of a hot air engine.

External combustion has been used for the purpose of using pulverized coal or finely ground biomass (such as sawdust) as a fuel. In the indirect system, a heat exchanger is used and only clean air with no combustion products travels through the power turbine. The thermal efficiency is lower in the indirect type of external combustion, however the blades are not subjected to combustion products.

Several small companies have begun to offer this technology on a commercial scale. BIOTEN a US based consortium is commercializing a 6.5 MW unit capable of utilizing low cost solid fuels including coal and biomass. BTOLA, a small Australian company touts that is has developed a unique combustion and ash separation system and as of November 2009 is commercializing 250 kW units that are able to run on biomass, coal or municipal solid waste. BTOLA states that due to the external nature of the combustion temperatures as high as 1,800 °C (3,300 °F) are able to be reached ensuring the destruction of noxious chemicals that may be present in waste products. Both companies are still in the relatively early stages of commercialization and ensuring long term performance will be key to the success of the technology.

Gas turbines in vehicles

The 1950 Rover JET1
The 1967 STP Oil Treatment Special on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, with the Pratt & Whitney gas turbine shown.
A 1968 Howmet TX, the only turbine-powered race car to have achieved victory.

Gas turbines are often used on ships, locomotives, helicopters, tanks, and to a lesser extent, on cars, buses, and motorcycles.

A key advantage of jets and turboprops for aeroplane propulsion - their superior performance at high altitude compared to piston engines, particularly naturally-aspirated ones - is irrelevant in automobile applications. Their power-to-weight advantage is far more important.

Gas turbines offer a high-powered engine in a very small and light package. However, they are not as responsive and efficient as small piston engines over the wide range of RPMs and powers needed in vehicle applications. In series hybrid vehicles, as the driving electric motors are mechanically detached from the electricity generating engine, the responsiveness problem is eliminated when using a gas turbine to turn the generator as it is run at the optimum speed. The emergence of the continuously variable transmission may also alleviate the responsiveness problem.

Turbines have historically been more expensive to produce than piston engines, though this is partly because piston engines have been mass-produced in huge quantities for decades, while small gas turbine engines are rarities; however, turbines are mass produced in the closely-related form of the turbocharger.

Passenger Road Vehicles (Cars, Bikes, and Buses)

A number of experiments have been conducted with gas turbine powered automobiles, the largest by Chrysler[12][13]. More recently, there has been some interest in the use of turbine engines for hybrid electric cars. The common turbocharger for gas or diesel engines is also a turbine derivative.

Concept Cars

In 1950, designer F.R. Bell and Chief Engineer Maurice Wilks from British car manufacturers Rover unveiled the first car powered with a gas turbine engine. The two-seater JET1 had the engine positioned behind the seats, air intake grilles on either side of the car, and exhaust outlets on the top of the tail. During tests, the car reached top speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph), at a turbine speed of 50,000 rpm. The car ran on petrol, paraffin or diesel oil, but fuel consumption problems proved insurmountable for a production car. It is currently on display at the London Science Museum.

American car manufacturer Chrysler demonstrated several prototype gas turbine-powered cars from the early 1950s through the early 1980s. Chrysler built fifty Chrysler Turbine Cars in 1963 and conducted the only consumer trial of gas turbine-powered cars.[14] Their turbines employed unique rotating recuperator that significantly increased efficiency. Chrysler put many cars into the hands of consumers, making this effort a small-scale near-production run.

The original General Motors Firebird was a series of concept cars developed for the 1953, 1956 and 1959 Motorama auto shows, powered by gas turbines.

Toyota demonstrated several gas turbine powered concept cars such as the Century gas turbine hybrid in 1975, the Sports 800 Gas Turbine Hybrid in 1979 and the GTV in 1985. No production vehicles were made. The GT24 engine was exhibited in 1977 without a vehicle.

The fictional Batmobile is often said to be powered by a gas turbine or a jet engine. The 1960s television show vehicle was said to be powered by a turbine engine, with a parachute braking system. For the 1989 Batman film, the production department built a working turbine vehicle for the Batmobile prop.[15] Its fuel capacity, however, was reportedly only enough for 15 seconds of use at a time.

In the early 1990s Volvo introduced the Volvo Environmental Concept Car which was a gas turbine powered hybrid car.[16]

In 1993 General Motors introduced the first commercial gas turbine powered hybrid vehicle—as a limited production run of the EV-1 series hybrid. A Williams International 40 kW turbine drove an alternator which powered the battery-electric powertrain. The turbine design included a recuperator. Later on in 2006 GM went into the EcoJet concept car project with Jay Leno.

