LITECS aims to reduce environmental impact of gas turbine engines

Strathclyde University is leading LITECS, an £8m research programme aiming to reduce the environmental impact of aviation and power generating gas turbine engines (GTEs).


The Laser Imaging of Turbine Engine Combustion Species (LITECS) programme aims to deliver transformational combustion measurement and modelling tools to enable the development of low emission engine designs and evaluation of new low emission fuels.

Project uses laser sensing to measure gas turbine emissions

Funded by the EPSRC and industry, the consortium of the universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Manchester, Southampton, Loughborough and Sheffield, builds on a previous £2.8m programme which used newly developed laser techniques to demonstrate two dimensional imaging of carbon dioxide in the exhaust plume of a full-scale commercial gas turbine aero-engine.

Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is expected to make contributions to the LITECS programme in the areas of fibre lasers and amplifiers, and delivery fibres at wavelengths longer than 2μm.

Researchers, backed by Rolls-Royce, Siemens Energy, OptoSci, M Squared Lasers and Tracerco, are working to establish several new non-intrusive multi-beam laser measurement systems for simultaneous imaging of the concentration of multiple gases, soot and temperature in the exhausts and combustion zones of GTEs.

Measurements will be made for a range of engine conditions and new fuels, which will enable direct experimental evaluation of new fuel types and their potential to achieve reduced emissions.

In a statement, Programme Leader, Professor Walter Johnstone, from Strathclyde’s department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering said: “Serious emissions reduction can only come from new, disruptive, measurement technologies that transform the experimental characterisation, understanding and modelling of the combustion and emissions generation processes and enable direct experimental evaluation of the performance of alternative fuels.

“The LITECS programme brings together six world leading UK engineering universities, supported by industry, to provide the multi-disciplinary expertise to address these needs.

“Success will advance our strategies towards significant emissions reduction and ensure the UK is a world leader in turbine engine combustion research.”

In 2015 the UK exported £27bn worth of GTE’s, which can be found in trains, ships, electrical generators and pumps.