Breakthrough CHP unit will benefit small power users

Volvo Aero Turbines VT600 combined heat and power generator is thought to be the first at its output level to use a gas turbine engine specially designed for smaller-scale applications. It is aimed at relatively modest power users not catered for by the bigger gas turbine CHP packages on the market. The unit, designed by […]

Volvo Aero Turbines VT600 combined heat and power generator is thought to be the first at its output level to use a gas turbine engine specially designed for smaller-scale applications.

It is aimed at relatively modest power users not catered for by the bigger gas turbine CHP packages on the market. The unit, designed by Volvo Aero Turbines’ UK operation, has won Millennium Product status.

The VT600 produces 600kW of electricity and around 1,300kW of heat.

Ian Grant, Volvo Aero Turbines business manager for land and marine gas turbines, said the VT600 would suit users such as hospitals and process plant operators, which need heat and electricity in the ratio of around 2:1.

`Overall operational efficiencies of 80% are achievable,’ says Grant. `That’s a significant improvement over buying the electricity from a generator using a combined cycle gas turbine, and burning gas in a boiler to produce steam.’

The advantages of a gas turbine-based system are better reliability and lower maintenance costs.

However, the system’s most important feature is the high exhaust gas temperature, which is suitable for industrial steam raising, while a piston engine’s exhaust gases are only hot enough to produce hot water.

CHP is a central element of the Government’s energy policy for meeting its commitments to reducing production of global warming gases. Volvo hopes to sell 10 VT600 units this year.

One has already been commissioned at the Princess Royal hospital in Telford and two more are undergoing commissioning in hospitals.

Though the turbines are manufactured in Sweden, the application engineering is undertaken by Volvo’s team in the UK.