WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced $4.5 million in funding for Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) to study ways to improve turbine performance and efficiency. This research supports our Nation’s efforts to ramp up the use of low-carbon fuels—including sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen for power production—to help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The project will make extensive use of Penn State’s Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) infrastructure and its National Experimental Turbine testing platform. The START Lab is a unique, world class test facility capable of simulating realistic gas turbine operating conditions to increase the speed in advancing turbine research. This funding will be used to expand the START infrastructure, adding two new compressor systems to provide higher flow and pressure capabilities than currently exist at the START facility.
The project team intends to achieve increased turbine efficiency using advanced materials such as ceramic matrix composites, which allow turbines to operate at higher working temperatures. The team will also assess combustor efficiency through combustion simulations of fuels ranging from natural gas to hydrogen and hydrogen blends.
The project will also leverage existing efforts from other government agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as well as multiple heavy industry partners, including Honeywell, Siemens, Solar Turbines, and Pratt & Whitney. The collaboration has shown to be successful and impactful to the gas turbine industry and is crucial for advancing gas turbine technologies to meet the Nation’s need to reduce the carbon footprint of both the power generation and aviation sectors.
FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.