Designed Fuel Control Valve
A major producer of “gas” turbines had a multi-million dollar opportunity in India. The problem was that the fuel used in the turbines was naphthalene, which had very low lubricity. This meant that the gear divider system they used to divide fuel flow to various injection nozzles would have to be augmented with a sophisticated lube oil injection system, an expensive proposition.
My company was bidding on a component of the lube oil injection system, but we had a better idea.
Our familiarity with the customer’s design objectives allowed us to take a systems level view of the problem. We conceptualized and proposed a new approach to dividing the fuel flow that sidestepped the need for a lube oil injection system. As an added bonus our approach combined the divider function and the modulation functions, simplifying control and plumbing.
Functionally, the device consisted of a plurality of low friction, restrictive flow controls whose primary orifices were mechanically linked in a moveable plate. A servo actuator positioned the plate to set total fuel flow and the multiple flow control elements acted to evenly divide the fuel regardless of load fluctuations.
The device exceeded performance and reliability requirements and was classified as a system critical device. We patented the device (US Patent 5,941,074) and they patented the system it was used in. The customer estimated that it would save them $650,000 per turbine compared to the gear divider with lube injection and are considering launching it on their standard fuel turbines because of its cost-effectiveness and accuracy.