The objective is to develop technically and commercially vile small (5 to 400 kWe) CHP plants involving a gas turbine fired directly by a pressurized biomass-fuelled cyclone combustor. Direct-fired systems avoid the complexity and cost of sophisticated heat exchangers and offer a strong opportunity for commercial exploitation. Use of the more benign fuels should remove the need for an intermediate gasification stage with its attendant capital and operating costs.
The project brings together low cost turbocharger-based gas turbines and high speed brushless alternators with state-of-the-art combustor technology, and advances it with the aid of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling so that the gas stream entering the turbine will be controlled with regard to particulate deposition, erosion and corrosion (DEC) potential. An experimental facility of out 250 kWe will be developed to research and establish the DEC, performance, environmental and control parameters for a realistic range of biomass fuels, define allowable operating temperatures (and hence efficiencies) and establish the design specification for a pre-production prototype unit which will have a target generating cost of 0.06 ECU/kWh and a capital cost of 1500 ECU/kWe. Environmental factors are expected to be positive.
Gas turbines have a number of intrinsic advantages over diesels, with lower maintenance costs, compactness, reduced sensitivity to the physical form of the fuel and higher quality exhaust heat. The engine will be designed with an inlet temperature and pressure ratio optimised for biomass conversion, avoiding the high cost and performance penalties associated with aerospace gas turbine adaptations.
The consortium combines a group of organisations with a wide range of bio-fuel production, manufacturing, utility and RTD experience. J.E.T., Polaron Cortina and P.E.T. (UK) bring together the capability for small gas turbine, high-speed alternator, pressurised combustion and control technology. KEMA (Netherlands) represent the Dutch fuel producers and utilities as well as having extensive R&D experience in this area. CRES (Greece) have expertise in southern European bio-fuel production and in the exploitation of renewable energy. NUMECA (Belgium), through CFD modelling, will ensure that particulate flows are understood, to minimise risk of serious degradation.
This ambitious project has a major potential to create new markets for European industry and new jobs in rural areas and in agriculture, it promises a significant development in the use of sustainable energy.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
19009 Raphina (Pikeermi)
SO41 8AL Lymington
WD1 8XU Watford