Humid Air Turbine for Power Generation, Refrigeration and Water Extraction

Technology #15296

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Researchers
William E. Lear Jr
Managed By
Lenny Terry
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending US-2016-0138431-A1

High Efficiency Turbine Provides Distributed Power to Grid

This humid air turbine is a combined cooling, heat, and power system that provides increased power grid efficiency and stability by providing flexible distributed electricity generation (~1 MW per unit). Consumer electricity demands vary widely throughout the day, requiring utility companies to invest substantially in infrastructure to store electricity or otherwise meet peak power demands. Available practices for saving resources include turning off generators when demand is low, only using them for peak hours, but this often backfires due to sharp swings in customer demand and the inability of large power generators to ramp up in time to meet that sudden need. Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a high efficiency, compact humid air turbine that generates electricity at distributed locations. The system runs continuously at a power level dictated by demand for steam with a fast response time and a wide range of efficient generation capacities. The turbine is ideal for meeting fluctuations in demand, lowering the need for energy storage and increasing grid stability. The turbine uses flameless combustion, generating very low emissions and outputting clean water as it runs.

Application

A low-cost, high-efficiency, compact humid air turbine for generating distributed electricity and heat

Advantages

  • Operates at very high efficiency, approaching 50 percent even at part power
  • Responds in one second to changing load demand, providing stability even with future increases in renewable generation
  • Captures waste heat to create high pressure steam without exhaust heat recovery equipment, greatly improving compactness and lowering cost
  • Produces fresh, clean water and low emissions, maintaining environmental friendliness
  • Can create distributed microgrids, potentially enhancing disaster response

Technology

This semi-closed gas-turbine cycle with an absorption refrigeration cycle creates an efficient system for power generation, heat, refrigeration, and water extraction. It builds upon UF proprietary technology known as the Power, Water Extraction, and Refrigeration (PoWER) cycle, which itself offers significant efficiency, cost, compactness, and emissions benefits. This system combines elements of the humid air turbine (HAT) cycle to further increase efficiency with minimal increase in complexity or cost. It operates more efficiently than available technology, approaching 50 percent efficiency in small plants over a wide range of power output levels. The fast, efficient operation combined with automatic capture of its waste heat makes it an ideal generation system for combined cooling, heat, and power applications and microgrids.