The Low Emissions Technologies and Combustion (LETC) group, headed by Dr. Bobby Sethi, is placed within the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering. The Group provides a large range of continuous professional development (CPD) and consultancy, as well as postgraduate education and research with an emphasis on low emissions technologies, alternative fuels and asset management for aero and stationary gas turbines and related systems.

The LETC group comprises more than 15 academic and research staff, including visiting academics and professors, as well as several doctoral candidates with significant experience in both industry and academia. This provides a scale of activity sufficiently large to ensure a long-term commitment to selected research areas. There are substantial collaborative programmes with leading global universities, research establishments, research councils, industry and policy bodies.

Colleagues within the LETC group serve as module leads of the “Combustors”, “Propulsion System Performance and Integration” and “Gas Turbine Operations and Rotating Machines” modules of the Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc course.

Research Profile

The research portfolio and thought leadership of the group spans across four main themes:

Gas turbine combustion for aero and stationary gas turbines

World class experimental facilities including:

  • A high temperature, pressure and mass flow (clean air) combustion facility
  • An altitude relight experimental facility
  • State-of-the-art instrumentation including laser diagnostics

Strong track record in multi-fidelity combustor design, performance, emissions (including contrails) and thermoacoustic modelling - including reduced order modelling, reactor modelling as well as low and high fidelity CFD.

Hydrogen and alternative fuels for aero and stationary gas turbines

World leading research activity in hydrogen and other alternative fuels (e.g. natural gas, ammonia, methanol) comprising:

  • Fuel tank and fuel systems design performance and integration
  • Cryogenic fuel storage
  • Propulsion system performance, integration and optimisation
  • Safety modelling at aircraft and operational level
  • Low emissions combustion numerical and experimental research
  • Fuel blends

Technoeconomic Environmental Risk Assessment (TERA) of novel aircraft, rotorcraft and propulsion system technologies and asset management strategies to reduce the environmental impact of aviation

Strong track record and links with industry and academia for research of novel aircraft and rotorcraft technologies including advanced propulsion technologies (e.g. intercooling, recuperation, bottoming cycles, pressure rise combustion and turboelectric distributed propulsion).

Comprehensive suite of in-house models:

  • Propulsion system performance, general arrangement and preliminary weight
  • Aircraft, rotorcraft and unmanned air vehicle performance
  • Emissions (CO, UHC, Soot, NOx and Contrails)
  • Engine Lifing
  • Economics (operating costs and investment cost analysis)
  • Policy (fuel price and emission taxation scenario analyses)
  • Optimisers

Gas turbine operations: flexibility, degradation and performance enhancement.

Experimental wind tunnel for compressor degradation and washing research, with a strong track record in:

  • Thermodynamic modelling of engine system performance
  • Use of machine sensor date for analytical studies on fault quantification
  • Water injection technologies and droplet measurement