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MicroTurbine Demonstration Poject


The MicroTurbine has been temporarily shut down. It had been running continuously since April 13th and now has over 2100 hours on it. Normal operation has been fine on all fuels, however, restarting the turbine after extended operation has been the problem. The injectors need to be thoroughly cleaned before the turbine will attempt to start. It then takes 5 to 10 start attempts before the turbine will stay running. It is not readily apparent if this is due to the flame actually going out or to the controls seeing a fuel pressure or pump setting that is out of the normal range and thus cutting the fuel supply. As a better undertanding of the turbine operation and starting process is obtained, it is hoped this issue can be remedied.

Current Electric Output Power is kW


The intake air temperature is

The turbine now has over 2100 hours of run time. The primary project goal was to run 2000 hours on vegetable oil diesel fuel blends. Some emissions tests have been run and more testing will be conducted over the next several weeks. The majority of the hours were run on Diesel Fuel:RBD Soy Oil Blends, typically a blend of 75% diesel fuel and 25% vegetable oil.

Project Description

This project is Phase 4 of a larger 6 phase research program.

  • Phase 1: Fuel Selection

  • Phase 2: Basic Combustion Studies

  • Phase 3: Microturbine Engine Studies

  • The first 3 phases have been completed under an Xcel Energy RDF grant with additional support provided by the Minnesota Soy Growers Research and Promotion Council and AURI. For the results and reports from the Xcel Energy go to U of M Biomass-Derived Oils Project via the Active Projects link.

  • Phase 4: Field Demonstration on Combustion Turbine

  • This is the work that is underway. A 30 kW Capstone Liquid Fueled MicroTurbine was purchased from Unison Solutions through a grant from the Legislative Commision on Minnesota Resources (LCMR). That entity is now known as the Legislative-Citizen on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Additional project funding from the Soy Growers and AURI is supporting the demonstration work. The goal of demonstration project is to run the MicroTurbine on Soy Oil Diesel Fuel blends for up to 2000 hours. Engine performance and exhaust emissions will be monitored over the course of the demonstration. Upon completion of the demonstration, the turbine will be taken apart and looked at for signs of adverse effects due to the fuels.

  • Phase 5: Small Scale (~1 MW) Electric Generation Combustion Turbine Demonstration

  • Phase 6: Full Scale (~25 MW)Electric Generation Combustion Turbine Demonstration

  • Cooperators and Funding for these last two phases are currently being sought.



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      Last modified: 26 May 2009