Why go Micro?

Why go Micro?

Postby j79guy on Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:01 pm

Let's stir the pot a bit. To me, micro turbines seem like the answer to a question no one is asking. Who wants a small gen set, that the average shade tree mechanic cannot work on, or trouble shoot, costs more that an equivalent output recip, and isn't as efficient as the recip either? Ok, I've seen all the outrageous claims of 40% efficieny, but simple cycle? It just isn't going to happen. Put a few run hours under the belt of a micro, and I'll wager that they can't make 30%. "Maintenance free" "Air Bearings", ect, ect. You still have to maintain something. Ok, maybe you don't have to replace the engine bearings often, but so what?
Power density, the main calling card for aeroderivitive turbines, is questionable here. At these lower kW ratings, the electrical generator usually is the bulk of the weight and size anyways, it doesn't matter what the prime mover is. If it's 40 kWe, there really isn't going to be a whole lot of difference between a recip and a micro, size/weight-wise.

Every five years or so, micro turbines get "rediscovered". Somebody gets a bit of media attention, a couple politicians are buffalo'ed and a few investor dollars trickle in. For me, I remain sceptic, ever if turbines are my "thing".
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