Louisiana State University

Turbine Innovation and Energy Research Center's (TIER) Vision

Louisiana State UniversityEnergy is one of the major socio-economic drivers for the world today. Key scientific issues of interest in energy generation include: costs, efficiency, reliability, pollution and safety. The TIER Center has focused its attention on the development of improvement land-based gas turbine systems and fuel-cells. In the last decade over 75% of the new power generation has been based on land-based gas Louisiana State Universityturbines utilizing natural-gas. But depleting sources of natural-gas has spurred interest in fuel-flexibility. In recent years, fuel-cells have emerged as a potential non-polluting alternative to power generation; yet major technical challenges remain in reducing costs and improving reliability.

A major focus of  the TIER Center is directed toward improvements in the performance and reliability of gas turbines for power generation (and also aero-engines), and in exploring fuel-flexibility issues. At Louisiana State University, the faculty involved in the TIER Center have been engaged in gas turbine research for nearly 20 years. This group has focused attention on two key aspects of gas turbine technology: turbine blade cooling (both internal and external) and gas turbine combustion. Several gas turbine related projects funded by NSF, DARPA, AFOSR, ONR, NASA, DOE, General Electric Company, Pratt and Whitney and the state of Louisiana have been conducted over the last 20 years. In the last five years nearly 6 million dollars of gas turbine and energy related research has been performed at LSU. In view of this strong program in the gas turbine area, the Louisiana Board of Regents approved the establishment of the TIER Center in 2001. A key goal of the TIER Center is to lead the development of technology that will result in performance improvements of gas turbine systems.

TIER center is also exploring energy generation through fuel cells. This promising technology is associated with low pollution and minimal environmental impact. TIER has been exploring issues pertaining to improved designs of delivering the fuel and air, improved reliability and operations and better materials for the fuel cells.

TIER Thrust Areas

  • Vanes, Blades and Endwalls: Improved Aerodynamics, Cooling and Reliability
  • Gas Turbine Combustion: Control of Instability, Mixing and Heat Release
  • Emissions and Noise: Reduction of NOx
  • Microsystems-Enabled Technologies: Micro-Fuel Injectors, Micro-Heat Exchangers
  • Sensors and Control: Micro-sensors, Active Control, Intelligent Turbine Engines
  • Separation, Leakage and Flow Control: Tip Leakage, Separation on Blades, Inlet and Ducts
  • High Temperature Materials: High Temperature Coatings, Ceramics
  • Fuel Flexibility: Liquid Fuels (Kerosene, Ethanol), Natural Gas, Syngas, Biomass, Refinery Gas
  • Fuel Cells: Improved Designs, Reliability, Materials
  • Modeling, Simulations, and Optimization: Computational Fluid Dynamics, Optimization, Turbulence, Control, High Performance Computing

Recent TIER Projects

  • National Science Foundation, 2006-2010, Multi-Scale Computational Fluids
  • Pratt & Whitney, 2006-2007, Turbine Leading Edge Cooling
  • Department of Energy, 2003-2006, Turbine-Endwall Cooling
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 2006-2007, Film Cooling of Airfoils
  • National Science Foundation, 1999-2003, Blade Tip Cooling
  • DARPA, 1999-2003, MEMS Heat Exchangers for Turbine Blade Cooling and Seals
  • General Electric Company, 2002-2003, Turbine Blade Internal Cooling
  • Department of Energy, 2000-2003, Turbine Blade Internal Cooling
  • State of Louisiana, 2003-2008, Clean Power & Energy Research Consortium

Laboratory Facilities

  • Gas Turbine Combustion Laboratory
  • Blade Cascade Laboratory for External Cooling
  • Rotating Heat Transfer Laboratory for Internal Cooling
  • Microsystems Engineering Laboratory
  • Flow Dynamics and Control Laboratory
  • Micro-fluidics Laboratory
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
  • Fuel Cell Laboratory
  • Plasma-Spray (Thermal Barrier Coatings) Laboratory

Key Faculty

Sumanta Acharya, Mech. Eng., Ph. D, Univ. of Minnesota, Gas Turbine Combustion, Blade Cooling & Aerodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics
Dimitris Nikitopoulos, Mech. Eng.,Ph. D, Brown University, Turbine Blade Cooling, Flow Diagnostics
Sheng-Min Guo, Mech. Eng.,Ph. D, Oxford University, Turbine Blade Cooling, Fuel Cells
Michael Murphy, Mech. Eng.,Ph. D., MIT, Micro-systems, Fuel-Injectors, Actuators, Ceramics
Kevin Kelly, Mech. Eng.,Ph. D., MIT, Micro-systems, Blade Cooling, High Temperature Materials
Guoxiang Gu, Elec. Eng.,Ph. D, Univ of Minnesota, Flow Control
Kemin Zhou, Elec. Eng.,Ph. D., Cal Tech, Combustion Control
F. Carl Knopf, Chem. Eng.,Ph. D, Ohio State University, Cogeneration, Laser Diagnostics
Kerry Dooley, Chem. Eng.,Ph. D, Univ of Delaware, Catalysis, Combustion

TIER Website