A gas turbine engine (GT) is very complex to design and manufacture considering the power density it offers. Development of a GT is also iterative, expensive and involves a long lead time. The components of a GT, viz compressor, combustor and turbine are strongly dependent on each other for the overall performance characteristics of the GT. The range of compressor operation is dependent on the functional and safe limits of surging and choking. The turbine operating speeds are required to be matched with that of compressor for wide range of operating conditions. Due to this constrain, design for optimum possible performance is often sacrificed. Further, once catered for a design point, gas turbines offer low part load efficiencies at conditions away from design point.
As a more efficient option, a GT is practically achievable in a split configuration, where the compressor and turbine rotate on different shafts independently. The compressor is driven by a variable speed electric motor. The power developed in the combustor using the compressed air from the compressor and fuel, drives the turbine. The turbine provides mechanical shaft power through a gear box if required. A drive taken from the shaft rotates an electricity generator, which provides power for the compressor’s variable speed electric motor through a power bank. Despite introducing, two additional power conversions compared to a conventional GT, this split configuration named as ‘Part Electric Gas Turbine’, has a potential for new applications and to achieve overall better efficiencies from a GT considering the poor part load characteristics of a conventional GT.