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NRL's model of a Rotating Detonation Engine  (Source:
Currently, the Navy has 129 ships with 430 gas-turbine engines that burn $2 billion of fuel annually

The U.S. Navy is working on new technology for its gas-turbine engines in order to decrease fuel consumption without sacrificing performance.

The answer, according to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), is equipping current gas-turbine engines with Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) technology. These engines could not only efficiently provide propulsion for Navy planes and ships, but also create electricity for an all-electric propulsion system.

The Navy currently uses gas-turbine engines that are based on the Brayton thermodynamic cycle, where air is compressed, combined with fuel, combusted at a constant pressure and expanded. This allows for propulsion or generating electricity, just like the RDEs. However, the Brayton cycle is less efficient than the detonation cycle.

Dr. Kazhikathra Kailasanath, head of NRL's Laboratories for Computational Physics and Fluid Dynamics, noted the following in a 2011 paper for the NRL Review:

The challenge with detonation engines is realizing the efficiency of the detonation cycle. Concepts such as oblique detonation-wave engines have failed to be able to recover the efficiency of this detonation cycle, because much of the energy of the inflow is bound up in kinetic energy, which does not increase the pressure and thus does not improve the efficiency. Pulse detonation engines have taken a different approach by creating an unsteady process that removes the requirement of having high velocity inflow. This creates a whole new set of issues, such as rapid initiation of detonations and the requirement of efficient detonators.

The rotating detonation engine takes a different approach toward realizing the efficiency of the detonation cycle. By allowing the detonation to propagate azimuthally around an annular combustion chamber, the kinetic energy of the inflow can be held to a relatively low value, and thus the RDE can use most of the compression for gains in efficiency, while the flow field matches the steady detonation cycle closely.

Currently, the Navy has 129 ships with 430 gas-turbine engines that burn $2 billion of fuel annually. By equipping engines with RDE technology, power could be increased by 10 percent while fuel consumption would decrease by 25 percent. The Navy could also save $300-$400 million annually.

Source: U.S. Navy

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RE: .
By Jeffk464 on 11/3/2012 12:18:37 PM , Rating: -1
Or here is a crazy concept how about just using standard diesel engines like the commercial shipping industry? If it were more practical to use gas turbines that's what the commercial industry would be using.

RE: .
By chromal on 11/3/2012 12:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
Commercial cargo ships have propulsion plants that can efficiently propel them from one cargo port to the next at a modest speed, with a little power diverted to the habitation block for a modest crew.

Military warships have propulsion plants that allow them to maneuver and cruise at considerable speed, while simultaneously providing the energy necessary to support hundreds of crew, radar, weapons, communications, etc. None of this usage is necessary on the practical commercial vessels you compare them with.

RE: .
By DanNeely on 11/3/2012 12:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
Navy reqs for war ships aren't the same as what commercial shippers need. eg Commercial shipping doesn't need to go from 0-Max speed in 30 seconds because they just detected a hostile weapons launch.

RE: .
By Jeffk464 on 11/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: .
By shmmy on 11/3/2012 2:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure you have no idea what your talking about. Thats why the military uses piston engines in planes right? Because they are so powerful? Gas turbines offer far more power for its size, with better reliability.

Gas turbines can power everything, even data centers and when they need it to run 24/7 and not take up a lot of space they go turbine, not diesel.

Please don't fill your own gaps in knowledge with ignorant comments.

RE: .
By Jeffk464 on 11/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: .
By StormyKnight on 11/5/2012 11:48:42 PM , Rating: 1
Well, you were obviously ignorant if you had to do some checking, yes?

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