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Old 06-27-2013, 10:56 PM   #1
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Turbine powered generator

This video was sent to me by an old friend. I have not heard of this application in a boat before. The Clapp Famliy introduces turbine powered hydropalnes a long time ago and the cruiser "Nothing More" is still around with main propulsion provided by a Boeing Helicopter engine (a turbine)

Capstone Turbine Corporation | In The News - Video Gallery
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Old 06-28-2013, 12:00 AM   #2
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I think this is very interesting. I assume it would run on standard diesel? I'm wondering if there might be main propulsion applications. A turbine generator powering an AC synchronous motor. Wondering about the efficiency (power conversion losses) and fuel economy. I'm sure it's been thought of before and perhaps discounted but... really neat.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:05 AM   #3
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If you think windmills are loud in a quiet anchorage , this may be a real shock!
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
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Yes, they are shockingly quiet!
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:23 PM   #5
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I did not click on the link. Generally gas turbine engines are selected because of their power to weight ratio. They are generally not the most efficient.
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:55 PM   #6
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They say these new micro-turbines are very efficient. I contacted two companies and will soon know.
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:06 PM   #7
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If used only for power generation they are more efficient than a gasoline powered generator and no more efficient than a diesel powered generator, but, they can be more efficient than a diesel if constantly operated at high loading.

If you use the exhaust heat for some other purpose such as refrigeration or evaporating water, or general heating purposes, they can be twice as efficient as a diesel generator.

Small units are generally less efficient than large units. A turbine can run far longer than a diesel before maintenance is required but is not happy with many starts. They are not a great idea for the weekend user.
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Old 07-02-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
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Good to know, thanks Rick.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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If used only for power generation they are more efficient than a gasoline powered generator and no more efficient than a diesel powered generator, but, they can be more efficient than a diesel if constantly operated at high loading.

That's universal,better loading is more efficient.

The work on a big battery in a boat is mostly to be able to absorb the power generated by a lightly loaded engine. Not much success so far, even with multi thousands spent on fancy batts.

If you use the exhaust heat for some other purpose such as refrigeration or evaporating water, or general heating purposes, they can be twice as efficient as a diesel generator.

A good reason to use excess coolant heat to warm the boats HW.

Not much else is OTS for co generation.Not even de salinization for small cruisers.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:58 AM   #10
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If used only for power generation they are more efficient than a gasoline powered generator and no more efficient than a diesel powered generator, but, they can be more efficient than a diesel if constantly operated at high loading.

If you use the exhaust heat for some other purpose such as refrigeration or evaporating water, or general heating purposes, they can be twice as efficient as a diesel generator.

Small units are generally less efficient than large units. A turbine can run far longer than a diesel before maintenance is required but is not happy with many starts. They are not a great idea for the weekend user.

What rick said is dead on right.

Micro turbine technology has come a long way, and was just a few years ago eyed as a possible replacement for large power plants by some. The challenge is that micro turbine efficiency only comes with the use of waste heat, and high power loading factors, something home or boat loads generally do not provide.

Reciprocating prime movers in small generator installations are a proven technology. They provide long service lives at 1800 RPM, and much longer is lifespans are realized with a 6 pole generator end at 1200 RPM. Mean Time Between Overhauls on small quality prime movers is generally in the 20-30K hour range for prime power applications, and can be doubled at 1200 RPM.

Waste heat can also be utilized on a reciprocating engine, increasing system efficiency. We are all familiar with using a "red dot" or "heatercraft" heat exchanger off of our boats main propulsion engine. The same concept can and is used with generator installations.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
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The engineering company I work for looked into being the Canadian rep for Capstone micro-turbines years ago. I wish it happened. Micro turbines will likely be more common in our daily lives in the future.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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Same or better result, and better suited for our purposes is the Whispergen.....can be run 24-7, uses very little fuel, low output so almost similar to having a large solar panel charging the batteries.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:00 PM   #13
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The engineering company I work for looked into being the Canadian rep for Capstone micro-turbines years ago. I wish it happened. Micro turbines will likely be more common in our daily lives in the future.
After doing the research for an article on alternative power sources for large yachts a few years ago, I bought Capstone stock. I believe they are on the right track.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
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Same or better result, and better suited for our purposes is the Whispergen...
Do you mean the little Stirling powered version? It looks intriguing and probaby has a good future but I am not sure it has been in the oven long enough. It's probably a shame because the problems with the things and lack of service support have kept sales so low that development doesn't look too promising.

Not every good idea finds enough of a market to survive.

If you mean that Panda thing I won't even dignify that with one of my scathing comments.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:21 PM   #15
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Not the Panda.

The Whispergen concept is almost perfect for liveaboards - can run indefinitely, almost silent, low fuel consumption, very little maintenance and then co-gen...but apparently the factory in NZ was struck by the earthquake and the rumour is that they are out of business - still a great concept and a great product. Maybe someone else can pick up the rights...
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:07 PM   #16
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There are allot of competing technologies that are in development for micro power generation. The market potential for a successful technology is huge.

Just think, if you could have a unit outside your home that was quiet, dependable, and less expensive to operate than your electric company would you buy it?

The problem is we are not quite there yet. Right now, today these technologies are not cost justifiable. Solar is getting close. Wind is almost there as well, and in some cases is cost justifiable.

Maybe 10 years, maybe 20 years, but the days of large centralized power generation are nearly over.

Some of this technology will be applicable to pleasure boat use, and some will not. Its certainly not the pleasure boat industry driving the research, not enough potential sales there. The challenge for boaters is that allot of this technology is going to be based on natural gas as a fuel. Right now we have excess supply of natural gas in the USA (cant speak for other countries). That fairly inexpensive BTU source is what will drive the fossil fuel based technologies cost basis, which will drive their acceptability and market penetration.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:24 PM   #17
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I actually think we are there with the Whispergen.......it is a near perfect match for a liveabord. Sorry for the thread drift
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:25 PM   #18
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Sorry for the thread drift - btw.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #19
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Sorry for the thread drift - btw.
Me too, this is a subject I am very passionate about
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:44 PM   #20
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no objections, except to say that there are other options out there that might match other cruisers requirements.......so don't be silent.
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