Part B of this paper focuses on intercooled recuperated cycles where water is injected to improve both efficiency and power output. This concept is investigated for two basic cycle configurations: a Recuperated Water Injected (RWI) cycle, where water is simply injected downstream the HP compressor, and a Humid Air Turbine (HAT) cycle, where air/water mixing is accomplished in a counter-current heat/mass transfer column called “saturator”.
For both configurations we discuss the selection and the optimization of the main cycle parameters, and track the variations of efficiency and specific work with overall gas turbine pressure ratio and turbine inlet temperature (TIT). TIT can vary to take advantage of lower gas turbine coolant temperatures, but only within the capabilities of current technology. For HAT cycles we also address the modelization of the saturator and the sensitivity to the most crucial characteristics of novel components (temperature differences and pressure drops in heat/mass transfer equipment). The efficiency penalties associated to each process are evaluated by a second-law analysis which also includes the cycles considered in Part A.
For any given TIT in the range considered (1250 to 1500°C), the more reversible air/water mixing mechanism realized in the saturator allows HAT cycles to achieve efficiencies about 2 percentage points higher than those of RWI cycles: at the TIT of 1500°C made possible by intercooling, state-of-the-art aero-engines embodying the above cycle modifications can reach net electrical efficiencies of about 57% and 55%, respectively. This compares to efficiencies slightly below 56% achievable by combined cycles based upon large-scale heavy duty machines with TIT = 1280°C.