The U.S. Department of Energy and most U.S. manufacturers of stationary gas turbines are participating in a major national effort to develop advanced turbine systems (ATS). The ATS program will achieve ultra-high efficiencies, environmental superiority, and cost competitiveness compared with current combustion turbine systems. A major factor in the improved efficiencies of simple cycle ATS gas turbines will be higher operating temperatures than current engines. These temperatures strain the limits of metallic alloy and flow-path cooling technologies.
Ceramics materials offer a potential alternative to cooled turbine alloys for ATS turbines due to higher melting points than metallics. This paper evaluates ceramics technology and plant economic issues for ATS industrial turbine systems. A program with the objective of demonstrating first-stage ceramic vanes in a commercial industrial turbine is also described.