Racing Cars

Rover and the BRM Formula One team joined forces to produce the Rover-BRM, a gas turbine powered coupe, which entered the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Graham Hill and Richie Ginther. It averaged 107.8 mph (173 km/h) and had a top speed of 142 mph (229 km/h). American Ray Heppenstall joined Howmet Corporation and McKee Engineering together to develop their own gas turbine sports car in 1968, the Howmet TX, which ran several American and European events, including two wins, and also participated in the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans. The cars used Continental gas turbines, which eventually set six FIA land speed records for turbine-powered cars.[17]

For open wheel racing, 1967's revolutionary STP Oil Treatment Special four-wheel drive turbine-powered special fielded by racing and entrepreneurial legend Andy Granatelli and driven by Parnelli Jones nearly won the Indianapolis 500; the STP Pratt & Whitney powered turbine car was almost a lap ahead of the second place car when a gearbox bearing failed just three laps from the finish line. In 1971 Lotus principal Colin Chapman introduced the Lotus 56B F1 car, powered by a Pratt & Whitney gas turbine. Chapman had a reputation of building radical championship-winning cars, but had to abandon the project because there were too many problems with turbo lag.

Buses

The arrival of the Capstone Microturbine has led to several hybrid bus designs, starting with HEV-1 by AVS of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1999, and closely followed by Ebus and ISE Research in California, and DesignLine Corporation in New Zealand (and later the United States). AVS turbine hybrids were plagued with reliability and quality control problems, resulting in liquidation of AVS in 2003. The most successful design by Designline is now operated in 5 cities in 6 countries, with over 30 buses in operation worldwide, and order for several hundred being delivered to Baltimore , and NYC.

Motorcycles

The MTT Turbine SUPERBIKE appeared in 2000 (hence the designation of Y2K Superbike by MTT) and is the first production motorcycle powered by a turbine engine - specifically, a Rolls-Royce Allison model 250 turboshaft engine, producing about 283 kW (380 bhp). Speed-tested to 365 km/h or 227 mph (according to some stories, the testing team ran out of road during the test), it holds the Guinness World Records for most powerful production motorcycle and most expensive production motorcycle, with a price tag of US$185,000.

Trains

Several locomotive classes have been powered by gas turbines, the most recent incarnation being Bombardier's JetTrain.

Tanks

The first use of a gas turbine in an armoured fighting vehicle was in 1954 when a unit, PU2979, specifically developed for tanks by C. A. Parsons & Co., was installed and trialled in a British Conqueror tank.[18] Since then, gas turbine engines have been used as APUs in some tanks and as main powerplants in Soviet/Russian T-80s and U.S. M1 Abrams tanks, among others. They are lighter and smaller than diesels at the same sustained power output but the models installed to date are less fuel efficient than the equivalent diesel, especially at idle, requiring more fuel to achieve the same combat range. Successive models of M1 have addressed this problem with battery packs or secondary generators to power the tank's systems while stationary, saving fuel by reducing the need to idle the main turbine. T-80s can mount three large external fuel drums to extend their range. Russia has stopped production of the T-80 in favour of the diesel-powered T-90 (based on the T-72), while Ukraine has developed the diesel-powered T-80UD and T-84 with nearly the power of the gas-turbine tank.

A turbine is theoretically more reliable and easier to maintain than a piston engine, since it has a simpler construction with fewer moving parts but in practice turbine parts experience a higher wear rate due to their higher working speeds. The turbine blades are highly sensitive to dust and fine sand, so that in desert operations air filters have to be fitted and changed several times daily. An improperly fitted filter, or a bullet or shell fragment that punctures the filter can damage the engine. Piston engines also need well-maintained filters, but they are more resilient if the filter does fail.

Like most modern diesel engines used in tanks, gas turbines are usually multi-fuel engines.

Naval

The Gas turbine from MGB 2009

Gas turbines are used in many naval vessels, where they are valued for their high power-to-weight ratio and their ships' resulting acceleration and ability to get underway quickly.

The first gas-turbine-powered naval vessel was the Royal Navy's Motor Gun Boat MGB 2009 (formerly MGB 509) converted in 1947. Metropolitan-Vickers developed the "Beryl" engine equipping an existing F2/3 jet engine with a power turbine. As the test was successful, the Fast Patrol Boats Bold Pioneer and Bold Pathfinder built in 1953 were the first ships created specifically for gas turbine propulsion.[19]

The first large scale, gas-turbine powered ships, were the Royal Navy's Type 81 (Tribal class) frigates, the first of which (HMS Ashanti) was commissioned in 1961.

The Germany Navy launched the first Köln class frigate in 1961 with 2 GTs from BBC in the worlds first combined diesel and gas propulsion system.

