2nd gear - development of next generation turbine-gearbox technology

The consortium wants to develop breakthrough transmission technology for single shaft turbines, including delivering variable output rotation speed, when having constant input speed. This results in a much wider range of turbine applications against 50% size and 50% costs of prevalent technologies.

Gas turbine technology has steadily advanced since its inception and continues to evolve; research is active in producing ever smaller gas turbines while maintaining performance. The growing demand for efficient, compact and low cost power solutions encourages the industry to continue the development of next generation turbine technology that meets these requirements. Turbine technology has further pushed gas turbine technology as an alternative for reciprocating engines for several applications. Generally, a gas turbine consists of three sections: a compressor, a combustion section and a rotor. The incoming air is compressed in the compressor, and sent to the combustion chambers where it is mixed with fuel and ignited. The expanding air drives the blades of the rotor, which is connected to a shaft. This rotating shaft can be used to drive several applications, such as generators to provide electrical power. OPRA’s single-shaft turbine: The development of the radial turbines started in the 1960s. The development was initiated by the founding father of OPRA, Jan Mowill. His radial turbine is a simple, affordable, robust, compact and efficient system, designed to deliver electricity for oil, gas and industrial purposes in the power range of 1.5 to 10 MW. OPRA turbines come in packages, composed of a turbine, a generator and a gearbox to match rotate-speed requirements between the turbine and the generator. These components are placed in-line. One of the advantages of the OPRA package is the fuel flexibility. Several types of fuel can be used in parallel, including bio fuels. The radial turbine is a single-shaft turbine instead of a dual-shaft or twin-shaft turbine, an elemental distinction in the turbine industry. This single-shaft turbine is suitable for providing electrical output; the turbine drives a generator, which in turn produces electricity. The current OPRA turbines are designed to provide electrical power only. Devices that require a mechanical output from a turbine, either with constant speed or variable speed, cannot be driven with current single-shaft turbine technology. Currently these devices make use of two-shaft systems or other propulsion systems, such as diesel engines. Two-shaft turbines are about twice the size of OPRA’s single-shaft turbine and investment costs are 50% higher. With "2ND GEAR: Development of Next Generation Turbine-Gearbox Technology", OPRA wants to develop new technology so that the currently produced single-shaft turbines can be used to provide mechanical as well as variable output. Not only for devices that require constant drive (such as most pumps), but also for devices that require variable speeds (such as compressors). This is a revolutionary idea, as this type of turbine does not yet exist anywhere in the world. New technology needs to be developed and challenges need to be overcome. OPRA cannot do this on its own since these developments require specific skills and knowledge that OPRA lacks. OPRA therefore searched for partners with interest in this development in order to combine forces and jointly develop this new technology. This search resulted in the consortium partners listed below. Brief introduction of the partners * OPRA TURBINE B.V.’s business is the development, sales, leasing, financing and maintenance of gas turbines and related products, including license sales related to such products and related technology. The company is a leading, global provider of turbine based power generation solutions for installations between 1.5 and 10.0 MW. OPRA’s key markets are power generation solutions for oil and gas and industrial customers. OPRA is a rapidly growing, international company located in Stavanger (NORWAY), Hengelo (THE NETHERLANDS) and Houston (U.S.A.). * RAY HICKS LTD. is a British engineering company specialised in the design and engineering of advanced gearbox technology. RAY HICKS LTD. is known worldwide for its expertise and has participated in many gearbox-related projects and studies. For example, its work on epicyclic gears is well known in the wind-turbine industry. * SAUTER BACHMANN AG. is a Swiss company, specialised in the development and manufacturing engineering of gear(boxes), couplings, cogwheels, clutches, brakes and variable speed equipment for industrial purposes. Both RAY HICKS and SAUTER BACHMANN have been involved in several successful partnerships in the past. This R & D project is a logical sequence of the R & D-performance of the project partners in the past. Their track record in turbine and gearbox innovations includes several breakthrough technologies, applied in a range of products such as the planetary gearbox, windmills, radial gas turbines, etc., implemented by various OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).
2nd Gear
Project ID: 
4 908
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 630 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.