Aerojet Rocketdyne signs cooperative pact with NETL to develop RDE technology
Aerojet Rocketdyne has signed a cooperative agreement with the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy to develop air-breathing rotating detonation engine technology that could enable the combined cycle efficiency of natural gas-fueled power plants to exceed 65% - a significant improvement over current technology. The RDE agreement, valued at $6.8M, is for the Phase II program that provides value to the Department of Energy by leveraging ongoing RDE development activities and expertise of Aerojet Rocketdyne's work with Purdue University, University of Michigan, University of Alabama, University of Central Florida and Southwest Research Institute. The technology will enable combined cycle efficiency gains by capturing the increased performance of pressure gain combustion within the combustion assembly, and reducing the flow variations resulting from RDE combustion to levels that are acceptable to upstream compressors and downstream turbines. This follow-on agreement builds upon the success of an initial Phase I program, completed by Aerojet Rocketdyne, which demonstrated operation of an RDE fueled by natural gas at conditions simulating operation in a full-scale gas turbine power plant. To date, Aerojet Rocketdyne has completed more than 650 hot-fire and related development tests to mature this key technology. The company is concurrently developing RDEs for propulsion applications for the Department of Defense.