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Publication Title | Propane-Fueled Microturbine: Case Study Potential of Propane as a Microturbine Fuel

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Propane-Fueled Microturbine: Case Study

Potential of Propane as a Microturbine Fuel

Microturbine generators are small turbine generators targeted for the distributed generation marketplace and located at or near sites where electrical power is consumed. The units presently under development range in size from 30 to 250 kWe. Capstone is a leader in the microturbine industry with the most units in the field; over 2,500 units have been sold (30 kW and 60 kW units). Other leading microturbine manufacturers with products available in the U.S. include Bowman Power Systems, Elliott Energy Systems, IR Energy Systems, and Turbec AB.

Distributed generation (DG) covers a variety of generating

technologies; besides microturbines it includes fuel cells, wind turbines,

photovoltaic cells, Stirling engines, small combustion turbines, and internal combustion (IC) engines. The main impetuses for distributed generation are savings in electrical transmission and distribution costs, higher reliability small power generation, and potentially higher fuel efficiency when waste heat is used for cogeneration.

While the potential market for microturbines is uncertain, there are significant advantages to the use of propane-fueled microturbines. There are a variety of circumstances where propane is the fuel of choice, including:

• Where natural gas is not available; those locations that are beyond the present natural gas pipeline distribution system.

• As a natural gas standby fuel; these applications will be based on the price difference between firm and non-firm natural gas.

• When propane is cheaper than natural gas.

• As a backup to natural gas or diesel when fuel redundancy is required for greater overall reliability.

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