A turbo expander electric generator working on high-pressure natural gas has been developed by scientists at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU).
A large amount of thermal energy is released into the environment by natural gas being compressed at the power station. Extensive use of this of energy, known as derived, could become a major step towards sustainable energy.
The research focuses on an expansion turbine, triggering significant pressure drop at a low volume flow of natural gas with an electrical power of 1 kW, developed by 3D printing of turbine's plastic parts. Part of the emitted energy is converted into electrical power by the designed turbo expander electric generator, decreasing thermal pollution of the environment. The derived energy, that would previously be wasted, can now be used to produce electricity without any extra fuel.
The implementation of turbo expander electric generator can become no-break power supply of sustainable electricity to not requiring high capacities small villages or plants.
Viktor Rassokhin, Head of "Turbines, Hydraulic Machines and Aviation Engines" department, Institute of Energy and Transport Systems SPbPU
An article titled "A Low Emission Axial-Flow Turbine for the Utilization of Compressible Natural Gas Energy in the Gas Transport System of Russia" published in the International Journal of Environmental and Science Education describes the fundamentals of the research.
The turbo expander electric generator will be installed in one of the suburbs of St. Petersburg in 2017.