New System Will Turn Unused Energy into Electricity

With the world’s supply of fossil fuels running low and efforts to halt global warming needed, renewable energy sources have become a clear focus for both suppliers and consumers.

For the past year a UK-based engineering team at Corac Energy Technologies has been developing a new renewable energy system, which recovers the unused energy from pressurised industrial gases and uses it to generate electricity. This new system is already successfully demonstrating reliability, performance and endurance.

How it works:

Within the micro-turbine generation system is an expander generator, which is based on gas bearings and permanent magnet motor technologies.

High pressure gas passes through the compact and high-efficiency turbine, which spins at around 60,000rpm, producing 50kW of electricity.

A key discovery came when the team replaced the pressure-reducing valves, which control the pressurised gases, with expander generators, allowing the unused energy to be recovered and turned into useful, valuable power.

Pressurised gases are used for many reasons in industrial, oil refining, petrochemical and pharmaceutical plants, as well as hotels, hospitals and other public buildings. With the ability to fit into many industrial settings, this small test system is able to generate around £40,000 of electricity per year.

Philip Nichol, CET’s chief engineer on the project, has said it could be the beginning of a wider range of commercial systems that can recover a greater amount of unused energy, with the potential to generate significant returns for industrial plants across the globe.