The Future of the Closed-Cycle Gas Turbine - A Realistic Assessment 929013
The first industrial closed-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant started service in Switzerland in 1939 and demonstrated the utilization of coal as the fuel, and operation in a combined power and heat production mode, and these were viewed as attributes towards its deployment on a commercial scale. Introduction of further plants in Europe was delayed by two factors: (1) restricted business during the second world war, and (2) the subsequent use of aircraft-derived gas turbines burning oil and gas which were cheap and in plentiful supply. About 15 fossil-fired CCGT plants operated well in Europe (some of them into the 1980s), but both technical and economic factors limited further deployment.
The CCGT capability to operate well at high pressure, and with perfect inert gases (e.g., helium) makes it an attractive prime mover for coupling with a nuclear heat source. In this paper the CCGT is realistically assessed with the major conclusion being that it has real potential for operating with a nuclear heat source early in the next century, in applications as diverse as utility power generation, underwater propulsion systems, and for space power.