GE, Cascade to improve gas turbine combustion using super computers

GE (NYSE: GE) has announced a multi-year joint development agreement with the Palo Alto-based Cascade Technologies, Inc. The collaboration will focus on applying and improving simulation software that enables engineers to virtually look inside a gas turbine as it operates and gain a better understanding of the turbulent fluid, chemical, and acoustic processes occurring within advanced, low-emissions gas-turbine combustion systems.

The gas turbine combustion process involves multiple steps at high speed. Compared to other digital modelling techniques, Cascade simulation software enables better visualization of the combustion process so engineers can understand more about the subtle changes that occur.

This visualization is made possible using unique software code that can be scaled to run on national laboratory super-computers and at other high-performance computing facilities. The code allows GE and Cascade teams to simulate the combustion process with microsecond time fidelity and sub-millimeter resolution, while generating petabytes of data.

When combined with proprietary web-based analysis tools, this information can help shorten the path between simulations and engineering insight. During a typical two-year development cycle, engineers utilizing the full potential of the software can iterate on a design up to ten times faster to accelerate learning and improve the design.

“The enhanced simulation and visualization capabilities enabled by our collaboration with Cascade can help us deliver even higher efficiency and lower emissions in the next generation of gas turbines,” said John Lammas, vice president, power generation engineering at GE Power and Water. “Together, we’re working to deliver better products, faster.”

“The simulation is like a modern-day digital microscope that allows GE engineers to interrogate the combustion process in ways that were not previously possible,” said Frank Ham, president and CEO, Cascade. “Seeing these details is helping GE gain critical knowledge in how they can continue to improve their gas turbines.”

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