Choose State Change Location

How Do Combustion Turbines Work?

1. Air Intake
When the unit is put into operation, air is pulled in from outside and compressed.

2. Combustion Chamber
This compressed air is ignited by burning fuel (low sulfur fuel oil or natural gas) and expands. The resulting combustion develops 300,000 horsepower. Combustion turbines operate differently from coal-fired or nuclear plants. Rather than using steam to drive a turbine, combustion turbines harness the nature of air to expand when it is heated.

3. Turbine
The expanding air pushes the turbine generators much like steam does in a steam-electric station. The turbines then turn the electric generators. In simplest terms, a turbine is a series of many long, thin blades similar to propeller blades. Two-thirds of the horsepower generated rotates the air-compressor turbine. The remaining energy spins the electric generator.