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Closed-loop 5-kWe Brayton-cycle microturbine with 38% efficiency: Advanced generator technology designed for inexpensive mass-production

Creare
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,987,193
Location: 
Hanover, NH
Project Term: 
08/13/2019 to 02/12/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
In 2018, residential and commercial buildings consumed 40 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of primary energy used in the U.S. An alternative to centrally produced power is distributed generation, in which electricity is generated at the point of use, saving on long-distance energy distribution. Localized residential and small commercial combined heat and power (CHP) systems can burn a fuel such as natural gas to produce electricity while also using waste heat from the electric generation process for space and water heating. However, thus far, the combination of low efficiency and high installed cost has significantly limited CHP deployment in the U.S. residential sector, resulting in fewer than 1,000 total installed units.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Creare, in partnership with IMBY Energy, is developing a mass-manufacturable, recuperated, closed-loop Brayton-cycle microturbine that will provide 5 kW of electrical power for residential and commercial buildings. The waste heat from the device can be harvested for heating. Technical innovations in the system that are anticipated to enable high efficiency at an attractive cost include a diffusion bonded foil recuperator, a turbomachine with specialized hydrodynamic gas bearings, a binary working fluid mixture and flameless combustion.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, Creare's system would reduce residential primary energy consumption, improve electric grid operation, and stimulate domestic manufacturing.
Security: 
Innovations developed in this project could help households and businesses become more energy self-reliant and less susceptible to energy-related outages through distributed, local generation of electrical power and heat.
Environment: 
Increased power generation efficiency and waste-heat utilization will reduce primary energy consumption and related emissions.
Economy: 
Creare's closed-loop Brayton-cycle microturbine and the combined cooling, heat, and power systems that use them will be manufactured in the Northeast USA, stimulating domestic manufacturing and promoting U.S.-based advanced energy technologies.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. David Tew
Project Contact: 
Mr. Jeffrey Breedlove
Release Date: 
11/15/2018