Advancing Turbine Technologies for Relevant Inlet Temperature Profiles in the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Lab

Project: Research project

Project Details


Pennsylvania State University (PSU) will investigate technology advances to increase simple and combined cycle gas turbine efficiency while expanding potential ranges of fuels and combustor designs. Specifically, this project will evaluate the use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) with the intention of reducing the need for turbine cooling air, which is a parasitic loss in terms of efficiency. This effort will evaluate how the surface topology of CMCs impact the vane boundary layers and associated aerodynamic penalties that lead to reduced turbine efficiencies. In addition, this project will evaluate a range of turbine inlet temperature profiles that simulate fuels such as hydrogen and hydrogen blends to determine impacts on turbine performance. Understanding the effects of temperature profiles resulting from different fuels on component life and efficiencies are important for advancing turbine designs to meet high efficiency goals while reducing the environmental impacts.The objectives of the project will be achieved through the design, fabrication, and testing of CMC components in a unique, world-class test facility. The Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) facility is capable of long-duration testing of turbine hot gas path components in a rotating environment, simulating engine operating parameters at steady state. The proposed project will investigate the use of an uncooled CMC vane placed downstream of the existing single-stage turbine section resulting in a 1st vane-1st blade-2nd vane configuration (1.5 stage). To complete these proposed research goals, the START facility will be upgraded to account for the additional flows needed at high pressures given the addition of the CMC 2nd vane half stage. A common turbine geometry developed under the National Experimental Turbine (NExT) research program will be utilized to evaluate the impacts of turbine inlet temperature profiles on turbine durability and performance. These profiles will be inclusive of those in today's operating combustors, as well as future designs using fuels such as hydrogen and hydrogen blends.
Effective start/end date11/1/234/30/27


  • National Energy Technology Laboratory: $4,500,000.00


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