Tag Archives: micro-turbine

Energy efficiency can also lead to lower tax bills

Dollar huisjeThe making of energy efficient improvements or installing alternative energy equipment is now made more attractive as U.S. home-owners (and businesses) can be eligible for bigger tax credits. By replacing old doors and windows, installing insulation, re-modeling and building with an eye toward energy efficiency, you don’t only save money over the long run but it may also result in savings in tax. The same goes with venturing into renewable energy sources, like solar energy, micro-turbines and purchasing a hybrid automobile. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extends, expands, and simplifies federal income tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficient home improvements. The law extends consumer tax benefits through 2010; triples the total available tax credit from $500 to $1,500, and increases the tax credit to 30% of the cost of each qualified energy efficiency improvement.

Automobiles

If you were to buy or lease a new hybrid gas-electric or diesel automobile (truck, car or SUV) the tax credit amount could range from $250 to $3,400 depending on the fuel economy and the weight. Some heavy hybrid vehicles, for commercial purposes, are also eligible for tax credits. The tax credit is for vehicles ‘placed in service’ after December 31, 2006 and purchased on or before December 31, 2010. The vehicle tax credit is phased out for each manufacturer once that company has sold 60,000 eligible vehicles. At that point, the tax credit for that company’s vehicles will be gradually reduced over the course of another year. More information, including the list of eligible vehicles, can be found at:
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/article/0,,id=203122,00.html

Home energy- efficiency improvements
Consumers who purchase and install specific products in existing homes can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements placed in service starting January 1st, 2009, through to December 31st, 2010. Think of exterior windows, insulation, exterior doors or roofs, central air conditioning, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and bio gas stoves. The improvements must be expected to last at least five years and must be installed in or on the tax payer’s principal residence in the United States. Manufacturers can certify (in packaging or on the company’s web site) which of their products qualify for the tax credit. Retailers, contractors, and manufacturers should be able to help you determine what levels of insulation and what other products qualify.

Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Wind Energy and Fuel Cells
Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and micro turbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31st, 2016.  The cap on geothermal heat pump and solar heaters through 2016 has been removed so that there is no longer a maximum.

For the eligible systems and further information on renewable tax credits, visit:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits#c6

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The case for steam

Say: “Micro turbine” and people think of jet engines. And how small is micro anyhow? The smallest micro turbines (gas turbines that is) are still at least 30 kW: enough for a good sized apartment building.  http://www.capstoneturbine.com/
Making smaller gas turbines is hard to do, engineers face extreme stresses and temperatures in rotors and bearings. The laws of fluid dynamics can not always be scaled down easily.
So, a real micro turbine in the range of 1-5kW having a long working life, a good efficiency and burning all types of fuel is still a promise.
But if we want a decentralized power system, where every household can make its own power, that is exactly what we need.

More than a century ago, Mr. De Laval, a genial Swedish engineer, invented a small steam turbine. To be more precise: he invented THE steam turbine (although Mr. Parsons deserves some credit here too)
For some mysterious reasons, soon afterwards all research efforts were focused on developing large and even huge steam turbines. Mainly because very big steam engines of the reciprocating type were hard to manufacture and unsuited for driving generators. Because now we had a second industrial revolution at hand: electricity!

What happened in the past century was that enormous amounts of money and effort were spent on the development of gas engines (the automobile industry), gas turbines (jet engines, the aircraft industry) and very little in developing steam turbines. There are a handful of manufacturers of steam turbines in this world. They all build large and very large machines. A company like Elliott promotes small steam turbines: from 500kW upwards!

If I am not mistaken, this state of affairs is likely to end. After 5 years of research a company called “Green Turbine” has developed a micro steam turbine in the range of 1-15 kW. Their 1 kW and 2,5 kW versions are working prototypes and will be rigorously tested.  www.microturbine.eu


The Green Turbine is not only a turbine, but a compact, completely sealed turbo generator. The turbine runs with 30.000 rpm and on account of this high speed is very compact and only 7 kg in weight.
The novel design (patented) and modern materials like plastics gives Green Turbines excellent specifications. The efficiency seems to be as good as steam turbines of a much higher output.
The design is aimed at low production costs. Compared with gas turbines the Green Turbine is almost silent.
A very important feature is the low temperature requirement of the steam; 200 C is enough. So waste heat is an obvious source of energy.

The field of application requires some “out of the box” thinking.

Where do we find a lot of waste heat: cars! Power a Green Turbine with the waste heat of a (hybrid) car and savings of 20% in fuel are easy to get.
How about yachts and small ships?

Micro CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is another obvious application. Better than a heavy Stirling engine or gas engine.

Solar energy? Yes, capture the heat, make steam and your turbine will run. Use the low temperature heat of the turbine to heat your house or swimming pool .

And, yes, also the waste heat of a fuel cell or micro gas turbine can drive Green Turbine.
We closed the circle!