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Feasibility study of a microturbine for delocalized electrical energy, off-grid generation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AirWatt (Feasibility study of a microturbine for delocalized electrical energy, off-grid generation)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

Advanced Microturbines S.r.l. is a high-tech SME, that developed a microturbine for local electric power generation, by exploiting the potential energy available in pressurised gases. The prototype, showed in the picture on side, was manufactured, tested and its performance assessed. The microturbine generates electric energy from a gas stream, in a range of power of 2050 W, spinning at a speed of up to 100,000 rpm. It has a unique design that has been internationally patented.
The overall objective of the present study has been to evaluate the feasibility of a full power supply system for:
• off-grid applications;
• smart gas distribution networks;
• cathodic protection for corrosion prevention in pipelines;
• pneumatic industrial applications.
Before the evaluation, a thorough analysis of the microturbine has been undertaken (sub-components analysis, operational parameters identification) to provide the working group with all the necessary elements for the feasibility study. The evaluation analysis (SWOT) performed allowed to identify the following two applications as the most promising ones:
• implementation of the AIRWATT microturbine in a smart gas distribution network for smart self-powered monitoring – primary market;
• implementation of the AIRWATT microturbine in an industrial plant (compressed air pipeline) for smart self-powered monitoring – secondary market.
The primary market has been analysed both from a technological (patent analysis) and a commercial (competitive intelligence) point of view. The analyses performed, outlined the positive trend of the industrial research in this field and the presence of competitive products already available on the market. On the other hand, limitations with respect to the AIRWATT microturbine have been identified.
A risk analysis has been carried out to evaluate all potential risks that may adversely affect the market launch of the AIRWATT Microturbine: none of them has been considered as unacceptable. Some mitigation actions have been identified in order to guarantee the success of the project.
Next activities will be focused on the Smart Gas Grid field, gearing towards the development of an integrated device able to continuously supply energy to metering, sensing and actuating components also through the recharging of remotely-mounted energy storage systems (batteries). A preliminary business model has been developed, where the main potential partners to be involved for the future project development have been identified.