GTI researchers are working to deploy technologies designed to advance the implementation of natural gas-fired power generation, with a strong focus on helping industrial and commercial facilities meet stringent emissions standards. We are working especially closely with the U.S. Department of Energy, California Energy Commission and local utilities on the development and demonstration of new solutions for the industrial and onsite power sectors.
A research team is developing a cost-effective, small- to medium-size gas turbine-based combined heat-and-power (CHP) system that can significantly increase energy efficiency while meeting stringent air-emissions regulations. A cost-effective supplemental burner, employing state-of-the-art design concepts, is being optimized for selected power generators. The research team designed a new system, and tested and evaluated burners for system controls. To achieve reliable and stable flame ignition and system warm-up, the control system provides automation of startup and turndown, remote control of the turbine, and ignition sequencing.
Laboratory tests have shown total efficiency of over 85% and NOx emissions that are below stringent emission levels. Field testing of the FlexCHP-65 system is planned at a food-processing plant in California.
Micro-CHP (mCHP) is an energy-efficient technology that simultaneously provides heat and electricity to households and businesses and holds great promise for utilities and consumers alike. GTI and partners are exploring the opportunity for mCHP in the U.S., focused on bringing first costs down and introducing low-cost distributed generation to consumers.
Investigators are testing environmental solutions for achieving long-term compliance with California’s strict emission standards without operator assistance. An automated control system was developed and successfully tested at Fontana Wholesale Lumber in Fontana, California with support from the California Energy Commissions and SoCal Gas.
GTI is also working with CMR Group to develop and commercialize a cost-competitive natural gas quality sensor that can be used for fast-response monitoring of natural gas and bio-methane quality in stationary natural gas engines and turbines, as well as for industrial processes.
Under a grant from the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program and with support from SoCal Gas, GTI is developing and demonstrating a fuel-flexible hybrid-generation CHP system that can use natural gas and biogas produced by anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants and landfills in distributed generation applications to enable technically viable and cost-competitive integration. The novel system integrates a partial oxidation gas turbine with a reciprocating internal combustion engine to produce efficient and reliable thermal and electric energy for on-site use.
Andritz/Carbona has a commercial project in Skive, Denmark providing 12 MWth of district heat and 6 MW of electric power using wood pellets as the fuel, based on GTI’s biomass gasification process. The companies continue to collaborate to improve technical operating features of the gasifier and ancillary equipment.
This combined heat and power project has been in operation since 2009. A single fluidized bed gasifier provides fuel gas for three reciprocating engine generating sets (2 MW each), that produce the heat recovered for the community's heating needs. Gasification enables the facility to produce about 30% more electricity than a conventional steam process. Two gas boilers in the facility can also use produced gases to meet additional district heating demand. The overall process efficiency in this combined heat and power operation is about 90%.
GTI and Andritz/Carbona are also working on next-generation applications using the GTI laboratories and pilot-scale test facilities for research, development, and demonstration.
The Gills Onion Advanced Energy Recovery System project was presented with the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in fall 2009 and the Green California Leadership Award at the Green California Summit and Exposition in 2010. The system converts 100% of onion waste by digestion into biogas. GTI efforts on cleaning and conditioning the biogas make it suitable for use in an ultra-clean 500 kW fuel cell power plant.
CarboLock technology is a hybrid solvent/hollow fiber process for CO2 separation and removal that greatly reduces the capital and operating costs for solvent-based gas clean-up technologies and has a much smaller size than conventional options. Developed by GTI and PoroGen, CarboLock can utilize either physical and chemical solvents or a mixture of solvents to capture CO2 with the hollow fiber contactor as a phase boundary between the gas and liquid, and the technology can dramatically improve process economics for all absorption systems.
In projects for the U.S. DOE, the Illinois Clean Coal Institute (ICCI), and a consortium of international oil and gas companies, laboratory and slipstream tests demonstrated the technology met specific gas separation performance targets for numerous applications, including pre-combustion carbon capture from syngas and post-combustion CO2 capture from flue gas. The post-combustion application is slated to be tested on a slipstream at Midwest Generation Joliet Station in 2013 to remove 0.5 ton/day of CO2.
GTI-developed Morphysorb® acid gas removal physical solvent also holds promise for pre-combustion carbon capture at gasification-based power plants. This technology is licensed to Uhde, a partner with GTI in its development, and it has been commercially deployed for natural gas processing.
GTI is working with EPRI and industrial partners to develop a new sub-dewpoint evaporative cooling tower technology that aims to raise power plant efficiency while simultaneously reducing water demand needed in evaporative cooling towers.
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