news / 2013-10-18

Turbine concept: Compact design for decentralised gas turbines

Small gas turbines are relatively inefficient. In the wake of the energy turnaround, demand for intermediate electricity storage systems is increasing. Scientists at RWTH Aachen and TU Freiberg are working on a new design concept to increase the efficiency of current small gas turbines.

The schematic diagram shows the idea for the new turbine construction. Source: RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen University and TU Freiberg develop new turbine concept

One way of storing the electricity from feed-in peaks of renewable energy sources is to transform it into hydrogen using electrolysis. This energy can then be stored and converted into electrical energy, as required, using a small gas turbine. Gas turbines are particularly suitable in this case because they have shorter start-up cycles and high load flexibility. To minimize transmission losses and grid expansion, small gas turbines can be installed remotely near wind and solar farms.


However, the efficiency decreases greatly as the size of the gas turbine decreases. Researchers at the Institute of Jet Propulsion and Turbomachinery at RWTH Aachen University and the Chair for Numerical Thermo-Fluid Dynamics at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg want to eliminate the reasons for the decreased efficiency with a modified design.


Small hydrogen gas turbines as new energy concept

At the start of the “Wasserstoffkleingasturbine als neuartiges Energiekonzept” ("small hydrogen gas turbines as new energy concept") joint project, a theoretical concept for a new form of small gas turbines had already been developed. Now, the idea is being numerically and experimentally investigated, and a demonstrator is being built