Understanding Gas Turbines in Terms of Broad CategoriesThe more general terms and jargon that can help describe gas turbines are useful to understand in terms of high-energy and low-energy burning technologies. However, when students read these terms, they should also be able to relate them to a variety of plant and fossil fuel types, including gas turbines that have been converted to burn methane instead of diesel fuel.
First, there is the process of combustion. In this process, gas turbines begin by forcing exhaust gases through a series of pistons to get them moving. Once they get moving, the gases to move into the turbine where they pass through the fan blades and a fan of exhausts into the engine. At the end of the exhaust path, the gases are moved out of the turbine again through another set of exhausts. This process is repeated for a set number of times, until the gasses produce enough heat to sustain combustion and allow the turbine to run.
Second, there is the concept of burnout, which refers to the rate at which gases are being burnt up in the turbine. During the burn process, the term mentioned is called the combustion efficiency of the system. In general, the higher the efficiency, the more energy the turbine will generate. The higher the energy generated, the less exhaust emissions will be produced from the generator.
Next, there is the concept of power density, which relates to the amount of power that gas turbines are able to generate. Higher the power density, the lower the overall cost of running the turbine. Therefore, higher power density means lower overall costs.
Last, there is the term steady state power, which refers to the peak amount of energy that gas turbines will be able to generate over their lifetime. Therefore, a higher steady state power means lower emissions during operation and a higher operational lifespan.
Some of the more technical terms in this topic include high-energy burned and low-energy burnup. High-energy burn occurs when the exhaust gases are burned for a longer period of time and then allow more exhaust gases to be emitted from the turbine before starting up. Low-energy burn occurs when the gas turbines are run with less exhaust gases but are powered on longer periods of time before a period of quiet shutdown takes place.
Finally, there is the concept of burning the highest-quality fuel possible for the use of the turbine. For this reason, the term 'petroleum' is used instead of 'oil.' The greater the amount of high-quality fuel that is burned, the more energy the turbine will generate.
It is easy to see how gas turbines can help eliminate pollution and waste, helping the environment while producing a substantial amount of energy. These concepts should be a good introduction to this topic for students who are studying electricity generation and advanced combustion.