The Swedish Navy produced 6 Spica class torpedoboats between 1966 and 1967 powered by 3 Bristol Siddeley Proteus 1282, each delivering 4300 hp. They were later joined by 12 upgraded Norrköping class ships, still with the same engines. With their aft torpedo tubes replaced by antishipping missiles they served as missile boats until the last was retired in 2005.[20]

The Finnish Navy issued two Turunmaa class corvettes, Turunmaa and Karjala, in 1968. They were equipped with one 22,000 shp Rolls-Royce Olympus TMB3 gas turbine and three Wärtsilä marine diesels for slower speeds. They were the fastest vessels in the Finnish Navy; they regularly achieved 35 knot speeds, with 37.3 knots on sea trials. The Turunmaas were paid off in 2002. Karjala is today a museum ship in Turku, and Turunmaa serves as a floating machine shop and training ship for Satakunta Polytechnical College.

The next series of major naval vessels were the four Canadian Iroquois class helicopter carrying destroyers first commissioned in 1972. They used 2 ft-4 main propulsion engines, 2 ft-12 cruise engines and 3 Solar Saturn 750 kW generators.

The first U.S. gas-turbine powered ships were the U.S. Coast Guard's Hamilton-class High Endurance Cutters the first of which (USCGC Hamilton) commissioned in 1967. Since then, they have powered the U.S. Navy's Perry-class frigates, Spruance-class and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers. USS Makin Island, a modified Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, is to be the Navy's first amphibious assault ship powered by gas turbines. The marine gas turbine operates in a more corrosive atmosphere due to presence of sea salt in air and fuel and use of cheaper fuels.

Maritime

There have been a number of experiments in which gas turbines were used to power seagoing commercial vessels. The earliest of these experiments may have been the oil tanker "Auris" (Anglo Saxon Petroleum) - circa 1949.

The United States Maritime Commission were looking for options to update WWII Liberty ships and heavy duty gas turbines were one of those selected. In 1956 the "John Sergeant" was lenghened and installed with a General Electric 6600 SHP HD gas turbine, reduction gearing and a variable pitch propeller. It operated for 9700 hours using residual fuel for 7000 hours. The success of this trial opened the way for more development by GE on the use of HD gas turbines for marine use with heavy fuels. The "John Sergeant" was scrapped in 1972 at Portsmouth PA.

Between 1970 and 1982, Seatrain Container Lines operated a scheduled container service across the North Atlantic with four 26,000 tonne dwt. container ships. Those ships were powered by twin Pratt & Whitney gas turbines of the FT 4 series. The four ships in the class were named "Euroliner", "Eurofreighter", "Asialiner" and "Asiafreighter". They operated a transatlantic container service between ports on the eastern seaboard of the United States and ports in north west Europe. Following the dramatic OPEC price increases of the mid-nineteen seventies, operations were constrained by rising fuel costs. Some modification of the engine systems on those ships was undertaken to permit the burning of a lower grade of fuel (i.e., marine diesel). The modifications were partially successful. It was proved that particular fuel could be used in a marine gas turbine but, savings made were less than anticipated due to increased maintenance requirements. After 1982 the ships were sold, then re-engined with more economical diesel engines. Because the new engines were much larger, there was a consequential loss of some cargo space.

The first passenger ferry to use a gas turbine was the GTS Finnjet, built in 1977 and powered with two Pratt & Whitney FT 4C-1 DLF turbines, generating 55 MW and propelling the ship to a speed of 31 knots. However, the Finnjet also illustrated the shortcomings of gas turbine propulsion in commercial craft, as high fuel prices made operating her unprofitable. After just four years of service additional diesel engines were installed on the ship to allow less costly operations during off-season. Another example of commercial usage of gas turbines in a passenger ship are Stena Line's HSS class fastcraft ferries. HSS 1500-class Stena Explorer, Stena Voyager and Stena Discovery vessels use COGAG setups of twin GE LM2500 plus GE LM1600 power for a total of 68 MW. The slightly smaller HSS 900-class Stena Charisma, uses twin ABBSTAL GT35 turbines rated at 34,000 kW gross. The Stena Discovery was withdrawn from service in 2007, another victim of too high fuel costs.

In July 2000, the Millennium became the first cruise ship to be propelled by gas turbines, in a Combined Gas and Steam Turbine configuration. The RMS Queen Mary 2 uses a Combined Diesel and Gas Turbine configuration.[21]

Advances in technology

Gas turbine technology has steadily advanced since its inception and continues to evolve; research is active in producing ever smaller gas turbines. Computer design, specifically CFD and finite element analysis along with material advances, has allowed higher compression ratios and temperatures, more efficient combustion and better cooling of engine parts. On the emissions side, the challenge in technology is increasing turbine inlet temperature while reducing peak flame temperature to achieve lower NOx emissions to cope with the latest regulations. Additionally, compliant foil bearings were commercially introduced to gas turbines in the 1990s. They can withstand over a hundred thousand start/stop cycles and eliminated the need for an oil system.

