Carleton Gas Turbine Facility to Develop Technology for Efficient Electricity Generation

Natural Resources Canada invests in Carleton University research project through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative

Carleton University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering today announced that Natural Resources Canada has made a $1.44 million investment through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative for a research project that will create a pilot-scale gas turbine facility to develop technology for efficient electricity generation.

The funding is part of ongoing research and development efforts to reduce the capital and operating costs, and increase the energy efficiency of, cleaner coal and carbon capture and storage systems.

“Through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, our Government is investing in innovative clean energy technologies that create jobs, generate new economic opportunities and protect the environment,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This program demonstrates our tangible support for energy projects that drive energy innovation.”

“We are grateful to the federal government for this investment in our ongoing research,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “This will help us continue to lead the way in energy efficiency research that is so vital.”

The objective of the project is to construct a pilot-scale facility based on a closed, indirectly-heated gas turbine cycle using supercritical carbon dioxide as the fluid circulating through the machinery.  This type of gas turbine is one of the options being developed as a new key, high-efficiency, component in next generation cleaner coal systems.

The next generation systems could offer substantial system size reduction, reduced capital and operating costs, and increased energy efficiency when compared to current best available coal-fired electricity generation with carbon capture and storage.  Other potential application areas for supercritical carbon dioxide gas turbines include solar, geothermal, waste heat and nuclear, promising higher efficiency power generation from a variety of heat sources.

The project work will involve nearly all aspects of gas turbine design, including thermodynamic performance analyses, aerodynamic and structural design, heat exchanger and materials selection, dynamic modelling, and control systems design.  Most of this work will be carried out by teams of undergraduate and graduate students in mechanical and aerospace engineering, as part of their fourth year capstone design projects or their thesis research.  The overall project is managed by Prof. Henry Saari, with students being supervised by faculty members from the department.

The project will also receive support from SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s principal supplier of electricity and Canada’s lead coal-fired utility developing new clean coal technologies.  SaskPower will provide engineering and technical support, especially in regards to future commercial applications and larger scale testing of the technology.

“This project will provide an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to apply the technical skills they have learned to a ‘real-world’ problem in an environment that realistically emulates what they will find in industry,” said Prof. Saari.  “It builds on, and expands, a long history of gas turbine and turbomachinery education and research that has been one of the pillars of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.”

About Carleton University
Located in the nation’s capital, Carleton University is a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change.  Its internationally recognized faculty, staff and researchers provide more than 25,000 full- and part-time students from every province and more than 100 countries around the world with academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study, including engineering, high technology, public affairs, journalism, film studies, and international studies.  Carleton’s creative, interdisciplinary and international approach to research has led to many significant discoveries and creative works in science and technology, business, governance, public policy and the arts.  As an innovative institution Carleton is uniquely committed to developing solutions to real-world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding daily.

About Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Design at Carleton University provides a stimulating environment of learning in the fields of mechanical, aerospace, sustainable energy, and biomedical engineering.  The Department has over 30 full-time faculty members who are intellectual leaders in their fields of research, and are committed to the training of the next generation of practitioners, researchers, and educators in engineering.  The teaching and research activities of our faculty members are supported by 11 dedicated technical and administrative support staff.  Innovative curricula, well-equipped laboratories and world-class scientific research and engineering innovation in areas of critical societal needs provide an outstanding educational environment in the Department for over 800 undergraduate students and over 200 graduate students.

About SaskPower
Powering Saskatchewan since 1929, SaskPower is proud to support continued growth across the province, and provide safe, reliable and sustainable power to our 490,000 customers.  SaskPower will spend an estimated $10 billion over the next 10 years to maintain and improve existing infrastructure.  With a rapidly developing economy and the second largest service area in Canada, renewing our electricity system and providing world-leading customer service are corporate priorities.

Media inquiries:
Chris Cline
Media Relations Co-ordinator
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 1391
christopher_cline@carleton.ca

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
613-992-4447
Media@nrcan.gc.ca