Illinois-based energy technology developer Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has been awarded two contracts worth $3.5m to develop new combined heat and power and waste recovery technologies at industrial facilities in California, US.

GTI has received a grant of $1.8m in PIER (Public Interest Energy Research) natural gas funding from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop and demonstrate a fuel-flexible hybrid-generation CHP system that can use natural gas and biogas produced by anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

The system will be designed to produce reliable and efficient thermal and electric energy for on-site use, while also enabling cost-effective compliance with California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2007 emission standards for distributed generation.

According to the agency’s 2005 Energy Action Plan, the use of renewable power sources and distributed generation such as CHP systems is a top CEC priority. However, many wastewater treatment plants and landfills that currently operate on biogas face significant capital costs if they are to comply with the very low emission level requirements.

GTI and its partners will develop an advanced, fuel-flexible hybrid combined heat and power system that integrates a partial oxidation gas turbine with a reciprocating internal combustion engine for improved overall system performance, reduced cost per kWe, and emissions that meet the CARB 2007 emission standards.

The novel system will be demonstrated at the San Bernardino Water Reclamation Plant to assess its technical and economic viability.

“What we hope to accomplish with our project is to enable technically viable and cost-competitive integration of renewable resources for hybrid cycle applications,” says John Pratapas, senior engineer, GTI, who will lead the project. “Performance targets of the technology we develop include improving efficiency and reducing the cost of a fuel-flexible, near-term commercial CHP system powered by a novel gas turbine staged with a reciprocating engine in a hybrid generation system.”

The City of San Bernardino and other GTI partners including Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) will provide $887,000 in matching funds to support the project. The targeted completion date for the demonstration is March 2015.

GTI also received a $1.73m grant to demonstrate an innovative technology that converts waste heat in high-temperature (above 900ºF) exhaust gases into electricity on an average-sized industrial furnace. The new technology would fill the gap in the market for a cost-effective heat recovery system that effectively converts waste heat in high-temperature exhaust gases into electricity by generating heated water that drives an Organic Rankin Cycle Engine (ORCE) generator.

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