Turbec During the 1990s Volvo developed a small automotive gas turbine that was eventually
employed as a static microturbine. A 100 kw gas fired unit features a water-
Micro Turbine Technology (MTT) BV Micro CHP
A Dutch company Micro Turbine Technology (MTT) have developed a unit known as the
Enertwin. A 3.3 Kw microturbine is used as part of a CHP or co-
A very innovative package suitable for large home/small business heating and energy needs. Ideal for part distributed generation, this type of unit could be the future?
The Enertwin appears to consist of an oil lubricated turbocharger type gas turbine with a small high speed alternator built between the compressor and the turbine. A static recuperator is also added and a boiler for water heating.
A Northampton based motor-
Bowman Power Systems Turbogen-
Bowman Power Systems A microturbine manufacturer based in Southampton UK. Back in
the 1990s and 2000s this company produced a number of generator sets using an Elliot
manufactured gas turbine unit and external recuperator. Bowman produced the alternator
and electronics. Systems up to 80Kw may have been produced, Bowman no longer manufacture
MTGs but instead market a turbo-
Capstone Turbine Corporation
Elliot Power Systems
ETC Energy Transfer Corporation
Capstone Clearly the World’s most successful microturbine manufacturer with a three model range and thousands of units (reportedly) sold Worldwide. A truly remarkable piece of innovative engineering. The product is like no other gas turbine engine ever built with a single moving part and large wrap around recuperator. The engine is coupled to sophisticated electronics that manage the flow of energy in and out of the turbine. The C30 30Kw model is able to operate on liquid fuel as well as gaseous fuels. The C30 demonstrates class leading fuel efficiency and emissions standards. A diesel engine without the diesel fumes!
The C30 is primarily designed as a stationary unit but with some limited success
has been achieved when used on-
Bladon Jets (More) On their website Bladon Jets claim to be able to produce a 12Kw
generator set, but no information is given as to when it will be available for sale
and for how much. A number of claims are made regarding its sophistication. But what
happened to the Jaguar blue lights and flash super car the C-
In 2010 Jaguar announced with much hype the proposal to build the turbine car only to withdraw a few years later. Their technical claims at the time were bordering on fraudulent to a very naive motoring press!
Bladon have set up a factory in Coventry to develop the microturbine unit, they have now been at it for some time presumably with much investment from the parent company TATA.
The question is will they succeed in the face of an enormous technical and economic challenge?
Pictured here a disappointingly bulky 12Kw unit, the new MTG appears to have undergone design changes from previous published images, it’s not clear if the product is actually on sale?
Elliott. Elliott power systems have manufactured a number of microturbine units aimed at CHP. Two models have been offered a 80Kw unit and a 250Kw unit. The 80Kw unit may not be in production anymore. It consisted of an oil lubricated single shaft turbine engine driving a high speed alternator. Much of the electronics and alternator have been provided by the UK company Bowman. A large external matrix recuperator was used. A larger unit has also been developed using an industrial KG2 gas turbine retrofitted with a recuperator. Compared to the Capstone a bulky and complex unit that was unlikely to have been very successful.
Ingersoll Rand Ingersoll Rand produced a unit known as the Powerworks Microturbine.
This unit consisted of a two shaft engine layout built from turbo-
Garrett/Honeywell/Allied Signal Parallon 75; With their experience of turbo-
A single shaft recuperated unit producing 2.6Kw at 100,000 rpm. MORE
Although thirsty and noisy could this small turbine be used in a turbine recharged electric vehicle (TREV) as a “get you home measure”?
ETC. Sawyer’s Gas Turbine Catalogue 1976 reports the existence of a small oil-
The Capstone share price performance; In an increasingly energy and emissions conscious World would you expect Capstone to do well? At $1.48 not so, so why not develop a practical microturbine range extender based on all that Capstone development experience? It would surely have the potential for Worldwide sales?
Jakadofsky Portable Gas Turbine Generator
Turbogenset The late Colin Besant of Imperial College London developed a special high speed axial flux alternator. The alternator was suitable for direct connection to a small gas turbine and ran at up to 60,000 rpm. In the 1990s the Turbogenset company was formed to exploit this technology, initially they developed their own simple gas turbine, they later adopted a unit made by the CZ company První brněnská strojírna Velká Bíteš (PBS). PBS produce a series of small gas turbines based on, and developed from, the Microturbo Saphir unit. A 50Kw genset was produced based on the Saphir derived gas turbine driving the alternator at 50,000 rpm. Such a unit was exhibited at the Farnborough air show.
It’s not clear how many gen-
Saurer The Swiss truck and bus company Saurer named after Adolph Saurer and based
in Arbon Switzerland produced a small gas turbine the GT15. The GT15 is technically
This single shaft unit produced just 15HP at 85,000 rpm. A clever design uses the fuel as a lubricant and adopts a revolving atomisation process similar to many Turbomeca designs today. If only it could have been produced in greater numbers and could find a wide spread application. Imagine if it could be used as a 10Kw range extender?
Some lesser known turbine cars -
The Volvo Environmental Concept Car (ECC). Circa 1992 was well ahead of it’s time adopting the turbine recharged battery configuration. One of many problems was the lack of battery capacity so it would have been a mostly turbine energy source vehicle. In 1992 a very futuristic design now familiar as the Volvo V70.
The Volvo gas turbine engine operated at 90,000 rpm and directly drove a turbo alternator to produce electricity for the traction motor. It can be seen that the layout uses a rotating heat exchanger to act as a recuperator and improve thermal efficiency.
