Lei Chen

Former Research Engineer, Industry Development (2014 – 2017)

I was a research engineer leading turbine development for HERA’s AGGAT R&D programme in Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) clean energy technology.

Since completing my PhD studies in 2007, I’d been focused on turbine design and performance optimisation, and aerodynamic design & optimisation and stress & rotor dynamics analysis of radial inflow and axial turbines.

The first turbine project of its kinds in New Zealand – I worked on the design of a small scale radial inflow turbine in an ORC system to achieve the goal of producing power from untapped geothermal resources and industrial waste heat.

I successfully carried out 3D geometry of small scale radial inflow turbines – adopting a scalloped rotor design and balance piston on the shaft to reduce thrust loads and match magnetic bearings.  Similar work on the generator casing, cooling pathway, and mechanical drawings of turbo-generator integration led to a more compact and efficient energy conversion system.

Using the Finite Element Method to conduct stress analysis and confirm turbine blade and casing safety during operation, I evaluated dynamic stability and minimised vibration with the aim to manufacture and test a finished prototype at the end of 2016 in collaboration with AGGAT’s project partners.

It was wonderful to work at HERA with a fantastic Industry Development team who at the time were focused on developing clean power generation for the better of the environment.

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