Here you can browse some of the most frequently asked questions regarding our power generation solutions. If you have a question that isn’t covered here, we’re always happy to help and so please get in touch with us via our contact page.

Microturbine FAQs

A microturbine is a well-established technology in the distributed generation world. It is essentially an aero turbine powered by gas or other fuel that produces electricity (and heat, if required) on a relatively small scale. A microturbine works in a similar way to a jet engine, albeit producing electricity rather than a thrust.

The technology has a number of distinct advantages over many power generation methods, including:

  • Improved reliability
  • Lower emissions
  • Reduced energy waste
  • Reduced maintenance cycle

The numerous financial, environmental and operational merits of microturbines have resulted in a progressive increase in their adoption over the past decade, with Capstone in particular leading the sector.

Founded in 1988, and a UL-Certified ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 company, Capstone Turbine Corporation is the world’s leading developer and manufacturer of clean and green microturbine power generation systems. Evolved from the advanced development of aero turbine technology, Capstone microturbines offer one of the cleanest and most efficient distributed generation solutions available.

Capstone’s technological advantages and vertical market strategy have enabled it to strengthen its position as the global leader in clean and green power generation technology, so much so that many of the Fortune 500 top global companies use Capstone products.

Capstone has shipped over 9,000 microturbines to customers in multiple vertical markets worldwide. These innovative and award-winning turbines have logged millions of documented runtime operating hours, delivering a capacity in excess of 850 MW.

 

Capstone microturbine power generation systems comprise advanced engineering, with more than 100 patents. By integrating an aero-based turbine engine, a permanent magnet generator, advanced power electronics and patented air bearing technology, Capstone turbines are highly efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly. The following are the key features and benefits of deploying a Capstone microturbine:

Capstone Microturbine Benefits

  • Only one moving part
    Longer service intervals & low operating costs
  • Scalable to match demand
    Multiple applications and industries
  • Free clean waste heat
    Thermal energy for cogeneration / trigeneration
  • Low emissions
    No exhaust after-treatment
  • Minimal vibration
    Low noise (65 dba @ 10 meters)
  • High power density
    Compact footprint, small modular design & easy to install
  • Fuel versatility
    Operates on gaseous, renewable and liquid fuels
  • Stand alone or grid connect
    Supports aging utility infrastructures
  • Remote monitoring
    View performance and diagnostics 24/7

These microturbine solutions are modular, meaning that they can be installed individually or in a ‘multi-pack’ configuration. Accordingly, they can provide scalable power generation solutions, from 65 kVA to 10+ MVA.

The microturbines can operate on a variety of gaseous or liquid fuels, including natural gas, associated gas, LPG/propane, flare gas, landfill gas, digester gas, diesel, aviation fuel and kerosene.

The turbines require a small amount of electricity upon start-up and there is a small parasitic load used for the gas compressors and ancillary equipment.

Capstone microturbines are extremely quiet, emitting a faint whirring sound rather than a thudding noise.

They emit 65 dba (decibels) at 10 metres, which is generally much quieter than reciprocating engines and this is due to the fact that the microturbine emits sound at a high frequency (because it’s a turbine), whereas reciprocating engines have a low frequency.

The turbines are ideal as power generators but, in many global installations, they are actually the permanent, primary power source, and this can certainly be the case if the customer requires this.

What’s more, the microturbines certainly aren’t limited to simply providing power. Due to their versatility, they are often deployed to deliver both electricity and heat in the form of hot water, hot air, steam or refrigeration in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and tri-generation (CCHP) applications, across a range of industries globally.

Pricing FAQs

Projects are funded by an energy services contract. The customer simply pays a monthly electricity bill for the agreed consumption volume supplied and metered by us, and does not need to invest in the asset (i.e. the microturbine). In other words, Design, Build, Finance, Operation and Maintenance (DBFOM) are all taken care of and so the customer has the assurance of a full turnkey solution.

  • No capital costs
  • No fuel costs
  • No maintenance costs
  • No lifecycle costs

The contract provides significant commercial advantages to the customer, including the ability to accurately forecast operational costs. This is in contrast to most reciprocating engine generators, where there are costs for the rental of the equipment, ancillary services, maintenance and fuel.

Usually we will seek to agree a guaranteed fixed tariff for the duration of the contract and therefore the price of gas or electricity rising or falling will not affect the unit price.  

A guaranteed long-term tariff rate is preferential for many customers when compared to more traditional generators, which are regularly impacted by energy price rises. This is particularly significant due to the widespread use of diesel generators and the frequent fluctuation of tariffs.

The rental duration is typically from six months to five years. That said, our generators can be made available for much longer periods, should the customer require this.

Once the contract is complete we remove the microturbine from site and redeploy it at a new location.

Our power generation solutions are generally not economically viable for short-term hire (i.e. periods of less than six months).

There are a number of variable factors that are taken in to account when calculating the rate:

  1. The capacity of the installation
  2. The consumption rate over the fixed period of the contract
  3. The duration of the contract
  4. The unit cost price of gas (used to power the microturbine)

Yes. This is a premium generation solution where the Grid is not immediately available. However, this solution will be more economical and more transparent than many other alternatives available on the market.

Yes – we are fully funded and can deploy a large fleet of assets across the UK and Ireland.

