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Research Papers

A Review of the Turbine Cooling Fraction for Very High Turbine Entry Temperature Helium Gas Turbine Cycles for Generation IV Reactor Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Gad-Briggs

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: a.a.gadbriggs@cranfield.ac.uk

P. Pilidis

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: p.pilidis@cranfield.ac.uk

T. Nikolaidis

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: t.nikolaidis@cranfield.ac.uk

Manuscript received October 10, 2015; final manuscript received October 13, 2016; published online March 1, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Ralph Hill.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 3(2), 021007 (Mar 01, 2017) (10 pages) Paper No: NERS-15-1214; doi: 10.1115/1.4035332 History: Received October 10, 2015; Revised October 13, 2016

The potential for high turbine entry temperature (TETs) turbines for nuclear power plants (NPPs) requires improved materials and sophisticated cooling. Cooling is critical for maintaining mechanical integrity of the turbine for temperatures >1000 °C. Increasing TET is one of the solutions for improving efficiency after cycle optimum pressure ratios have been achieved but cooling as a percentage of mass flow will have to increase, resulting in cycle efficiency penalties. To limit this effect, it is necessary to know the maximum allowable blade metal temperature to ensure that the minimum cooling fraction is used. The main objective of this study is to analyze the thermal efficiencies of four cycles in the 300–700 MW class for generation IV NPPs, using two different turbines with optimum cooling for TETs between 950 and 1200 °C. The cycles analyzed are simple cycle (SC), simple cycle recuperated (SCR), intercooled cycle (IC), and intercooled cycle recuperated (ICR). Although results showed that deterioration of cycle performance is lower when using improved turbine material, the justification to use optimum cooling improves the cycle significantly when a recuperator is used. Furthermore, optimized cooling flow and the introduction of an intercooler improve cycle efficiency by >3%, which is >1% more than previous studies. Finally, the study highlights the potential of cycle performance beyond 1200 °C for IC. This is based on the IC showing the least performance deterioration. The analyses intend to aid development of cycles for deployment in gas-cooled fast reactors (GFRs) and very high-temperature reactors (VHTRs).

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Cooling technologies

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Fig. 2

Typical simple cycle with recuperator (SCR) [7]

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Fig. 3

Typical intercooled cycle with recuperator (ICR) [8]

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Fig. 4

Typical simple cycle without recuperator (SC)

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Fig. 5

Typical intercooled cycle without recuperator (IC)

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Fig. 6

Performance simulation tool structure for SCR

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Fig. 7

Effect of turbine cooling on efficiency (950 °C) (blade A)

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Fig. 8

SCR optimum efficiency and specific work curves (blade A)

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Fig. 9

ICR optimum efficiency and specific work curves (bladeB)

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Fig. 10

SC optimum efficiency and specific work curves (bladeA)

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Fig. 11

IC optimum efficiency and specific work curves (bladeB)

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Fig. 12

IC optimum turbine cooling fraction and effect on efficiency

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Fig. 13

Effect of recuperator on cycles

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Fig. 14

Technological assessment

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