Microturbine Generator Systems

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MICROTURBINES are becoming wide spread for distributed power and combined heat and power applications. They range from handheld units producing less than a kilowatt to commercial sized systems that produce tens or hundreds of kilowatts. They are also known as "turbo alternators", or "gensets". Part of their success is due to advances in electronics, which allow unattended operation and interfacing with the commercial power grid. Electronic power switching technology eliminates the need for the generator to be synchronized with the power grid. This allows, for example, the generator to be integrated with the turbine shaft, and to double as the starter motor. Microturbine systems have many advantages over piston engine generators, such as higher power density (with respect to footprint and weight), extremely low emissions and few, or just one, moving part. They accept most commercial fuels, such as natural gas, propane, diesel and kerosene. They are also able to produce renewable energy when fueled with biogas from landfills and sewage treatment plants. Microturbine designs usually consist of a single stage radial compressor, a single stage radial turbine and a recuperator.Typical micro turbine efficiencies are 25 to 35 percent. When in a combined heat and power cogeneration system, efficiencies of greater than 80 percent are commonly achieved.

Microturbines are a new type of combustion turbine being used for stationary energy generation applications. They are small combustion turbines, approximately the size of a refrigerator, with outputs of 25kw to 500kw, and can be located on sites with space limitation for power production. Microturbines are composed of a compressor, combustor, turbine, alternator, recuperator, and generator. Waste heat recovery can be used in combined heat and power system to achieve energy efficiency levels greater than 80%. In addition to power generation micro turbines offer an efficient and clean solution to direct mechanical drive markets such as compression and air conditioning. Since making their commercial debut a mere five years ago, microturbines have installed with considerable success in office and apartment building, hotels and motels. Supermarkets, school and college, office and industrial parks, small industries, and numerous other facilities both in the US and abroard.They provide not only electricity, but the thermal energy to provide for all heating and cooling needs.

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