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2. 4 Microturbine/Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Technologies
The ETV Program’s Greenhouse Gas Technology (GHG) Center,
operated by Southern Research Institute under a cooperative agreement with EPA, has verified
the performance of six microturbine systems that generate electricity at the point of use. Several
of the verified technologies also include heat recovery systems that capture excess thermal energy from the system and use it to heat water and/or spaces. Systems that include this option are commonly termed combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Microturbine systems, with or without heat recovery, can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and pollutants including nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), ammonia, and total hydrocarbons (THCs). CO2 and methane are greenhouse gases linked to global climate change. CO, SO2, PM, ammonia, THCs, and the various compounds in the NOX family, as well as derivatives formed when NOX reacts in the environment, cause a wide variety of health and environmental impacts.
The ETV Program initially prepared this case study as part of the first volume of ETV Program Case Studies: Demonstrating Program Outcomes (U.S. EPA, 2006f ). Following publication of
that document, one of the technology vendors provided important new information on recent sales. Based on this new information, the ETV
Program has updated the original case study and is presenting it in this volume.
Available sales data indicate that a capacity of 13 megawatts (MW) of ETV-verified microturbines26 have been installed in CHP applications in the United States since the verifications were completed. Based on the analysis in this case study, the estimated benefits of these existing installations include the following:
❖ Emissions reductions of up to 36,000 tons per year of CO2 and approximately 120 tons per year of NOX, with associated climate change, environmental, and human health benefits
❖ Reduction in emissions of other greenhouse gases and pollutants, with additional environmental and human health benefits
❖ Reduction in natural resource consumption by utilizing renewable fuels (such as biogas) or by increasing efficiency (and reducing net fuel consumption) when well-matched to building or facility needs in a properly designed CHP application.
As the capacity of microturbines installed in CHP applications increases, emission reductions and other benefits also will increase. In fact, based on the analysis in this case study and assuming annual sales continue at the same rate as in 2005, the ETV Program estimates the total installed
26 This estimate is based on sales from only one vendor and represents between approximately 190 and 220 installations (at 60 to 70 kW per installation).
Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program 41
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