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Reno, NV, United States, 2012/07/17 - UAF Alaska Center for Energy & Power estimates that one Green Machine can generate more than 413,000 kWh/year with 24/7 daily operation - ElectraTherm.com.
ElectraTherm’s Green Machine, generating fuel-free, emission free power from waste heat, completed its demonstration at University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) totaling more than 1,100 hours of runtime. The Green Machine was demonstrated at the University’s main power plant on campus. The technology is targeted for rural Alaskan communities to reduce diesel fuel consumption and lower energy costs.
The Green Machine, using Organic Rankine Cycle and proprietary technologies, captures excess heat from low temperature (190-240°F/88-116°C), distributed heat sources, such as stationary engine jacket water and/or exhaust, biomass boilers and geothermal resources, to generate 30-65kWe of emission-free electricity. Heat from the diesel generators that are used extensively in local power plants across Alaska’s rural communities can be captured and utilized by the Green Machine to increase energy output.
UAF Alaska Center for Energy & Power estimates that one Green Machine can generate more than 413,000 kWh/year with 24/7 daily operation. This displaces approximately 28,000 gallons of diesel annually (including consideration for routine maintenance downtime), and with fuel costs currently exceeding $5/gallon throughout rural Alaska, equates to an annual savings in excess of $140,000 per gen set.
Chuen-Sen Lin, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UAF, served as the lead researcher on the project. Professor Lin affirmed the Green Machine’s reliability, simple design and ease of maintenance as an ideal formula for rural Alaskan villages.
“Based on the reliability testing following 1,100 hours of run time for full rated output, we were very satisfied with the unit’s operation and performance,” said Lin. “At the rated output (50kW from expander or 46.4kW of the net Green Machine output), and depending on the cost of fuel, the estimated payback period for offsetting the diesel engines is approximately 1.5 – 2 years.”
Lin said the Alaskan landscape poses unique challenges that Green Machines can address. For example, ambient temperatures fluctuate significantly, especially in the cold regions with temperatures reaching -40°F/C in the winter or greater than 70°F/21°C in the summer. The cooling system required could vary significantly depending on site conditions and location. The Green Machine is designed for either air cooled or water cooled condensing solutions.
Another challenge for Alaska’s isolated, small villages includes shipping delays for uncommon parts or specialized maintenance. The Green Machine contains mostly off-the-shelf components easily obtainable, and maintenance is minimal, with remote monitoring and controls available 24/7.
Following the completion of this successful demonstration, UAF and its partners will install the Green Machine at a rural diesel power plant to increase efficiency and lower operating costs.
The Denali Commission, Alaska Energy Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation funded the Green Machine project, which is part of a jointly sponsored rural energy program between UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power and the Tanama Chiefs Conference.