CANOGA PARK, Calif., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) has selected Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to receive a total of more than $5 million for three cost-sharing projects designed to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of gas turbines in commercial-scale power plants. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.
"We are especially grateful to be one of few organizations selected by ARPA-E for multiple awards under this single and highly competitive solicitation," said Neeta Patel, director, Energy Systems, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "We're very pleased ARPA-E recognized the unique talents we offer to help meet U.S. energy needs, accelerate innovation in more efficient clean-energy technologies, and reduce the environmental impact on our natural resources."
The first project, Turbo-POx For Ultra Low-Cost Gasoline, is designed to improve the production of liquid fuels from natural gas. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will focus on burning natural gas more efficiently in a high-temperature, high-pressure partial oxidation gas turbine. This technology, when combined with downstream gas-to-liquid processes, can produce gasoline derived from domestic natural gas, rather than from foreign crude oil, reducing the cost of gas-to-liquid technology by as much as 25 percent. It can also generate electricity from heat released in the process.For the second project, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will design and build continuous detonation combustors and test them in a simulated gas turbine environment to establish the feasibility of incorporating the technology into natural gas-fueled gas turbine electric power generators. The Continuous Detonation Engine Combustor for Natural Gas Turbine technology is expected to save commercial-scale power plants $5 million annually in operating expenses per turbine. For the third project, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will develop an advanced gas turbine cycle designed to offer unmatched efficiency by using pure oxygen instead of air to burn fuel, creating extremely high temperatures. To prevent melting, the system would use Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's expertise in liquid rocket engines to develop advanced cooling technology. This cycle will produce zero emissions and has the potential to reduce the amount of fuel used to power natural gas turbines by as much as 50 percent. It also has the potential to more than double power plant efficiencies to 75 percent, and lower the cost of electricity by about 60 percent