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Design of a Small Scale Gas Turbine for a Hybrid Propulsion System

[+] Author Affiliations
Elliott Bryner, David Ransom, John Bishop, Shane Coogan, Grant Musgrove

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Paper No. GT2015-42770, pp. V008T23A011; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2015: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 8: Microturbines, Turbochargers and Small Turbomachines; Steam Turbines
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 15–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5679-6
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


As part of the Great Horned Owl (GHO) program Southwest Research Institute© (SwRI©) has developed a small, lightweight gas-turbine generator to provide power for an electric or hybrid electric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). This original design for a fuel-to-electricity component of a hybrid propulsion system was designed, built and tested at the SwRI facility in San Antonio, TX. The design is based on a patented SwRI gas-turbine configuration and went through five major design iterations leading to the final configuration. The design iterations of the gas generator were driven by aggressive targets for weight, size and performance that were part of program requirements. The design of the GHO machine evolved from the initial concept based on lessons learned from previous testing at SwRI and considerations to improve manufacturability and operability. Improvements to the design were also incorporated to meet performance goals and increase life of hot section parts.

This machine is low-cost and simple to operate and in addition to the original design intent of fuel-to-electricity use in a hybrid propulsion system can be used as a technology demonstration platform. SwRI plans to use the GHO machine in projects such as instrumentation development, as a test bed for new technologies such as ceramic or additive manufactured parts and for use as a component in a hardware-in-the-loop system.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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