Microturbines are small, commercially available combustion turbines with outputs that range from 30 kilowatts to 300 kilowatts. Their turbo-generator technology evolved from automotive and truck turbo-chargers and auxiliary power units for airplanes and small jet engines. In many cases, microturbines have only one moving part, are air-cooled and fueled by natural gas or may be fueled by biofuels. These small and compact units can also be packaged in sets to serve larger loads. They are ideal for commercial and small industrial customers and provide a reliable source of electricity and heat. The waste heat produced by microturbines can be used to provide hot water or air, while improving power quality and reliability. For example, microturbines have been used at landfills and wastewater facilities, where they are powered from waste gas to generate electricity. A demonstration of this application is being conducted by PNGC Power and BPA at the Coffin Butter Resource Project in Oregon.

"Microturbines are a new type of combustion turbine being used for stationary energy generation applications. They are small combustion turbines, approximately the size of a refrigerator, with outputs of 25 kW to 500 kW, and can be located on sites with space limitations for power production. Microturbines are composed of a compressor, combustor, turbine, alternator, recuperator, and generator. Waste heat recovery can be used in combined heat and power systems to achieve energy efficiency levels greater than 80 percent. In addition to power generation, microturbines offer an efficient and clean solution to direct mechanical drive markets such as compression and air conditioning." Microturbine Microsite of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Div.; Dept. of Energy.

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