Great Falls, VA, USA 247Solar Inc., a spinoff of MIT, along with microturbine supplier Capstone Turbine Corporation, today announced the successful test of a revolutionary commercial turbine that can generate electricity using hot air at atmospheric-pressure, without combustion.
This breakthrough is made possible by an ultra-high temperature heat exchanger with technology that has its origins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 247Solar Heat Exchanger™ uses a proprietary nickel-chromium-aluminum-iron alloy engineered for sustained operation at very high temperatures. For its size, the heat exchanger is the most compact and materials-efficient in the world. Its first application is the best-selling and most reliable small turbine in the world, the C200 microturbine from Capstone Turbine Corporation.
This turbine is the heart of the first operational 247Solar Plant™, being built in California. The Plant includes a system that concentrates sunlight to heat air to a high-enough temperature that is then used to drive the turbine to produce electricity. The microturbine in combination with 247Solar’s technology offers one of the world’s most versatile, reliable, zero-carbon power generation solutions.
The system also includes the 247Solar Thermal Storage System™, which stores the solar heat not used during the day at a fraction of the cost of batteries. The stored heat powers the turbine up to 20 hours at night and on cloudy days, reducing fuel consumption up to 90% — far more than PV and batteries.
To guarantee electricity 24/7, even when there is no solar-heated air available, the turbine includes an optional combustor. The combustor is external to the turbine and can be engineered to burn most liquid and gaseous fuels, including alternative fuels like hydrogen, biogas, butane, renewable natural gas and concentrated solar energy.
“This turbine is the key component that enables us to produce round-the-clock clean power from our hot-air based 247Solar Plants,” says Bruce Anderson, 247Solar’s CEO and solar industry pioneer. “We are delighted to be using a state-of-the-art turbine from Capstone in our first system,” Anderson added.
"Capstone is excited to be working with such innovative companies like 247Solar as the need to shift to greener energy solutions has never been more evident than it is today. In fact, there is a strong argument to be made for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Europe, as they are already moving ahead in this direction," said Darren Jamison, President and Chief Executive Officer of Capstone Turbine.
“Whether it’s working with 247Solar to develop a solar-powered microturbine or Argonne National Labs to develop a hydrogen powered microturbine, Capstone believes partnering with smart innovative companies is the fastest way to bring new green energy solutions to market as customers are increasingly requesting ultra-low emission or zero carbon solutions on an ever increasing basis," added Mr. Jamison.
Engineering development partners include Brayton Energy (Hampton, NH), specialists in high efficiency turbomachinery and gas turbine design, and URSA Energy Solutions (Laguna Niguel, CA).
About 247Solar Plants™
247Solar Plants are a turnkey solution for producing baseload, clean electricity around the clock They eliminate most disadvantages of conventional CSP, PV, wind, and traditional power technologies with a hot-air-driven Brayton Cycle system that operates at atmospheric pressure and requires no steam, molten salts, or heat transfer oils.
Unlike large, custom-engineered, first-generation CSP projects, 247Solar Plants are standardized systems, each of 400 kW capacity. They are scalable from a single Plant for off-grid microgrids to utility-scale farms of virtually unlimited capacity. 247Solar Plants use factory-made components, many of which can be manufactured locally, with few moving parts, for low maintenance and rapid, low-cost plug and play deployment.
The 247Solar Thermal Storage System™ stores up to 20 hours of the sun’s energy as heat instead of electricity, using small ceramic pellets instead of molten salts for reduced cost and complexity. To guarantee electricity on demand, the Plant’s turbines can also burn most liquid and gaseous fuels, including biofuels.
247Solar Plants offer outstanding grid reliability and resilience with no requirement for emergency backup. They provide battery-like response to grid voltage and demand fluctuations, mitigating intermittency from other renewables.
The technology has its origins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with development funding from the US Department of Energy and development assistance from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), WorleyParsons, Fraunhofer Institute, and Saint Gobain.
About 247Solar, Inc.
247Solar, Inc. was formed in 2015 by solar industry pioneer Bruce Anderson to commercialize the 247Solar Plant™, invented by a spinoff of MIT. The company has signed agreements to deploy its technology with power project developers throughout the world. For more information see www.247Solar.com
See also a system video here
About Capstone Turbines
Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.capstoneturbine.com) (NASDAQ:CPST) is the world's leading producer of highly efficient, low-emission, resilient microturbine energy systems. Capstone microturbines serve multiple vertical markets worldwide, including natural resources, energy efficiency, renewable energy, critical power supply, transportation and microgrids. Capstone offers a comprehensive product lineup, via our direct sales team, as well as our global distribution network. Capstone provides scalable solutions from 30 kWs to 10 MWs that operate on a variety of fuels and are the ideal solution for today's multi-technology distributed power generation projects.For customers with limited capital or short-term needs, Capstone offers rental systems; for more information, contact: email@example.com. To date, Capstone has shipped nearly 10,000 units to 83 countries and in FY20, saved customers an estimated $219 million in annual energy costs and 368,000 tons of carbon. For more information about the company, please visit www.capstoneturbine.com. Follow Capstone Turbine on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.