U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Advanced Manufacturing Office – Industrial Distributed Energy

ITP's Research on Nanocoatings for Gas Turbines Can Lead to Energy and Cost Savings

March 11, 2011

Erosion-Resistant Nanocoatings for Improved Energy Efficiency in Gas Turbine EnginesPDF, a research project sponsored by the Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), is testing the use of lightweight protective nanocoatings on the compressor airfoils of gas turbines. This promising research can help save fuel, extend equipment life, and reduce the carbon emissions of more than 9,000 gas turbines used in power plants and 7,000 aircraft engines.

In power plants, erosion-resistant nanocoatings can protect the blades of gas turbines from water droplets formed during an "inlet fogging" process, which increases engine power. Eroded compressor airfoils degrade engine performance which leads to higher costs, carbon emissions, and fuel use for power plant operators.

Water droplets, dust, and even volcanic ash in the atmosphere erode compressor blades in aircraft engines, which increases fuel consumption and decreases engine power. Coating the blades with a protective barrier rather than replacing the blades saves time and money. These coatings can save more than 3 million barrels of oil in the commercial aviation industry each year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the National Energy Technology Laboratory's feature article on the value of erosion-resistant nanocoatings.

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