Efficient Conversion of Natural Gas

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OPEN 2012
Canoga Park, California
Project Term:
05/01/2013 - 03/15/2016

Technology Description:

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) is developing two distinct—but related—technologies that could revolutionize how we convert natural gas. First, PWR will work with Pennsylvania State University to create a high-efficiency gas turbine which uses supercritical fluids to cool the turbine blades. Allowing gas turbines to operate at higher temperatures can drive significant improvements in performance, particularly when coupled with the recapture of waste heat. This advancement could reduce the cost of electricity by roughly 60% and resulting in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing upon lessons learned from this technology, PWR will then work with the Gas Technology Institute to build a system that partially oxidizes natural gas in the high-temperature, high-pressure combustor of a natural gas turbine, efficiently facilitating its conversion into a liquid fuel. This approach could simultaneously improve the efficiency of gas conversion into fuels and chemicals, and also generate high-quality waste heat in the process which could be used to generate electricity.

Potential Impact:

If successful, PWR’s work would increase the efficiency of natural gas conversion processes, allowing for lower-cost electricity production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the natural gas power generation sector.


Enabling the efficient and cost-effective use of natural gas for power generation would improve the stability of the electric grid and increase our national energy security by supporting abundant domestic energy resources.


The proposed design would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, which, if proven at scale, would result in a marked reduction in overall U.S. greenhouse gas emission levels.


PWR’s technology could reduce the cost of electricity generation by more than half compared to coal, resulting in $25 billion in cost savings per year for consumers if widely deployed.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact:
Dr. Kenneth Sprouse
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Gas Technology Institute
Pennsylvania State University

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