Adam Steinberg

University of Toronto
Project Title: Next generation low-emission combustor technologies for high-efficiency compact aviation gas turbine engines
Industry Partner: Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp.
Project Partners: Clinton Groth, Ömer Gülder, Cecile Devaud
Platform: Blue Gene/Q, Cloud Analytics

Advanced Manufacturing Energy

Next generation low-emission combustor technologies for high-efficiency compact aviation gas turbine engines

The primary objective of the proposed research is to develop next-generation combustor technologies for aviation gas turbine engines that produce extremely low emissions and higher fuel efficiency, while reducing development times/costs and maintenance requirements. Impacts will be realized in terms of local air quality/public health, climate change, sustainability, and commercial engine sales.

The current design priorities of aviation gas turbine combustors are operability, efficiency, emissions, durability, compatibility with the main engine core, and safety. Today’s combustors for small aviation gas turbine engines provide reliable and dependable service. However, increasingly stringent emissions regulations are being enacted (e.g. by the International Civil Aviation Organization) that impose tighter criteria for emissions. Moreover, combustor conditions are continuously becoming more extreme in terms of operating pressure and temperature in order to improve engine efficiency. These conditions result in increased maintenance requirements, and hence increased engine operating cost.

Future combustors for gas turbine engines are therefore in need of far-reaching design changes to meet these emissions requirements, while simultaneously being more cost effective and providing better operability/durability. These next generation combustor technologies are essential to help our main industrial partner, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), to maintain its market competitiveness in the small aviation gas turbine sector. P&WC is the leading manufacturer of small aviation gas turbine engines, and these engines are extensively used around the globe as well as in Ontario (e.g., all commercial aviation at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport).

Together with the two industrial partners, P&WC and IBM Canada, we will design novel new combustors that have lower emissions per unit fuel consumed, less fuel consumption per unit thrust produced, and reduced maintenance requirements relative to current systems. This will be achieved by combining the state-of-the-art experimental, computational, and analytical capabilities of the university research team with the practical gas turbine design knowledge of P&WC engineers and the high-performance computing (HPC) expertise of IBM.