Microturbines: Opportunities, Barriers
June 19, 2015 By Linda Hardesty
NavigantMicroturbines are classified as a distributed generation (DG) technology that consists of an electric generator coupled with a prime mover and fueled by gaseous fuels. According to Navigant Research, today microturbines are mostly used for remote power applications in the oil & gas industry and for combined heat and power (CHP) or combined cooling, heating, and power (CCHP) applications in the commercial, industrial and residential high-rise markets.
According to Navigant Research’s report, “Microturbines,” the systems are typically available in sizes ranging from 30 kW to 250 kW. Microturbines offer two major advantages in the DG market: low emissions and low maintenance. Fueled primarily by natural gas (low pressure or high pressure) – but also compatible with landfill gas, biogas, digester gas, associated gas, propane, and diesel – microturbines represent an expensive yet extremely reliable solution for continuous power applications.
In general, there are four primary drivers for microturbine adoption:
High cost of grid electricity and low cost of gas or availability of a free fuel source.
Demand for onsite power generation
Environmental standards (whether personal or mandated) that may incentivize the use of microturbines as one of the cleanest fossil fuel-burning technology options.
Demand or need for continuous power generation in backup applications.
Barriers limiting the adoption of microturbines include high capital cost, cheap grid power, competition from reciprocating engines, and access to the natural gas grid.
Although the global microturbine market has experienced steady historical growth, calendar year 2014 was a down year for microturbine sales due to reduced demand in the oil & gas market. Capstone Turbine, the industry’s largest manufacturer, reported a compound annual growth of roughly 25 percent in terms of revenue for the five years ended March 31, 2014.
Google the article. Discusses use of Capstone turbine
EMISSIONS, FUEL, TECHNOLOGY
Wrightspeed Hybrid-Electric Trucks are the Cutting Edge of Truck Design
By EDWARD DODGE
on March 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM
Tighter Fuel Efficiency Standards For Medium And Heavy-Duty Vehicles Announced By Obama
Wrightspeed Powertrains of San Jose, California is a pioneer in developing hybrid-electric powertrains for heavy duty trucks. This next-generation design provides superior power, performance, fuel efficiency, and the lowest emissions for heavy duty trucks that operate in some of the most challenging and fuel-guzzling applications.
There are many advantages to hybrid-electric vehicles that are beginning to be appreciated by the auto industry and Wrightspeed is at the cutting edge of this new engineering paradigm. Wrightspeed builds powertrain retrofits for existing trucks that replace the engine, transmission and driveshaft with electric motors, plug-in batteries, regenerative braking, and a turbine generator. The performance offered is unparalled in conventional trucks, with direct traction control at drivewheels, constant horsepower for heavy torque demand, slip limiting technology, and the emissions eclipse the strictest air quality mandates.
In the Wrightspeed powertrain, multiple electric motors are powered by a battery bank which is charged from either a plug when parked, a range extending turbine generator, or the regenerative braking. Depending on the driving style, impressive gains in fuel economy can be seen. Driving patterns that involve a lot of stops and starts, such as garbage trucks and delivery vans that normally have very low fuel economy, can generate significant amounts of power from the regen brakes while also saving wear and tear on brake pads.
For example, the Isuzu NPR, a common delivery truck averages 12 mpg with traditional diesel engine when driving around a city. The same truck retrofitted with the Wrightspeed system wa