The Chrysler Patriot
Chrysler developed a special hybrid sports car in the early 1990s to compete at Le Mans. This featured a two stage gas turbine driving a turbo alternator to provide electricity for a traction motor. The vehicle also adopted a flywheel energy recovery system.
Microturbines a Potted History and Blog
Detailed research and observations of published current and past information on the
internet have indicated the presence of a number of past and current micro gas turbine
(#microturbine) designs. Some of which could be employed in the Turbine Recharged
Electric Vehicle (#TREV) role. Industry journals such as "Sawyers World Gas Turbine
Catalogue" and "Aircraft Engines of the World" also provide a fascinating documented
conduit in to the less recent small gas turbine past. Up to some 50 years ago! It
would appear microturbines have been extensively developed and researched over these
many decades. A number of highly qualified and experienced companies have tried and
apparently failed, given up or found it simply too costly to continue. These companies
include car companies such as Chrysler, Toyota and Volvo, but also energy companies
such as Bowman Power Systems, Turbo Genset Company and the mighty Honeywell. If Honeywell
can't do it who can? And what about turbo-
What may have changed today (in the microturbine's favor) is the energy markets and the emergence of electric vehicles, also development tools such as CFD (Computational fluid dynamics), rapid prototyping and 3D printing were not previously available. The small gas turbine certainly requires all of these as drivers to help the difficult and complex gestation of a viable and economic product.
The electric vehicle market is expanding fast, at least one driver is the advancement of batteries this partly comes from outisde the automotive industry in the form of protable devices. Would batterie technologies and chemistries be so energy dense if it wasn’t for mobile phones, laptops and tablets? The microturbine doesn’t have an outside drivering force?
Apparent development remains slow (greater progress may of course be the case but kept in secret until the right time for a product launch), Capstone have been around since the 1990s and the indicated product portfolio remains relatively conservative. Other companies such as Bladon Jets (established around 2010) and and MTT publish seemly encouraging criteria but will their products really make it to market? And when?
Vehicle battery technologies continue to improve and for stationary applications
in some parts of the World there is fierce competition from Solar energy as the price
per Kw falls. At some $1000/Kw the Capstone price doesn't look too favorable compared
to Solar. So will Bladon Jets fair any better? 12Kw is not a lot of power from a
relatively large installation and it is suggested the application is simply power
for mobile phone infrastructure. Does it make sense to consume fossil fuels when
renewables may be present at the cell sites with relative abundance? What happened
to the super-
Back in 2010 this was released -
Photo Release -
CHATSWORTH, Calif., Feb. 4, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -
No mention of microturbines at velozzi.it today?
There is also the Wright-
Of course companies engaged in automotive microturbine work are not simply in it
for the finished goal, it's the technical journey also. Spin-
So in an atempt to dispel miths and legends, here is a list of what's out there and
what's come and gone and what might be, in the world of the micro-
Volvo Aero Turbines a now defunct subsidiary of Volvo produced a lightweight ground power unit for use with aircraft. Known as the VT5G this unit was developed from the automotive single shaft units that Volvo experimented with in vehicles.
The unit ran at 90,000 rpm and was rated at up to 50Kw producing 400Hz and 28V DC outputs.
The unit measured 850 x 600 x 500mm and weighed some 135kg including fuel tank.
It’s not known if this unit was ever put in to production?
The Hybrid Kinetic (HK Motors China) SUV Concept
A 3D Printed Micro Gas Turbine Mock-
HK Motors a Chinese company produces a range of electric buses and may also have
ambitions to prod cue electric cars. A sophisticated range of SUV type vehicles has
been showcased including a turbine range extender. As usual not much is published
regarding the micro turbine and predictably a Capstone-
Wrightspeed’s own Micro Gas Turbine shown on a test bed.
Wrightspeed have made ambitions claims regarding the development of their own micro gas turbine range extender. For use in trucks a two stage unit with recuperator is proposed to supplement a battery electric drive system developed for heavy duty vehciles. CAD type illustrations show a compact integrated power unit, the prototype reality looks somewhat bulkier! So if and when will such a unit actually power a truck? As with all other microturbine vehicle projects only the Capstone unit has been driven on public roads, despite many optimistic claims.
2017 Latest developments from the Internet-
The Wrightspeed prototype micro gas turbine rotor spool
Mitsubishi Range+ Microturbine Range Extender
A 30Kw unit names Range+ appears to be in development by Mitsubishi Turbocharger and Engine Europe. With components such as recuperator and alternator provided by third party partners this unit looks to be a quite conventional layout. The exact scale of the unit is not clear it could be quite balky, 30Kw is a high output for a range extender perhaps it’s intended for an SUV type vehicle? If will face many production challenges as well as meeting stringent performance targets if it’s to be genuinely viable. It would be great to see one of these many prototypes actually propelling a vehicle!
And to electric aircraft-
A future of electric or hybrid electric aircraft now looks a possibility but many
challenges are ahead including certification and airworthiness issues, pilot qualification
and public air transport issues. At least experimental electric aircraft are set
to fly in the next few years both fixed wing and VTOL. The combination of a jet fuel
The certified aviation world is very conservative most planes and helicopters fly with power plants developed and evolved over decades. Most small private aircraft are powered by piston engines developed in the 1950s and 1960s. These power plants are safe, reliable and very well understood it will take a revolution to change them!