Page 6 - Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering Fall 2019 Magazine
P. 6

Research News
START Lab awarded $6 million to develop national experimental turbine Collaborative turbine design to increase sustainability security of the nation’s energy infrastructure
Department of of Energy officials visited the Penn State Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine Lab on May 31 2019 By Erin Cassidy Hendrick
With industry support the the Department of Energy’s National Energy Energy Technology Lab Lab (DOE-NETL) has awarded the the Penn State Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine Turbine (START) Lab Lab $6 million to spearhead the the development of a a a a a a a a a a a a a National Experimental Turbine Turbine (NExT) rig an initiative
to help modernize the the nation’s energy infrastructure
“This project is is is is truly a a a a a new frontier ” said Karen Thole the the director of of of the the the START Lab distinguished professor mechanical engineering department head and principal investigator of of of the the project “While most turbine turbine geometries are highly proprietary the goal for NExT is is to to provide a a a a a a a a a a a a modern turbine turbine design that can be used by several organizations This collaboration will lead to to higher-efficiency engines The experiments and and data from NExT will help our industry partners design more cost-effective and and environmentally-conscious gas turbines ” Gas turbines represent a a a a critical technology for for energy conversion with broad uses for for combined cycle power plants aircraft propulsion gas compression and and back-up power generation for renewable plants and and hospitals The technology also plays an an an an an important role in in in U S energy security which requires increased capacity and flexibility to integrate more domestically produced energy energy resources such as as as natural gas rather than relying on on oil from international sources sources to power the the the energy energy grids and pipeline networks of the future In addition technological strides in in in this field can have wide- reaching economic and environmental effects According to data presented at at the 2019 American Society of Mechanical Engineers TurboExpo improvement by one point in in in in in U S S turbine efficiency adds $7 billion of of economic benefit and in in in in in terms of of CO2 reduction is equivalent to removing two million cars from the the road Despite the the the rapid increase in in in in in in in renewable energy resources being adopted in in in in in in in in in the the U S gas turbines continue to play a a a a a a a a a a a critical role in in in in in in in producing electricity during peak hours and when renewables are not available 6 

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