In this paper a new kind of steam cycle provided with internal combustion is proposed. The internal combustion of natural gas and compressed air inside the steam flow has been conceived to carry out a steam heating (SH a/o RH) until TIT (Turbine Inlet Temperature) much higher than those of the conventional steam power plants. By this internal combustion it seems possible to overcome the present limits to TIT in steam plants which are, as known, especially related to the technological problems of the superheater tube materials in the conventional external combustion steam boilers.
The proposed cycle has been named with the acronym GIST (Gas Injection STeam) since the hot gases resulting from a combustion close to stechiometric conditions are injected inside the steam flow.
This paper provides a first critical approach to these new kinds of thermodynamical cycles. At the first the thermodynamical and technological problems related to the combustion inside steam are explained and discussed. Then, different plant lay-out solutions are proposed with a critical discussion on their overall performance. At the last two GIST solution have been defined that seem very interesting: the first is an hybrid plant scheme (i.e. provided with multi-fuel supply) which involves performances higher than conventional steam power plants (net electric efficiency of about 47%); the second is a plant scheme with full natural gas supply (i.e. without multi-fuel steam boiler) wich involves very relevant performances (net electric efficiency of about 57%).