Russian researchers developed high-pressure natural gas operating turbine-generator

This is a 3-D model of turbo expander electric generator operating on high-pressure natural gas. Credit: Press photo

Scientists of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) developed turbo expander electric generator operating on high-pressure natural gas. Natural gas being compressed at the power station releases a large amount of thermal energy into the environment.

Widespread usage of this type of energy, called derived, may become a huge step towards sustainable energy.

The focus of the research is an expansion turbine, triggering significant pressure drop at a low volume flow of natural gas with an electrical power of 1 kW, manufactured by 3D printing of turbine's plastic parts.

Designed turbo expander electric generator converts part of the emitted energy into electrical power, thus reducing thermal pollution of the environment. Additionally, the derived energy, that previously would be wasted, can be used to generate electricity without any additional 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”, says Viktor Rassokhin, Head of “Turbines, Hydraulic Machines and Aviation Engines” department, Institute of Energy and Transport Systems SPbPU.

The fundamentals of the research have been described in an article “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.

The turbo expander electric generator is to be installed in 2017 in one of the suburbs of St. Petersburg.

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Raisa Bestugina
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