Professor Piero Colonna and Dr. Claudio Lettieri of the Propulsion and Power group of the Aerospace Engineering faculty received a grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for their proposal ‘Non Ideal Compressible Fluid Dynamics (NICFD) - Enabling Science for Turbomachinery of Next-Generation Waste Heat Recovery Systems’. The research aims to enable a paradigm shift in performance of turbomachinery for waste heat recovery applications and to prove for the first time the existence of rarefaction shock waves.

A new development in the power generation industry
Achieving EU emissions targets requires a transformation of the power generation and manufacturing industries. In Europe alone one third of fossil fuel related emissions stems from the industrial sector and nearly 50 % of the energy input is wasted as heat in the form of hot exhaust gases or cooling water. New technologies are being developed to recover this otherwise wasted energy for use elsewhere, such as electricity, heating or cooling. Waste heat recovery systems can provide emission-free energy, but require advanced and efficient non-conventional fluid machinery.

Non-Ideal Compressible Fluid Dynamics
The project focuses on the unusual gasdynamics of molecularly complex fluids, which is very relevant in innovative propulsion and power generation applications. The design of waste recovery systems, gas turbines and rocket engines is challenging because of the complex fluid behavior at high pressures and temperatures inside these devices. This research will develop new fluid thermodynamic models and will enable a new capability for the analysis of internal fluid flows in unconventional turbomachinery.

A New Phenomenon in Physics
The existence of rarefaction shock waves has been theorized first by Bethe, the Nobel laureate, and extensively studied thereafter, but never proved experimentally. In normal fluids like air or steam, shock waves lead to an abrupt increase of pressure, while molecularly complex fluids can experience expansion shocks. This converse fluid behavior might be of great interest for waste heat recovery, but also drug manufacturing, process industry and propulsion applications.

Other researchers involved
This new project will be embedded in the Aircraft Propulsion and Power Laboratory headed by Prof. Colonna. The research contains interdisciplinary connections with other researchers of the TU Delft and of other prominent academic institutions and global companies. These include: Prof. F. Scarano (Aerodynamics, measurement techniques, TU Delft), Dr. M. Pini (Propulsion and Power, TU Delft), Prof. A. Guardone (NICFD, Politecnico di Milano), Dr. J. Schiffmann (ORC technology, EPFL), Ir. D. Colombo (Head of Research and Development, Turboden Mitsubishi), Dr. Stefan Raab (Energy Solutions, Power and Gas, Siemens), Prof. J. van Buijtenen (CTO, Triogen), ing. T. P. van der Stelt (Fluid property modeling, Asimptote).

Grant of the Open Technology Program of NWO/TTW
The Open Technology Program (OTP) of the Applied and Engineering Sciences division (TTW) of the NWO is intended for projects across a wide range of technical research areas.  Highest scientific quality and utilization impact are the two criteria for assessing applications by international independent reviewers. Each project can be funded by NWO for a maximum of approximately €800,000 per project. Industrial partners can co-fund the research in cash and in-kind, as it is the case in this project.

Information about this project on the NWO website 

For more information, contact: Dr. Claudio Lettieri Piero Colonna Claudio Lettieri