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Posted May 6 , 2013

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Energy

Carleton Gas Turbine Facility to Develop Technology for Efficient Electricity Generation

Natural Resources Canada invests in Carleton University research project through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative

Ottawa - Carleton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering announced that Natural Resources Canada has made a $1.44 million investment through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative for a research project that will create a pilot-scale gas turbine facility to develop technology for efficient electricity generation.

The funding is part of ongoing research and development efforts to reduce the capital and operating costs, and increase the energy efficiency of, cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage systems.

“Through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, our Government is investing in innovative clean energy technologies that create jobs, generate new economic opportunities and protect the environment,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This program demonstrates our tangible support for energy projects that drive energy innovation.”

“We are grateful to the federal government for this investment in our ongoing research,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “This will help us continue to lead the way in energy efficiency research that is so vital.”

The objective of the project is to construct a pilot-scale facility based on a closed, indirectly-heated gas turbine cycle using supercritical carbon dioxide as the fluid circulating through the machinery. This type of gas turbine is one of the options being developed as a new key, high-efficiency, component in next generation cleaner coal systems.

The next generation systems could offer substantial system size reduction, reduced capital and operating costs, and increased energy efficiency when compared to current best available coal-fired electricity generation with carbon capture and storage. Other potential application areas for supercritical carbon dioxide gas turbines include solar, geothermal, waste heat and nuclear, promising higher efficiency power generation from a variety of heat sources.

The project work will involve nearly all aspects of gas turbine design, including thermodynamic performance analyses, aerodynamic and structural design, heat exchanger and materials selection, dynamic modelling, and control systems design. Most of this work will be carried out by teams of undergraduate and graduate students in mechanical and aerospace engineering, as part of their fourth year capstone design projects or their thesis research. The overall project is managed by Prof. Henry Saari, with students being supervised by faculty members from the department.

The project will also receive support from SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s principal supplier of electricity and Canada’s lead coal-fired utility developing new clean coal technologies. SaskPower will provide engineering and technical support, especially in regards to future commercial applications and larger scale testing of the technology.

“This project will provide an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to apply the technical skills they have learned to a ‘real-world’ problem in an environment that realistically emulates what they will find in industry,” said Prof. Saari. “It builds on, and expands, a long history of gas turbine and turbomachinery education and research that has been one of the pillars of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.”

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