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IPG to demo Flameless Ceramic Turbine for clean, off-grid power in EV charging

Intelligent Power Generation (IPG) will demonstrate the impact of Flameless Ceramic Turbine technology in UK electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, following a £1-million contract from Highways England. IPG secured the £1 million as part of the Highways England (HE) and Innovate UK’s £20-million innovation call to invest in projects that can help improve air quality and operation of England’s roads.

IPG’s project will demonstrate the role of Flameless Ceramic Turbine technology in bringing EV charging to high-use and remote locations through clean, cheap, grid-independent power generation.

In efforts to scale EV charging infrastructure to support the expected rise of electric vehicles on the road, the UK government is set to increase the number of high-powered rapid chargepoints in England from 809 (as of 1 January 2020) to 6,000 by 2035. This growth will require high megawatt capacities across England’s road networks. But, in many high-use areas and remote locations, upgrading grid connections to meet future charging demand is not practical or commercially viable.

Grid access and capacity issues, as well as the infeasibility of on-site solar and wind, is a barrier for EV charging in many locations. Highways England is funding this project to assess how IPG's turbine technology could present a solution for delivering power at a competitive cost while improving air quality, that would alleviate grid stress in high-use areas, as well as enabling remote locations to facilitate EV charging.

—Brian Cull, Senior Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer, Highways England

IPG’s Flameless Ceramic Turbine is a 100kW modular generator. Up to 8 turbines fit in a 20ft shipping container, forming a deployable power solution for EV charging companies that can be scaled to match demand in any location.

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The Flameless Ceramic Turbine combines flameless combustion technology and innovations in ceramic design to deliver demand-responsive power without the emissions. It operates at high temperatures—above the temperature for spontaneous reaction from any fuel—to enable combustion without a flame. Low-cost ceramics enable temperatures beyond the limitations of metals to deliver fuel efficiencies of power plants in small-scale distributed power.

IPG‘s flameless combustor uses the turbine exhaust and high heat transfer effectiveness through the IPG regenerator unit. In bringing power plant efficiencies to the microscale through high-temperature ceramics, IPG’s turbine delivers a 51% fuel efficiency, reduces CO2 emissions by 43% and fuel costs by up to 76% (when on natural gas) compared to diesel generators and gas engines.

Flameless combustion eliminates all pollutant emissions such as NOx, CO, and PM, and enables the fuel-flexibility that is crucial in creating demand for clean alternative fuels, accelerating the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

Not only can IPG’s technology deliver low-emission, pollutant-free energy on today’s cleaner fuels. It also enables EV charging service providers to transition to truly net-zero fuel-based power, as biofuels and hydrogen become more available, supporting the Government’s efforts to tackle climate change.

—IPG CEO Toby Gill

Comments

Davemart

I am trying to work out how this compares with using the natural gas to make hydrogen, then using an FCEV vehicle.

Hyundai claim around 60% efficiency in the Nexo, but there are also reforming losses, so if you are talking about reformed NG for the source of the hydrogen, I reckon they are in the same ball park.

mahonj

Might be very good for a serial hybrid.
How big is it - looks quite big - could you get one one a bus or a HGV tractor ?
Would be fine in a ship.

SJC

Solar is everywhere, add batteries and you are there.

DevinSerpa

A solution to a problem that doesn't exist, nor is anyone asking for.

Jeffery Green

It seems this would be a limited life if we are to head to a world of no carbon pollution. There are other storage technologies that will give us no carbon. I would hope those would get first priority.

TeslaPickup

Solar plus battery may become the new base generation method for the grid. However there will be places and times where alternative sources of power are necessary.

Pictures yourself in northern Minnesota in a winter blizzard. The few hours of sunshine are gone for days. Heating becomes a matter of survival. Solar won't cut it without massively overbuilding the solar infrastructure. That is a waste.

Combine the power generation efficiency of flameless ceramic with waste heat recovery and carbon capture and you get minimal carbon impact.

The world needs a flexible, reliable power mix that has low carbon impact and meets the needs of rural and remote locations. Power and heating are not options.

Ruediger Gmach

If this new IPG ceramic turbine really delivers a 51% fuel efficiency, this would even beat the Obrist serial Range Extender, that achieves about 40%. Until today, microgasturbines only achived about 30% fuel efficiency - so this seems like a huge leap forward.
Regarding use in serial hybrids:
Unfortunately all classic automobile producers currently prefer to stick to their old gas engine and mechanical powertrain supply chains, which is the real reason, why they still deliver these extremely inefficient parallel PHEVs instead of serial hybrids with pure electric powertrains, which would make these vehicle both more cost effective to operate and cheaper in production, as well as less service intense as current parallel hybrids, and less expensive than current BEVs, because a smaller battery would be both sufficient and efficient - parallel PHEV are not efficient - in combustion mode even worse than pure ICE cars.

