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Gas Turbine Research Centre
Our Gas Turbine Research Centre is one of only a handful worldwide.

Cardiff University's Gas Turbine Research Centre (GTRC) enables novel research studies to be conducted into the deployment of ‘net-zero’ fuels.

The functionality of new combustion systems and components under elevated conditions of temperature and pressure, as would be experienced within a gas turbine engine during operation.

Technical Features

An extensive suite of bespoke test rigs, laser-based optical diagnostics and instrumentation is available for the characterisation of combustion phenomena, fuel sprays, and combustion emissions using traditional fuels as well as alternative and renewable fuels e.g. Hydrogen and ammonia.

High Pressure Optical Combustor (HPOC)

HPOC is a multi-purpose combustion facility for fundamental research and development work at gas turbine relevant conditions of temperature and pressure. An extensive range of state-of-the-art measurement sections are available, some unique, each with different capabilities, all of which are predominately non-intrusive.

High Pressure Optical Combustor
High Pressure Optical Combustor

High Pressure Generic Swirl Burner (HPGSB)

HPGSB is a fuel-flexible, scaled gas turbine combustor. The system is non-proprietary, and CAD models are available for simulations at request. The burner can be operated in a range of configurations (Fully premixed, with and without diffusion pilot or non-premixed). The central lance can be exchanged for an instrumentation probe to take local temperature and dynamic pressure measurements.

High Pressure Generic Swirl Burner (HPGSB)
High Pressure Generic Swirl Burner (HPGSB)

Rich Quench Lean Burn (RQL)

RQL is a fuel-flexible, scaled aerospace gas turbine combustor. The combustor is designed to be modular, and can be operated with a range of liquid fuel atomisers or combustion can designs. Depending on the type of atomising fuel nozzle being used, primary air can be supplied down the central inlet, with secondary air delivered through the casing.  Additive layer manufacturing has been exploited for optimised atomiser design, and the system has previously been employed as a soot-source to characterise the effect of changing fuel composition on particulate matter formation.

Rich Quench Lean Burn (RQL)
Rich Quench Lean Burn (RQL)

Constant Volume Bomb (CVB)

CVB is designed for filming the outward propagation of laminar spherical flames, and the subsequent measurement of laminar flame speed. The flame is visualised using four diametrically opposed 100 mm quartz viewing windows to facilitate high-speed imaging of flame propagation, by employing the Schlieren optical technique.  Images are captured by a CCD high-speed camera allowing for a spatial resolution of ∼0.14 mm per pixel, with propagation rates calculated by bespoke software employing commercially available edge-detection algorithms. A PID control system regulates the ambient reactant temperature.

Constant Volume Bomb (CVB)
Constant Volume Bomb (CVB)

High Pressure Counter Flow Burner (HPCFB)

HPCFB is used for the study of flame stretch and flame extinction using two opposed-flow jets containing fuel (e.g. methane, propane, hydrogen), diluents (e.g. nitrogen, carbon dioxide, argon), and oxidizer (e.g. oxygen or air)or mixtures of these components, or others. A small, flat flame stabilizes along a low velocity profile area created between the two opposed flow jets. The HPCFB is intended to operate at elevated pressure (super-atmospheric) and temperature. The HPCFB contains three optical access windows for laser and optical diagnostics.

High Pressure Counter Flow Burner (HPCFB)
High Pressure Counter Flow Burner (HPCFB)

Optical Atmospheric Furnace (OAF)

OAF is designed for operation with industrial scale burners at atmospheric pressure. The furnace is ideal for the demonstration of fuel switching from traditional natural gas to alternative fuels e.g. hydrogen, biogas and ammonia. The furnace has optical access enabling a suit of non-intrusive diagnostic tools to be employed to interrogate the flame. A water cooled equal area probe is used in the exhaust duct to sample gas species.

Optical Atmospheric Furnace (OAF)
Optical Atmospheric Furnace (OAF)

Gas Mixing Facility (GMF)

The GTRC has a large scale gas mixing facility that can blend gases in real-time to simulate the variations in fuel composition experienced in industrial applications e.g. CH4, H2, NH3, CO2, O2 and N2.

Gas Mixing Facility (GMF)
Gas Mixing Facility (GMF)

Diagnostic Tools

A suit of state of the art diagnostic tools are available; Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA), Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV), Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF), Phase Doppler Anemometry (PDA), Schlieren photography, high-speed photography, gas analysis (combustion products), particulate matter analysis (TEM / EDAX, DMS, LII smoke number) and dynamic pressure transducers.

Practical applications

Only a handful of academic research facilities in the world have the operational scale of the GTRC which enables novel research studies to be conducted into the functionality of new Gas Turbine (GT) combustion systems, components and fuels under elevated conditions of temperature and pressure. The GTRC is well position both geographically and academically to assist the UK net-zero 2050 challenge for heat, power and transportation.

The GTRC plays a major role in the £24m pan-Wales project FLEXIS, developing flexible energy systems, which is an urgent priority in energy generation and supply. More recently GTRC was awarded a £1.5m EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) entitled “Resilient decarbonised fuel energy systems” led by Nottingham University and alongside Sheffield University. Industrially  PhD sponsored students are already working with RWE, Siemens, Hieta and Mayphil UK.

Dr Agustin Valera-Medina is leading his research field in the area of Ammonia for hydrogen storage and power generation, and has recently been awarded £1m from EPSRC and £300k from EU H2020.  Dr Andrew Crayford is leading his field in the measurement of aircraft particulates and has recently been awarded two H2020 projects with a combined value of £0.5m.