Air-Riding Seal Technology for Advanced Gas Turbine Engines


Florida Turbine Technologies Inc.
Website:  Florida Turbine Technologies Inc.
Award Number:  SC0008218
Project Duration:  06/28/2012 – 08/13/2015
Total Award Value:  $1,149,847.00
DOE Share:  $1,149,847.00
Performer Share:  $0.00
Technology Area:  Hydrogen Turbines
Key Technology:  Hydrogen Turbines
ARS Phase I Test Rig Showing<br/>Instrumentation Locations
ARS Phase I Test Rig Showing
Instrumentation Locations

Project Description

The scope of this Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program Phase III project includes the design, analysis, fabrication, assembly, installation, and testing of prototype spar-shell turbine airfoils and associated hardware, culminating in the validation of performance and functionality in a commercial gas turbine.

Project Benefits

Turbines convert heat energy to mechanical energy by expanding a hot, compressed working fluid through a series of airfoils. Combustion turbines compress air, mix and combust it with a fuel (natural gas, coal-derived synthesis gas [syngas], or hydrogen), and then expand the combustion gases through the airfoils. Expansion turbines expand a working fluid like steam or supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been heated in a heat exchanger by an external heat source. These two types of turbines are used in conjunction to form a combined cycle— with heat from the combustion gases used as the heat source for the working fluid— improving efficiency and reducing emissions. If oxygen is used for combustion in place of air, then the combustion gases consist mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, and the CO2 can be easily separated and sent to storage or used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Alternatively, the CO2/steam combustion gases can be expanded directly in an oxy-fuel turbine. Turbines are the backbone of power generation in the US, and the diverse power cycles containing turbines provide a variety of electricity generation options for fossil derived fuels. The efficiency of combustion turbines has steadily increased as advanced technologies have provided manufacturers with the ability to produce highly advanced turbines that operate at very high temperatures. The Advanced Turbines program is developing technologies in four key areas that will accelerate turbine performance, efficiency, and cost effectiveness beyond current state-of-the-art and provide tangible benefits to the public in the form of lower cost of electricity (COE), reduced emissions of criteria pollutants, and carbon capture options. The Key Technology areas for the Advanced Hydrogen Turbines Program are: (1) Hydrogen Turbines, (2) Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles, (3) Oxy-Fueled Turbines, and (4) Advanced Steam Turbines.

Hydrogen turbine technology research is being conducted with the goal of producing reliable, affordable, and environmentally friendly electric power in response to the Nation's increasing energy challenges. NETL is leading the research, development, and demonstration of technologies to achieve power production from high hydrogen content (HHC) fuels derived from coal that is clean, efficient, and cost-effective; minimize carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; and help maintain the Nation's leadership in the export of gas turbine equipment. These goals are being met by developing the most advanced technology in the areas of materials, cooling, heat transfer, manufacturing, aerodynamics, and machine design. Success in these areas will allow machines to be designed that have higher efficiencies and power output with lower emissions and lower cost.

Florida Turbine Technologies will develop a rig to test their contactless air-riding seal (ARS) technology which utilizes a pressure balancing system, permitting the seal to "follow" the target surface through axial and radial transient excursions. This results in reduced running seal clearances with no degradation over time, as the seal does not rub at any point in the mission cycle. Seal operating data will be recorded and used to calibrate a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model that will be used to predict seal performance at off-design points and compare leakage against current state-of-the-art seals. Reducing leakage flows through seals will improve turbine efficiency, thereby reducing operating costs, and the cost of electricity.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Steven W. Richardson:
Technology Manager 
Richard Dennis:
Principal Investigator 
Jacob A. Mills:

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