Pressure gain combustion evokes great interest as it promises to increase significantly gas turbine efficiency and reduce emissions. This also applies to advanced thermodynamic cycles with heat exchangers for intercooling and recuperation. These cycles are superior to the classic Brayton cycle and deliver higher specific work and/or thermal efficiency. The combination of this revolutionary type of combustion in an intercooled or recuperated gas turbine cycle can, however, lead to even higher efficiency or specific work. The research of these potentials is the topic of the presented paper. For that purpose, different gas turbine setups for intercooling, recuperation, and combined intercooling and recuperation are modeled in a gas turbine performance code. A secondary air system for turbine cooling is incorporated, as well as a blade temperature evaluation. The pressure gain combustion is represented by analytical-algebraic and empirical models from the literature. Key gas turbine specifications are then subject to a comprehensive optimization study, in order to identify the design with the highest thermal efficiency. The results indicate that the combination of intercooling and pressure gain combustion creates synergies. The thermal efficiency is increased by 10 percentage points compared to a conventional gas turbine with isobaric combustion.
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