Through its New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) the Japanese government is sponsoring the World Energy Network (WE-NET) Program. WE-NET is a 28-year global effort to define and implement technologies needed for hydrogen-based energy systems. A critical part of this effort is the development of a hydrogen-fueled combustion turbine system to efficiently convert the chemical energy stored in hydrogen to electricity when hydrogen is combusted with pure oxygen.

A Rankine cycle, with reheat and recuperation, was selected by Westinghouse as the general Reference System. Variations of this cycle have been examined to identify a Reference System having maximum development feasibility, while meeting the requirement of a minimum of 70.9% low heating value (LHV) efficiency. The strategy applied by Westinghouse was to assess both a near-term and long-term Reference Plant. The near-term plant requires moderate development based on extrapolation of current steam and combustion turbine technology. In contrast, the long-term plant requires more extensive development for an additional high-pressure reheat turbine, and is more complex than the near-term plant with closed-loop steam cooling and extractive feedwater heating. Trade-offs between efficiency benefits and development challenges of the near-term and long-term reference plant are identified. Results of this study can be applied to guide the future development activities of hydrogen-fueled combustion turbine systems.

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