Gas Turbine Engine Performance Monitor for Reduced Emissions

EPA Contract Number: 68D00209
Title: Gas Turbine Engine Performance Monitor for Reduced Emissions
Investigators: Markham, James R.
Small Business: Advanced Fuel Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $224,946
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2000) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , SBIR - Monitoring , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Tens of thousands of gas turbine engines are used in the utility electric power market (utility companies) and the nonutility electric power market (aluminum, chemical, steel, wood and paper, agriculture, and other industries), and thousands of new gas turbine engines are to be installed to accommodate the worldwide increase in power needs over the next few years. Tens of thousands of tons of numerous air pollutants are released into the atmosphere from these engines each year. This volume of pollution has an impact on more than localized segments of the population; it has global impact. This project will result in new technology that will go into practical use to reduce significant quantities of air pollution in the exhaust of these engines. The product targets the Office of Research and Development's highest priorities for prevention and control of air emissions. The product will directly benefit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's overall mission to protect human health and the environment.

Phase II of this project will develop the advanced in situ sensor for multiple pollutants exhausting from gas turbine engines. The emissions/performance and health monitor will allow real-time engine tuning and control to ensure high-performance engine operation that will significantly reduce environmental emissions and prevent pollution, ensure optimum fuel economy, and signal for routine engine service in advance of expensive engine component failures. Feasibility was demonstrated in Phase I research with a prototype demonstration in a turbine test cell of one of the world's largest manufacturers of gas turbine engines. Nine gas species and particulates were monitored, including criteria pollutants, formaldehyde, and other hydrocarbons. A single cost-effective in situ sensor measuring this many engine exhaust species simultaneously is unprecedented. Improvements to hardware and analysis software in Phase II will reduce detection limits significantly further into the parts per billion regime, and lead to even more species analyzed. The advanced prototype will be installed for demonstration in the engine test cell by month 14 of the 24-month project. In the Phase II option, a commercial prototype also will be built and installed on an industrial power generating engine. Phase II will result in a convincing story for product marketing momentum, with or without the option.

U.S. industry has identified that advanced sensors for improved combustion control are a high priority to maximize efficiency in power generation with minimal pollution. The market is ready for advanced sensors. Advanced Fuel Research, Inc., conservatively estimates $28.8 million in total sales by year 5 of commercialization, with enormous potential for growth. A spinoff company with a focus on products for gas turbine engines and other combustion devices (boilers, process heaters) is planned. A patent protects the underlying technology, and additional patents are to be filed.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, pollution prevention, air emissions, engineering, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Chemical Engineering, particulate matter, Bioavailability, Environmental Chemistry, air toxics, Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Incineration/Combustion, particulates, criteria air pollutants, combustion devices, particulate, hydrocarbon, combustion sources, in situ sensor, air pollution, in situ measurement, combustion control, exhaust

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Gas Turbine Engine Performance Monitor for Reduced Emissions  | Final Report