A research consortium consisting of New York State Electric & Gas, Southern Connecticut Natural Gas, Berkshire Gas, and Connecticut Natural Gas, with funding from the Gas Technology Institute, conducted a microturbine field demonstration program at two customer sites in New England. The performance of seven Capstone 30 kw microturbines, installed at two different industrial/commercial sites was monitored comprehensively to determine the operational characteristics of such systems under real life conditions. The first site involved the off-the-grid operation of five units providing all the electricity, hot water, and air-conditioning needs to an industrial facility through an integrated microturbine/hot-water/absorption-chiller system. The second site involved the parallel-to-the-grid operation of two units providing baseline electricity (∼ 60 kw) to an industrial facility through an integrated microturbine/hot-water system. Only at low ambient temperatures and fairly high partial loads that the efficiencies reached 30%, the electric efficiencies of the units exhibiting the anticipated dependence in ambient temperature (higher efficiencies at lower temperatures). The introduction of an inlet-air cooling system in one of the two installations resulted in increases in electric efficiency of the order of 20%. One of the units exhibited noticeable deterioration of performance in over 1 yr of the monitoring effort, while the other unit exhibited problems with its electronic systems. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2004 International Gas Research Conference (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 11/1-4/2004).
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