At present high temperature, internally cooled gas turbines form the basis for the development of highly efficient plants for utility and industrial markets. Minimizing irreversibility of processes in all components of a gas turbine plant leads to greater plant efficiency. Turbine cooling, like all real processes, is an irreversible process and results in lost opportunity for producing work. Traditional tools based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics enable performance parameters of a plant to be evaluated, but they give no way of separating the losses due to cooling from the overall losses. This limitation arises from the fact that the two processes, expansion and cooling, go on simultaneously in the turbine. Part of the cooling losses are conventionally attributed to the turbine losses. This study was intended for the direct determination of lost work due to cooling. To this end, a cooled gas turbine plant has been treated as a work-producing thermodynamic system consisting of two systems that exchange heat with one another. The concepts of availability and exergy have been used in the analysis of such a system. The proposed approach is applicable to gas turbines with various types of cooling: open-air, closed-steam, and open-steam cooling. The open-air cooling technology has found the most wide application in current gas turbines. Using this type of cooling as an example, the potential of the developed method is shown. Losses and destructions of exergy in the conversion of the fuel exergy into work are illustrated by the exergy flow diagram.

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