Derived through advanced engineering based on proven turbine design, micro turbines represent a watershed energy management solution. Transforming the way businesses think about energy production, Capstone solutions reduce energy costs, ensure power availability, and help preserve the environment with its near-zero emissions profile.
Capstone micro turbines are clean-and-green power generation systems that can play a role in keeping on-site power both reliable and affordable. Capstone was the first to market with its patented high-efficiency air-bearing technology, which doesn’t require any oil or lubricants to operate. Capstone micro turbines can run on a wide variety of fuels, allowing businesses to save on their energy costs and maintain flexibility in a changing power landscape. Micro turbines can serve as in-house electrical and thermal power plants for businesses as diverse as hospitals, hotels, office buildings, data centres, manufacturing facilities, universities, wastewater treatment plants, landfills and oil and gas operations.
How can technologies such as micro turbines enable consumers and businesses to decrease their environmental impact while also saving money?
Capstone micro turbines are small-scale power generation systems that can generate both electrical and thermal energy for industrial and commercial customers. They offer a total system efficiency of up to 80 percent in combined heat and power (CHP) applications and up to 90 percent in combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) applications. They also produce about one-tenth the emissions of reciprocating engines, NOx Emissions @ 15% O2 < 4 ppmvd (8 mg/m3). Micro turbines are an integrated power generation solution that can be used as backup power but are designed to serve as a prime source for everyday power generation year-round. Because Capstone micro turbines only have one moving part, we can guarantee the lifecycle cost of the product along with minimal maintenance. For these reasons, micro turbines are a smart choice for power generation from both an economic and environmental perspective.
Why is fuel flexibility critical as we continue to use non-renewable resources?
Capstone micro turbines can run on many types of fuels including natural gas, propane, diesel, methane, butane, kerosene and associated gas—almost anything with a KW content that burns. In an age of diminishing natural resources, the kind of fuel flexibility presented by micro turbines is critical because many different kinds of businesses, in order to maintain and grow their bottom line, must be able to generate power in the most efficient and financially prudent manner. Many companies don’t realize that they can generate their own power on-site and in a cleaner and more cost-effective way. Some companies assume that when they move into a building or facility they must purchase power from the local utility. The reality is that Capstone micro turbines can often generate power at a significantly cheaper price per kWh than what businesses pay their utility.
Is adapting to one type of renewable energy an important step toward improving the environment and encouraging the population to decrease its carbon footprint?
Companies are often unaware of the benefits of utilizing a renewable fuel source for on-site power generation. Helping these companies to realize what renewable energy options are available is a vital step in educating the populace about reducing carbon emissions and improving their surrounding community. One of the interesting benefits of Capstone micro turbines is that they offer a cutting-edge solution that can be integrated into a wide range of industry sectors and in a wide range of applications, essentially turning “green waste” products into usable electricity. Because our technology can convert this waste into usable fuel, Capstone is able to deliver a cutting-edge product for distributed generation. The question is no longer, “How are we going to dispose of this waste?” but rather, “How much power can we generate?”
What are some of the best applications for micro turbines? How much power can they provide?
Capstone offers a comprehensive line-up of clean-and-green micro turbines that are scalable from 30kW to 30MW. As we operate in six different market verticals, micro turbines are proven to be ideal in several types of applications. For example, micro turbines can be used in all phases of oil production including upstream, midstream and downstream operations in both onshore and offshore applications. They can be utilized as a critical power supply or uninterruptible power source, delivering reliability and performance when needed most. By incorporating an anaerobic digester, Capstone micro turbines are able to cleanly and effectively run on methane gas from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, food processing facilities and farms. Capstone micro turbines can be easily integrated with a heat recovery module to capture the energy produced from the clean exhaust to meet thermal needs in various commercial and industrial applications. Additionally, Capstone micro turbines can be used in hybrid electric vehicle applications to serve as a range extender or in marine applications, including luxury yachts and workboat vessels, to provide on-board auxiliary power.
What is a typical payback / cost for a micro turbine installation?
While we aim for a three- to five-year payback period, there is no “typical” payback or cost for any one Capstone micro turbine installation due to the many factors that go into each project. Based on the individual power load, every company is given a recommended power plant configuration based on the surrounding climate, fuels available, existing infrastructure, etc. A few site examples include:
•A Dairy installed a Capstone CR30 micro turbine capable of converting manure from 1,000 of its cows into 30kW of clean, green electricity. In addition, heat from the process is reused to heat the farm’s 65m2 concrete liquid/solid separator building.
•A remote Oil Field uses 15 Capstone 65kW standalone micro turbines. Fuelled by propane, the micro turbines are providing primary power for three 150kW pumps capable of pumping 55,500 barrels of oil per day.
•A Resort complex utilizes three 65 kW Capstone micro turbines with integrated heat recovery for hot water production. The system provides heat to the building and swimming pool, and utilizes an absorption chiller for cooling in the summer. The onsite power system is also able to operate independently of the utility grid to provide backup power for the resort in case of a power outage.
How can converting free fuels from landfills, wastewater treatment facilities and food processing facilities create clean and reliable electricity?
For landfills, Capstone micro turbines can turn decomposing trash into methane gas to generate electricity to be used onsite or sold to the utility. Our micro turbines are extremely flexible to variations in methane content and the landfill can avoid needlessly flaring the gas and contributing to global warming. For wastewater treatment facilities, Capstone micro turbines can operate on low-BTU methane gas and other waste gas fuels created from the treatment of domestic wastewater (for example, methane produced by anaerobic digesters that break down waste into biogas). Capstone micro turbines can also operate on methane generated from livestock manure, agricultural waste or palm oil effluent. The micro turbine system can generate stable electricity while reducing energy costs and lowering carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, exhaust heat can be recovered and used on-site in several ways, e.g. to maintain digester temperatures, provide industrial process heat or sterilization, provide hot water or space heating to buildings. Another example is for food processing facilities, such as dairies, manure from cows can be converted into clean-and-green electricity once the manure has been processed and methane gas extracted.
The unreliable nature of some alternative energy sources has led to slow adoption. Is there a way to change this?
As more companies across varying industries start turning to alternative energy technologies to save on their energy costs, they will come to appreciate Capstone’s value proposition—as well as the overall reliability and efficiency of our products. It is then that these businesses will become more enthusiastic about adoption and seek to implement alternative energy sources, like micro turbines, at their own facilities.