A combustion turbine, also known as a gas turbine, is an internal and continuous combustion engine, whose main elements are:
- A combustor
- An upstream and rotating compressor
- A downstream turbine
A fourth component is mainly used to increase efficiency and convert electric generators' power from mechanical to electrical. This helps achieve a tremendous thrust-to-weight ratio.
The operation of the gas turbine is a Brayton cycle with an air of working fluid. The atmospheric air usually flows into the compressor to bring a higher pressure. Energy is added by spraying fuel into the air and then igniting it, so the gas turbine combustion generates a more elevated temperature flow.
This high temperature is the pressurized gas entering into the turbine and producing a shaft work output into the process. This is used to drive the compressor. The unused energy comes out through the exhaust gases that can be repurposed for external work, directly thrusting the turbojet's continuous and internal combustion engine.
It can also rotate a second independent turbine known as the power turbine. This can then be connected to either a propeller, turbofans, or electrical combustion turbine generator.
How Does a Combustion Turbine Produce Electricity?
For electricity to be generated, the gas turbine needs to heat a mixture of air and fuel at a high temperature. This causes the turbine's blades to start spinning, and the spinning then drives the generator to convert the energy into electricity.
Additionally, the gas turbine can be combined with a steam turbine, which is connected to cycle the power plant and creates extremely efficient power.
To start with, the air-fuel mixture ignites through a process of compressing the gas turbine air and mixing it with fuel, which is then burned at a high temp, creating hot gas.
Next, the gas spins the turbine blades. In this case, the hot air and fuel mix move the edges in the turbine, which in effect causes them to turn even faster.
The spinning blades then turn to drive the shaft. The fast-spinning Gas Turbine blades have to rotate to drive the shaft.
The power from the combustion turbine generator is then connected with the rod within the generator, which will turn the large magnet that is connected and surrounded with copper wire and coils.
The magnet from the combustion turbine generator will cause the electrons to start moving and create electricity. With the fast-evolving generator magnet, a powerful magnetic field is made, and this lines up with the electrons around the coils and will then cause them to move.
This movement of the electrons through the wires is what we call electricity.