The even more stringent limitations set by the European Commission on pollutant emissions are forcing gas turbine manufacturers towards the redesign of the most important components to increase efficiency and specific power. Current trends in gas turbine design include an increased attention to the design of cooling systems and enhanced best practices for the study of components interaction. At the same time, the recent crisis suffered by the oil and gas industry reduced the interest in brand new gas turbines, thus increasing the service market. Therefore, original equipment manufacturers would rather propose the replacement of specific components within the gas turbine plant during its maintenance with compatible elements that are likely to guarantee increased performance and longer residual lifetime at a more desirable nominal working point.
In the present activity the cooling system of the TG20 heavy-duty gas turbine has been redesigned to increase the turbine inlet temperature while contemporaneously reducing the total amount of coolant mass-flow. Specifically, the cooling scheme of the rotating blade of the first turbine row has been reviewed at the Department of Energy (DENERG) of Politecnico di Torino in cooperation with EthosEnergy Italia S.p.a.. The paper presents a new design, which, starting from the original solution featuring fifteen smooth pipes, adopts an improved geometry characterized by the presence of turbulators.
The activity has been carried out using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for the coolant/blade interaction and one-dimensional models developed at EthosEnergy for the redistribution of the cooling flows in the cavities. The mutual effects between the coolant fluid and the blade are analyzed using a Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) approach with Star-CCM+. The validation of the computational approach has been performed exploiting the experimental data available for the NASA C3X test case. The TG20 rotating blade of the first turbine row has been analyzed considering the two different coolant configurations. The impact of the main flow on the thermal field has initially been included by imposing a temperature field on the blade surface. The latter field has in turn been obtained by means of a separate computation for the solid only. Full CHT simulations has hence been performed, thus quantifying the accuracy of the proposed approach. The obtained results are discussed in terms of thermo-fluid-dynamic effects.