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Transforming distributed energy generation through the FUTURe Gas TurBINE

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FUTURBINE (Transforming distributed energy generation through the FUTURe Gas TurBINE)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-08-31

FUTURBINE aims to commercialise Aurelia A400 v2.0 the world’s most efficient small turbine for combined heat and power (CHP) generation. The objective of the FUTURBINE project is to support Aurelia’s growth strategy by demonstrating and validating the fuel flexibility and efficiency performance of Aurelia® A400 in an operational environment, by optimizing the company’s value chain and integrator partner model and by continuing commercialization activities for global market entry.
Aurelia has developed a highly innovative 400 kW gas turbine with 40.2% electric efficiency, offering the most efficient solution in the market for small-scale process and SME industry. In Europe it would result in potential annual energy savings of €18 bn. Small-scale process and SME factories are a key part of Europe’s economy and employment, with over 20 million companies, such as dairies, breweries, and small chemical and building materials factories. Typically located in small towns or remote areas, they consume over 20% of the total energy in the EU.
Currently there is no economically feasible decentralised solution in the market for their capacity range (less than 2,000 kW) and need for high-temperature steam, so 90% of these SME factories use inefficient energy systems with high emissions. A400 fills this market gap.
Our innovative, patented technology, which uses two shafts and reheatable exhaust gas, brings many benefits: 1) the best solution for steam-CHP below 2 MW; 2) the highest available electrical efficiency of 40.2%; 3) low emissions, even below EU requirements; 4) wide range of fuels (synthetic and bio, liquid and gas); 5) minimal downtime due to low maintenance and lack of lubricants; 6) zero vibrations; and 7) high economic profitability. We will bring the ground-breaking potential of our technology first to small-scale process industry, and, as the technology is easily scalable to larger energy ranges, then to other CHP markets, which are expected to be 2/3 of new electricity capacity by 2030. In addition, we have developed an innovative distributed integrator partner model, which creates new local jobs and skills in several EU countries through technology transfer. After Phase 2 project we expect to commercialize A400 v 2.0 and reach payback by 2nd year after Ph2 with cumulative profit of €30.6 M and ROI of 514% by 2025.
The main results achieved during the first year of the project:

• WP1:
o We have manufactured and assembled the A400 v2.0 demo turbine including a new syngas burner.
o This turbine is ready to be delivered to the demonstration site in Vechta, Germany for the performance and fuel flexibility validation.

• WP2:
o The manufacturing process optimisation process has been started together with our suppliers and partners.
o The turbine layout has been redesigned.
o Also, the upscaling of the production facilities has begun by designing new manufacturing facilities for serial production.
o Preparation activities for ISO9001 implementation have begun.

• WP3:
o Our innovative integrator partner model has been further developed, and we are expecting the launch the model during the second year of the project.

• WP4:
o An updated exploitation and commercialisation strategy has been developed.
o Direct communication and dissemination of the project progress and results to stakeholders including distributors, suppliers and investors has been done through relevant seminars and technology conferences, mainly organised virtually due to the Covid-19 crisis.
o Preparations for the certification process have started ahead of planned project schedule.

• WP5:
o Dissemination have been done via several channels:
- Dedicated FUTURBINE website
- Promotional materials
- Social media
o A communication plan has been created consisting of press releases for the most important milestones completed, a newsletter for regular updates and contribution to energy and target sector publications, and interviews in media, other broadcast media and social media channels and groups.

• WP6:
o A project management plan has been created consisting of continuous monitoring of the project activities, including weekly/bi-weekly task meetings and monthly project status meetings with the whole project team.
o A risk management plan has been updated with some additional risks that have been identified since the start of the project.
o We have expanded the geographical scope of our current IPR portfolio. Two of our pending patents have been granted in Europe, USA, Russia and Asia. Our trademark registration has also been approved in numerous countries during the past year.
o We have an ongoing technology watch to ensure continued freedom-to-operate and to keep track of our competitors’ activities and innovations.
By the end of the project the high efficiency and fuel flexible performance of the Aurelia® A400 will be validated.
A400 is the first turbine in the world that successfully addresses the power and heat demand of small-scale process and SME industry. The energy consumed by SMEs - our target market - represents globally around 13% of total energy consumption, while in Europe this value reaches 30%.

In addition to the high electrical efficiency, the A400 has been designed with the strategic innovation of being able to operate on a wide variety of fuels, not just fossil fuels. Our modular design has the combustion chamber discrete from the turbines, so it can be tailored accordingly. Growing interest in exploiting renewable fuels makes the A400 an obvious choice, being able to run on biogas, hydrogen-rich synthetic gases from industrial processes, biomass gasification, “lean gases” (high proportion of inert gas content, such as nitrogen and CO2) and even pure hydrogen. This means that the A400 is ideally suited to be coupled with renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, where “power to gas” (P2G) is being used to store excess capacity, the resulting hydrogen or methane being suitable fuels for the A400.
CHP solutions are inherently designed to boost the efficiency of companies’ energy efficiency, to reduce costs, and in turn fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. FUTURBINE is completely aligned with this objective of the EU Green Deal, providing a high-efficiency CHP solution, specifically targeted to market segment that is underrepresented in taking advantage of this technology - SMEs.

At its most dramatic, FUTURBINE gives companies the ability to reduce their CO2 emissions to zero, or close to it, by using hydrogen fuel (from P2G for example), or biogas (which is considered to have no net additional CO2), or industrial process syngas.