CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Capstone Turbine Corp. and Japan Steel Works have begun development of a heat-exchange system that will utilize hot exhaust from the Capstone Micro Turbine power system to generate frigid air for commercial freezing and refrigerating uses. The co-developed system will employ Japan Steel Works’ metal hydride absorption technology to achieve supply-air temperatures as low as 14 F. Using exhaust heat from the microturbine in this manner will dramatically increase system efficiency by reducing or eliminating energy costs for refrigeration.

Absorption chilling is not new, but current technologies require much higher input temperatures to generate such low temperature outputs. The metal hydride concept pioneered by Japan Steel Works, combined with Capstone’s microturbine expertise, will enable more effective system solutions.

“Japan Steel Works is world-renowned for their leadership in metals technology, among many other fields,” said Dr. Ake Almgren, Capstone Turbine president and CEO. “We believe that combining their technical expertise with ours will result in a highly effective and environmentally beneficial product.”

Japan Steel Works has been a leader in the development of metal hydrides-hydrogen absorbing alloys-and their application systems, to create refrigeration systems without the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Such chemical compounds are considered damaging to the ozone layer that protects the Earth from solar radiation.

A prototype system using this technology has already been constructed and tested in Japan. Pre-commercial testing will continue for the remainder of the year. Assuming all goes as planned, a production product should be on the market late next year.