Real-time data available on microturbine performance testing

Users evaluating microturbine generators and systems now have real-time Internet access to real-world-simulated test stand data.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) is providing its client manufacturers, customers, and utilities access to operating microturbine generators through a standard web browser at www.cera.com.

“This unique installation will help users fully assess the new microturbine technology and its future role in distributed generation installations,” said Steven Taub, director, Distributed Energy at CERA. “Sitting at their desks, our clients can see detailed views of the test site and equipment and download and analyze real-time and historical data.” Through the web site, CERA clients can create customized reports that:

௿½ Analyze electricity production, efficiency, heat production and fuel quality

௿½ Compare operating results to manufacturers’ specifications

௿½ Track the effects of temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure on performance

௿½ Evaluate power quality delivered from the individual microturbine generators.

CERA contracted with Connected Energy Corp. to bring this test stand online using its Central Operating Management System (COMSYS) – a product that turns generators, air compressors, chillers, boilers, and other equipment into web sites. In addition to the capabilities available through the CERA web site, COMSYS uses secure web communications to enable remote control over equipment in the field and asset management and maintenance features including work order submission and tracking, work history, parts lists, and machine component diagrams.

“The ability to remotely monitor and manage distributed energy systems will be a critical enabler of market acceptance, and this is a prototype of how it could be done,” said Christopher Campbell, Connected Energy Corp. president and CEO. “Most distributed energy users will rely on service providers and manufacturers to maintain, service, operate, and even own the equipment. Connected Energy provides a cost-effective way for these service providers to monitor, troubleshoot, service, and even control remote equipment – all securely through a standard web browser.”

The microturbine test stand used for CERA’s assessments is located on the University of California campus in Irvine, and is administered by Southern California Edison. Three microturbine generators – two from California-based Capstone Turbine Corp. and one from Bowman Power Systems in the UK – are currently operating at the site and another is expected to be on line by the end of the year.

According to Stephanie Hamilton, distributed generation manager for Southern California Edison, “We’ve been running independent tests on 12 microturbine generators under real-world conditions since 1996, some of which are complete. This web-based platform allows us to continue our leadership role in demonstrating cutting-edge distributed generation technology.”

“We are pleased to be the host to this innovative research and demonstration effort,” said Professor Scott Samuelsen, director of the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine. “Information technology is a key to the market success of distributed generation, and Connected Energy is providing a substantial contribution through this demonstration with CERA.”

Distributed generation is the concept of placing electricity generators at or near the point of consumption. Microturbines are miniature jet engine generators that are suited to these on-site installations. CERA’s Distributed Energy Service provides an objective look at the strategic implications of distributed generation for the industry and the real opportunities it creates for profits and growth.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) offers comprehensive, in-depth research and thought leadership on energy markets, industry dynamics, technology, economics, politics, and investment strategy. CERA is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Calgary, Houston, Mexico City, Moscow, Oakland, Oslo, Paris, Sao Paolo, Seoul and Washington, D.C.

Connected Energy Corp. provides solutions to manage distributed utilities, including onsite power generation and cogeneration, as well as enabling a remote management system for other “utilities” including compressed air, steam and chilled water. Its customers manage, own, rent, service, or operate energy assets – and include energy service providers, original equipment manufacturers, rental companies, and distributors.

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