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MICROTURBINES for Power Generation -Technology Scan 1.0 INTRODUCTION

Microturbines are small, high speed (30000 to 80000 rpm) gas turbines in the capacity range of 25-300 kW fueled by natural gas, propane, diesel, kerosene or methane from landfills etc. The hot exhaust gas (at 700oF) of the microturbine which is a by-product can be then used to provide heat or cooling (the latter if a chiller is attached). If used only for electricity generation, the efficiency of the system is 25-30%, but if it is used as with heat recuperation such as a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plant, then the efficiency can be increased upto >80%. Air pollution emissions of microturbines are much lower than any reciprocating diesel generator because the continuous combustion inside a turbine permits complete combustion of fuel. NOX emissions are less than 9 ppm and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions are nearly zero.

BLOCK DIAGRAM OF A MICROTURBINE UNIT

2.0 TECHNOLOGY

The basic technology used in microturbines is derived from aircraft auxiliary power systems, diesel engine turbochargers, and automotive designs. A number of companies are currently field-testing demonstration units, and several commercial units are available for purchase.

Microturbines consist of a compressor, combustor, turbine, and generator. The compressors and turbines are typically radial-flow designs, and resemble automotive engine turbochargers. Most designs are single-shaft and use a high-speed permanent magnet generator producing variable voltage, variable frequency alternating current (AC) power. Most microturbine units are designed for continuous-duty operation and are recuperated to obtain higher electric efficiencies.

Advanced Technology Group (PE-Mech), NTPC Page 1 of 8

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