On another front, microelectronics and power switching technology have enabled commercially viable micro turbines for distributed and vehicle power.

Advantages and disadvantages of gas turbine engines

[22]

Advantages of gas turbine engines

  • Very high power-to-weight ratio, compared to reciprocating engines;
  • Smaller than most reciprocating engines of the same power rating.
  • Moves in one direction only, with far less vibration than a reciprocating engine.
  • Fewer moving parts than reciprocating engines.
  • Low operating pressures.
  • High operation speeds.
  • Low lubricating oil cost and consumption.

Disadvantages of gas turbine engines

  • Cost
  • Less efficient than reciprocating engines at idle
  • Longer startup than reciprocating engines
  • Less responsive to changes in power demand compared to reciprocating engines

See also

Cutaway of an air start system of a General Electric J79 turbojet. The small turbine and epicyclic gearing are clearly visible.

References

  1. ^ Hassan, Ahmad Y. "Taqi al-Din and the First Steam Turbine". History of Science and Technology in Islam. http://www.history-science-technology.com/Notes/Notes%201.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Vulcan APU startup" (video). http://www.vb.n00bunlimited.net/vBTube.php?do=view&vidid=5iQRdBE3IS0. 
  3. ^ "Bristol Siddeley Proteus". Internal Fire Museum of Power. 1999. http://www.internalfire.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=136. 
  4. ^ "UK TV series, "Scrapheap Challenge", "Jet Racer" episode". 2003. http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/S/scrapheap2003/challenges/jet_racer/. 
  5. ^ a b Schreckling, Kurt (1994). Gas Turbines for Model Aircraft. ISBN 0951058916. 
  6. ^ Kamps, Thomas (2005). Model Jet Engines. Traplet Publications. ISBN 190037191X. 
  7. ^ "Efficiency by the Numbers" by Lee S. Langston
  8. ^ Mechanical Engineering "Power & Energy," June 2004 - "A Year of Turbulence," Feature Article
  9. ^ Gas Turbine Engines for Model Aircraft by Kurt Schreckling, ISBN 0-9510589-1-6 Traplet Publications
  10. ^ Prime Movers in CHP - Steam Turbines, Gas Turbines, Reciprocating Engines, Spark Ignition
  11. ^ Engine on a Chip - TFOT
  12. ^ "History of Chrysler Corporation GAS TURBINE VEHICLES" published by the Engineering Section 1979
  13. ^ "Chrysler Corp., Exner Concept Cars 1940 to 1961" undated, retrieved on 2008-05-11.
  14. ^ Chrysler turbine information
  15. ^ 1989 Batmobile Turbine
  16. ^ Article in Green Car
  17. ^ "The history of the Howmet TX turbine car of 1968, still the world's only turbine powered race winner". Pete Stowe Motorsport History. June 2006. http://website.lineone.net/~pete.stowe/pete_howmet.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  18. ^ Richard M Ogorkiewicz, Jane's - The Technology of Tanks, Jane's Information Group, p.259
  19. ^ The first marine gas turbine, 1947
  20. ^ Fast missile boat
  21. ^ GE - Aviation: GE Goes from Installation to Optimized Reliability for Cruise Ship Gas Turbine Installations
  22. ^ how stuff works

Further reading

  • Stationary Combustion Gas Turbines including Oil & Over-Speed Control System description
  • "Aircraft Gas Turbine Technology" by Irwin E. Treager, Professor Emeritus Purdue University, McGraw-Hill, Glencoe Division, 1979, ISBN 0-07-065158-2.
  • "Gas Turbine Theory" by H.I.H. Saravanamuttoo, G.F.C. Rogers and H. Cohen, Pearson Education, 2001, 5th ed., ISBN 0-13-015847-X.
  • R. M. "Fred" Klaass and Christopher DellaCorte, "The Quest for Oil-Free Gas Turbine Engines," SAE Technical Papers, No. 2006-01-3055, available at: http://www.sae.org/technical/papers/2006-01-3055.
  • "Model Jet Engines" by Thomas Kamps ISBN 0 9510589 9 1 Traplet Publications
  • Aircraft Engines and Gas Turbines, Second Edition" by Jack L. Kerrebrock, The MIT Press, 1992, ISBN 0-262-11162-4.

External links


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