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Microturbines turn steam pressure reduction into electricity to cut utility costs

11 June 2014

Spirax Sarco has launched a range of pressure-reducing microturbines that generate electricity to reduce utility costs for steam system operators. Suitable for saturated or superheated steam, Spirax Sarco TR Steam MicroTurbines are available in two sizes, up to 700 kW. Higher electricity outputs are available on request.

A microturbine producing 300 kW of electrical power can generate cost savings of more than £150,000 per year. The greater the steam demand, the more electricity the turbine will generate and the faster the payback.

Generally, higher pressure steam distributed from a boiler is conventionally lowered by a pressure reducing station, to match the needs of the heating or process application. With a Spirax Sarco TR Steam MicroTurbine, the steam is reduced to the required pressure as it travels through the turbine, with the energy released by the pressure drop being used to generate electricity.

Industries with potential for using the microturbines include food and drink, chemical processing, pharmaceutical and any facility with a pressure reduction requirement. The electricity produced can be used locally or exported and sold to the mains power grid.

The compact design of TR MicroTurbines enables them to be fitted into many existing steam systems and they are supplied fully assembled and tested to minimise on-site disruption. Each installation is supported by a full set of Spirax Sarco expert services starting with an analysis of the site and calculations of the projected savings.

As well as saving energy, microturbines help to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint.

A microturbine system will often be installed in parallel with a conventional pressure reducing station. The unit is usually sized for a baseload (for example, in the summer), so a pressure reducing station will still be needed to cope with peak loads or seasonal demands. This arrangement also allows the microturbine to be taken off line for maintenance without disrupting productivity.

Spirax Sarco TR Steam MicroTurbines can operate at up to 89 bar g and 550°C.

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