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Microturbine Testing

using the ZonicBook

Microturbines are increasingly being used at various consumer sites to generate 480 VAC, three-phase electrical power, typically in the range of 25 to 500 kW. They are relatively small, combustion-gas turbines that run on natural gas, hydrogen, propane, diesel fuel, land ll gas (methane), and even some bio-diesel fuels. The turbines come in two varieties, simple-cycle and recuperated-cycle. Simple-cycle turbines are about 15% ef cient, compared

The ZonicBooks are superior to the test equipment used before: The rst equipment that was considered had a top measurement speed of only 60,000 rpm, while the ZonicBook easily measures speeds higher than the required 96,000 rpm. Also, the early FFT analyzers were implemented in hardware only and dif cult to use, as compared to the ZonicBook’s FFTs in software — much easier to use.

to turbines with reliable recuperators (that is, no mov- ing parts) that double ef ciencies to nearly 33%. They reintroduce exhaust heat energy into the cycle instead of wasting it. Better yet, system ef ciency can reach 85% with an integrated combined heating and power (ICHP) installation.

Because they are about the size of an industrial refrig- erator, microturbines can easily be installed on site and power a modest-sized building such as a convenience store. When multiple units are interconnected, they can offset the energy expenses and demands of larger facilities such as motels or large apartment buildings. Moreover, some users can sell their excess power back to the grid.

Exceptional Ef ciency

Microturbines are self-contained, integrated systems. They are economical to run, cost little to maintain over long intervals, and are designed for long life. They contain microcomputer-based electronic controls that let them operate automatically at the highest possible ef ciencies. Also, the modular nature of the microtur- bine and its controller let more than one microturbine run in parallel (multi-pack), but act as a single unit for larger installations. Some installations contain as many as 50 microturbines connected in parallel and reduce methane emissions by operating on land ll gas. Here, the microturbines provide maximum power and ef ciency at full-load demands, or the multipack can shed individual turbines one at a time while maintaining the overall installation ef ciency as load requirements decrease. Compare this to conventional megawatt turbines that drop dramatically in ef ciency when their load demands decrease; they must operate well below the peak design point.

A large market for the generated power and clean exhaust heat includes hotels and other installations that consume both power and heat, known as Combined Heating and Power (CHP) applications. This is the most ef cient system. A typical installation employs a heat exchanger on the microturbine’s exhaust, which preheats water for a boiler. Less fuel is then needed for the boiler, and the microturbine system ef ciency can reach 70 to 90%. Because of this, new, green energy- ef cient buildings are increasingly using microturbines and have been working extremely well with remarkably

Power and Energy Industry

Application Note #113


IOtech • 25971 Cannon Road • Cleveland, OH 44146 • (440) 439-4091 • Fax (440) 439-4093 • •

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