Microturbines are able to generate electric power using a variety of gaseous fuels with the predominant fuel of choice being natural gas. Mechanically, they operate like conventional turbines, but their power output is generally in the range of 30 – 250 kW.
The major components of a microturbine are its combustor, turbine, and high-speed generator. Air and fuel are combined in the combustor, which ignites the mixture and feeds it to the turbine. The ignited air-fuel mixture spins the turbine, at speeds around 100,000 rpm, operating the generator and producing electric energy and waste heat.
Microturbines can provide all or portions of the power needed in commercial facilities. Microturbines have been applied for both base load power and backup power generation.
An efficient microturbine application will utilize the waste heat that it generates. Most microturbine manufacturers include a flue gas heat recovery unit that produces a stream of hot water, either for direct use in building heating systems or for other hot water needs. Heat recovery can also produce low pressure steam instead of hot water. In some commercial and industrial settings, the flue gases provide both direct and indirect process heat.
III Equipment Options
Microturbines can also serve as natural gas or propane fueled engines powering hybrid electric vehicles.
1. Equipment Manufacturer Database
2. Distributed Generation Consortium