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Publication Title | Appendix A—Distributed Generation Technologies

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Appendix A—Distributed Generation Technologies

This appendix provides background and additional detail for distributed generation technologies. Capacity, fuel types, and efficiency information are provided for each. .

Combustion Turbine

Combustion turbine (CT) generators are a very mature technology. The size of a CT generator typically ranges from about 500 kW up to 250 MW; however generators above 25 MW qualify as central power generation. CTs are fueled by natural gas, oil, or a combination of fuels (dual fuel).

Single-cycle combustion turbine units typically have efficiencies in the range of 20 to 45 percent at full load. Efficiency can be lower at less than full load. Combined- cycle combustion turbines can reach efficiencies of up to 55 percent by utilizing waste heat to produce steam that generates additional electricity.

Nearly all new central station power plants use combined-cycle combustion turbines. Smaller CTs have characteristics favorable for use in DG applications and because of this, are frequently used by independent power producers and large industrial facilities.

Reciprocating Engine

Reciprocating engines are the most common and most technically mature of all DG technologies. They are available from small sizes, 5 kW, to large 7 MW generators. Applications range from small backup generators for residential use to large prime movers for base load power at industrial sites. Reciprocating engines use commonly available fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, and diesel fuel. When used in power generation applications, reciprocating engines are typically called gensets.

Gensets are frequently used as a backup power supply

in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. In addition, large engine generators may be used as base load, grid support, or peak-shaving devices.

Combustion Turbines

Capacity: Fuels:

Efficiency: Cogeneration:

500 kW to 25 MW Natural Gas Liquid Fuels

20 to 45%

As Steam

Reciprocating Engines

Capacity: Fuels:

Efficiency: Cogeneration:

5 kW to 7 MW Natural Gas Diesel

Landfill Gas Digester Gas 25 to 45%

As Steam


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