Advanced biofuel CHP systems using micro-gas turbine technology (Proposal not funded)
The main objective of this project is to develop and demonstrate, using laboratory experiments, a combined heat and power system based on Brayton cycle micro gas turbine technology with high electrical and thermal efficiency capable of utilising a wide range of bio-fuel feedstock that typically cannot be burned in conventional prime movers such as internal combustion engines.
Distributed Combined Heat and Power (CHP) has gained interest in recent years due to its potential of providing efficient, clean and cost effective energy requirements for homes and small businesses. Combined with the use of renewable biofuels it allows for CO2 neutral power generation. The main advantages of such systems are the provision of electrical and thermal energy wherever it is required, eliminating transmission losses and reducing the cost of energy infrastructures. It also makes use of local biofuel resources cutting down the cost of transport compared to centralised systems.
The aim of this project is to develop a biofuel CHP system based on micro-gas turbine technology using both externally and directly fired gas turbines allowing for widening the range of biofuel feedstock that can be used in the system. An important objective is to lay the foundation for technologies that will make such systems commercially attractive by combining high electrical and thermal efficiency and reliability with cost effective technologies that are easy to operate and maintain while bringing down the size of commercially viable systems to allow for wider range of applications. Two widely available biofuels known as pyrolysis oil and glycerol known as opportunity fuels will be used as the baseline fuels for system development. This will be followed by studies to include wider range of fuels. Combustion technologies for both external and internal combustion will be developed together with fuel preparation and clean-up technologies. Technical solutions will be devised to deal the introduction of large volume flow rates of the low calorific value fuels into the system that are likely to lead to system instability if existing designs based on fossil fuels are used.
Extensive research will also be conducted on the selection of suitable materials able to withstand the corrosive and erosive environments resulting from the combustion of biofuels with impurities. System optimisation, market and cost analysis will be performed to determine the most suitable unit sizes for the various European and International markets to focus the scope of the technological research and development and explore directions for future exploitation. A study will be performed to identify technological developments required to make the resulting system usable and maintainable without the need for high skilled engineering.
- Develop technological solutions for establishing a CHP system that utilises a wide range of biofuel feedstock based on MGT technology.
- Develop suitable combustion and fuel clean up technologies, turbomachinery designs and overall system architectures to achieve high electrical and thermal efficiency of the CHP system, while maintaining high reliability and economic viability.
- Perform laboratory scale test advancing the technology from TRL2 to TRL4 for a number of configurations and system sizes.
- Identify the most appropriate cycle configurations and economic system size as a function of the feedstock and market conditions.
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