Charliegq

Regarding series VS parallel hybrid efficiencies, there have been some small advancements that increase efficiencies, at least on the parallel side.

Consider the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid powertrain. It is, in essence, a series hybrid with the Atkinson cycle V6 as the generator to the electric motor. At highway speeds however, it can lock the engine to the drive wheels through a single high gear. This allows the engine to be used as propulsion but only at its most efficient use which is highway cruising speeds. At all other times the engine is only a generator as there is no traditional transmission.

I am digressing but, in my opinion, the carbon footprint of a Phev vehicle is heavily dependant on usage and less on the efficiency of the motor. For example, I own a 2014 Chevy volt I use for work commute. The furthest I have driven is 8500 miles with only 315 of those coming from 9 gallons of gas. The Volt is a series hybrid with 35 miles of all electric range and 35mpg there after.

jzj

Extraordinary claims - extraordinary proof. 51% efficiency?
1. No turbine I've heard of has more than around 30% efficiency, and that's with recuperators which are not seen here.
2. Extraordinarily high temperatures and no NOx?
3. No emissions other than CO2, period?
4. Company website has no useful information.
5. If these turbines were truly able to be this disruptive to the field of microturbines, why are they being used for remote charging, instead of a hundred vastly more important applications where microturbines are used?
My expectation is that this well-intended but possibly poorly due-diligenced money will disappear into "further research" and never be seen again.

gryf

There really is not a lot of information on the Intelligent Power Generation (IPG) website. So you have to search the internet to find a lot more to see if there is anything to this.
1. IPG CEO is Dr.Tobias Gill (PhD, University College London). The financial backers are: Simon Hansford and Martin Rushton-Turner, CEO and Founder respectfully of ITERO (Itero-tech.com), a clean tech company that uses chemical recycling technology.
2. A US DoE project achieved 42% net electrical efficiency using a Capstone designed and integrated a low-pressure compressor and turbine system using a modified version of the C200; high-pressure, high-temperature compressor and turbine system; combustion system; intercooler; and high-pressure recuperator to create a two-shaft C370 engine (200 kW to 370 kW) Reference: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/07/f33/0432-High%20Efficiency%20Microturbine.pdf.
3. ALZETA nanoSTAR™ Lean Burn Gas Turbine Injectors, were developed with a grant from California Energy Commission, and in cooperation with Solar Turbine (an industrial gas turbine manufacturer), and perform with single digit NOx emissions in an elevated pressure (10 atm) and temperature industrial gas turbine combustor environment (patent: US8215951B2).
4. Another website shows the IPG truck range extender with a recuperator (https://ipg-transport.com/range-extender.html). IPG Transport is part of the Intelligent Power Generation Limited (IPG). IPG Transport was formed to design, develop the IPGT Range Extender (using IPG Turbine Technology) for incorporation into electric drive trains for Commercial Vehicles.

So is this IPG Ceramic Gas Turbine with 51% net electrical efficiency possible. Probably, (recall that Mercedes Benz Formula One engines with lean burn have greater than 50% thermal efficiency), but are grid applications or truck range extenders the best application. A Ceramic, Recuperated Gas Turbine using drop-in renewable jet fuel would be perfect as an eVTOL range extender, though I believe GE, Rolls Royce, and others are working on that application.

Dkwolfe4

Couple patents for those who like details:
US20200018175A1 & GB1616239.8 - axial turbine details
GB2572623 & WO2019/193329A1 - flameless cumbustor
GB2553606 - high temp quartz heat exchanger

There may be more, but these are the ones that I found assigned to Intelligent Power generation, Limited

skierpage

This is the most incoherent press release masquerading as journalism that I've seen in months. Who "wrote" this?

"IPG’s project will demonstrate the role of Flameless Ceramic Turbine technology in bringing EV charging to high-use and remote locations through clean, cheap, grid-independent power generation."

Where exactly is there lots of EV charging with plentiful fossil fuel supply that doesn't have electrical supply? Calling this "clean" is Orwellian doublespeak. The tired comparison of natural gas to coal electrical generation to make it look good needs to die, particularly in the UK where frequently over half of generation is from renewables (right now Gridwatch says 47% from renewables).

This company has no real connection with EV charging, it's just an expensive way to make electricity locally . An efficient turbine was nice, but it has to be terminated with extreme prejudice along with anything else that burns fossil fuel.

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