A £2 million project to advance the safe design and operation of gas turbines, reciprocating engines and combined heat & power systems using hydrogen based fuels has been launched by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI.) ETI is a public private partnership between six global industrial companies – BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell – and the UK Government who’s tasked with developing “mass scale” technologies that will help the UK meet its 2020 and 2050 energy targets.
Through new modelling and large-scale experimental work the ETI project is looking to identify the bounds of safe design and operation of high efficiency CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) and CHP (combined heat and power) systems operating on a range of fuels with high and variable concentrations of hydrogen.
The goals of the project are to increase the range of fuels that can be safely used in power and heat generating plant by:
In identifying the boundaries of safe design and operation of power generation systems using hydrogen based fuels; and
Identifying improvements in the detailed design and instrumentation of hydrogen fuelled power systems in order to deliver more robust and inherently safer system designs.
SCITEK’s involvement with the ETI project is to assist in the design, manufacture and instrumentation of a scaled down experimental rig that features a small gas turbine engine (RR Viper 201) to provide hot gas flow.
SCITEK has also assessed the mixing characteristics of the proposed gas injection system utilising CFD modelling of high temperature, compressible gas jets in cross flow, with species transport.
SCITEK Consultants Ltd, in conjunction with RadSci Consultancy Ltd, have designed and manufactured a complete Cold Neutron Radiography facility for installation on one of the beamlines of a nuclear reactor at a Chinese research centre.
The Cold Neutron Radiography system uses neutrons to build up three-dimensional pictures of the interiors of static objects or of operating machinery , highlighting the presence within them of the hydrogen present in water, oil, fuel or corrosion products. This imaging technique is similar to X-Rays and can be used to identify internal corrosion in aircraft components, to study internal capillary passageways in plants and to identify the make up or the presence of damage due, for example, to corrosion in bronze components of archaeological objects.
The equipment includes:- the main neutron shutter, an automated neutron aperture selector, an 11m long vacuum flight tube, neutron beam profiler, 3-axis object handling system (up to 300 kg objects), turntable for neutron tomography (up to 25kg objects) and a neutron imaging system based on an Andor iKon-L 4 Mpixel cooled CCD camera and neutron-sensitive scintillation screen.
Scitek and RadSci have also designed the neutron beam stop for the Chinese customer to manufacture. All components of the system are controlled from one of three PCs by the customised software (based on LabVIEW). Also included in the system are the programs Octopus for CT reconstruction and VGStudio Max for 3D image display and analysis.
Aside from developing fully integrated systems, SCITEK has also been called upon to develop a number of standalone instrumentation projects. These projects have covered a wide range of measurement and control applications and have given SCITEK experience over a wide range of commercially available instrumentation. This knowledge can be rapidly applied to develop instrumentation solutions for customers, whilst in a number of occasions SCITEK’s own IP can be adapted to meet the demands of a new application in even shorter timescales.
Areas of Expertise:
Photomultiplier (PMT) amplifier for fibre optic probes for use in combustion diagnostics.
Photodiode input module for multiple fibre optic probes used in combustion stability investigation.
Controller for up to 32 Bronkhorst mass flow controllers (or any 4-20mA controllers) for direct analogue control without using Flowbus or FlowDDE. (Remote control via Ethernet or LabVIEW remote panel)
2-lane continuous pressurised water system controller. (Remote control via Ethernet)
3-axis controller for legacy traverse system.
Heater controllers units for controlling up to three 16A heater elements.
Heated flexible PTFE exhaust sample transfer lines.
Strain gauged bearing for load-deflection testing.
Control Systems & Instrumentation
Tailored System Solutions
SCITEK can deliver turnkey solutions to your needs or provide a consultancy service for systems design. Solutions are tailored explicitly for the customers requirements and range from simple monitoring stations to full real-time, robust, reliable control systems for long term (thousands of hours) testing.
We have considerable experience in many different types of application ranging from laboratory scale research rigs to production facilities and provide support for installations that we have not previously been involved with.
Where possible we prefer to use COTS equipment, but as a result of particular project requirements, we have developed a number of standalone instruments that can be used out of the box, or can be tailored for individual customer needs.
We recommend National Instruments hardware and their software development platform LabVIEW™ where appropriate as the best solutions for rapidly developed and robust control systems based on our experience with a large number of competing platforms. We have extensive experience in the use of National Instruments’ products and in October 2004 National Instruments made us one of their Alliance Partners.
At the forefront of technological advance, we make a point of being actively involved in collaborative programmes between academia and industry in the development of new sensors, systems and methods.
Our installed systems base includes:
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) test facilities – Systems for unattended endurance testing (>3000 hours) of high temperature SOFCs with automated rig parameter profiling, IV curve control and logging. The system controls and monitors furnace temperature, rig pressure, gas mass flow, pressurised water delivery, cell temperatures, voltages and currents, provides alarm and event logging, and local and networked backup data logging.
Complete multi-site System Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for rig control and acquisition data from full-scale combustion research rigs for a leading aerospace company.
Discontinuity Detection System with rig control for testing up to 160 connectors simultaneously on a vibration rig for aerospace connector quality evaluation.
Experimental fibre-optic sensor evaluation platform on SCITEK installed Gnome engine (see Engineering).
PC based ultrasound applications development platform.