Operational FAQs

Our generators offer a number of operational benefits, most notably:

  • 4,000 hour service intervals as standard across all microturbines, reducing the need for site visits  
  • Highly reliable power, eliminating the risk of black or brown-outs and the need for back-up generation
  • Flexibility to meet small or large requirements, via modular generator units
  • Small footprints, ensuring generators are highly space efficient

Reliable, uninterruptible power is critical to many commercial and industrial projects – without it, business continuity can be compromised and valuable time lost, which can have a significant impact on project timescales and costs.

Capstone microturbines have over 100 unique, patented design features, which bolster their reputation as one of the industry’s most advanced and reliable means of generation. For example, the microturbines employ air bearing technology and only have one moving part, requiring no lubricants or coolants. Unique features such as these result in a significant reduction in maintenance, and help to explain why the microturbines have 4,000 hour service intervals as standard.

The increased resilience of Capstone microturbines also means that there is no need for back-up generation.

Our generators have the flexibility to support a wide range of power requirements, typically ranging from 65 kVA right the way through to 10+ MVA. This flexibility is possible because the units are modular – Capstone microturbines can be installed individually or in ‘multipacks’.

Yes – there are some other notable advantages:

  • Load following – The turbine rotation speed at full power (72,000 RPM) gives significant scope to modulate with minimum efficiency loss. Combined with the modularity aspect this gives maximum flexibility.
  • Start-up speed – The microturbines can fire up in less than a minute, which is especially useful for meeting peak power requirements.

Environmental FAQs

Our generation solutions exclusively use industry-leading Capstone gas microturbines and the Capstone Turbine Corporation has extensive environmentally-friendly credentials.

Capstone is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership, which is committed to improving the efficiency of energy infrastructure and reducing emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Capstone’s environmental credentials are further illustrated by the fact that they are California Air Resources Board (CARB) accredited – a renowned status which has exacting standards. Air pollution in California, and Los Angeles in particular, is a well-documented problem, and the aggressive standard of CARB was introduced to help tackle the issue.

It’s highly probable that the UK will follow suit by also raising standards to a more stringent level in future, and therefore choosing Capstone microturbines provides an element of future-proofing, in terms of environmental compliance.

UK businesses are under increasing pressure to contribute to the Government’s target of achieving an 80% reduction in nitrous oxide and carbon emissions, from 1990 levels, by 2050. 

Accordingly, there is a greater legislative focus on generating power with reduced adverse effects on people and the environment. Whilst there is a movement towards renewable energy sources (such as wind and solar), these can only produce energy at certain times, when environmental factors are conducive.

Legislation such as the Medium Combustion Plant (MCP) Directive, plus the future possibilities of initiatives such as Low Emission Zones (LEZs), could have a significant commercial impact on organisations’ development projects. These pressures are only going to increase, as the Government strives for increasingly higher environmental standards.

All of this points to the need for cleaner power sources.

It’s estimated that approximately 50,000 premature deaths a year in the UK can be attributed to the harmful impacts of nitrogen dioxide (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). The MCP Directive is an EU directive on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants. In other words, it’s intended to help tackle pollution, by focusing on ‘medium sized’ equipment typically found in commercial buildings, industrial processes and power generation.

The emission limits set in the MCP Directive took effect in December 2018 for new plants and will apply by 2025 or 2030 for existing plants, depending on their size.

It’s estimated that there are approximately 30,000 medium combustion plants in England and Wales and therefore the legislation is potentially wide reaching.

London and a select number of other UK cities have now introduced a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) – a traffic pollution charge scheme that aims to reduce exhaust gas emissions of diesel-powered commercial vehicles. Additionally, cities such as Bath are considering Clean Air Zone (CAZ) initiatives.

It is anticipated that London and other major cities will introduce more stringent emissions targets in the foreseeable future and therefore the principles of LEZs and CAZs are likely to be extended beyond the remit of just traffic, to areas such as power generation.

Absolutely. Capstone mircoturbine emissions are 18 mg/ nm3 and an ultra-low NOx version (8 mg/g) is also available. As you can see from the table below, this compares very favourably with the alternatives.

Type of Generation MCP Directive Requirement
Diesel engine 195 mg/ nm3

Reciprocating gas engine

95 mg/ nm3
Gas turbine 50 mg/ nm3

It’s also worth noting that if a generation system is on the borderline of MCP Directive compliance, it might not be compliant with future LEZ or similar legislation.

Innovation in diesel power generation has resulted in some reduction in emissions, but it’s still a relatively high polluting method of generation. As limited progress has been made to date towards making diesel an environmentally friendly solution for twenty-first century power generation it is likely to come under the spotlight, as emissions standards become more stringent.

Other FAQs

The following information will typically be required from the customer:

  • Demand requirements
  • Utilisation estimate
  • Gas unit rates
  • Gas flow rates

Pure World Energy’s website features nearly one hundred PDF and video case studies from around the globe, demonstrating how these unique microturbines have helped an array of businesses with various applications.

To view these case studies, you can visit: https://www.pureworldenergy.com/case-studies

Another very common use for Capstone microturbines is Combined Heat and Power (CHP), where the by-product is turned in to useful energy (i.e. heat).

As well as CHP, the microturbines can also be deployed for:

  • Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) – Sometimes known as ‘tri-generation’, some of the heat produced by a CHP unit is used to power an absorption chiller, in order to generate chilled water for applications such as air conditioning or refrigeration.
  • Steam – Capstone microturbines can be used to generate steam for a range of industrial processes, such as food or chemical manufacturing, or drying.
  • Direct exhaust – As the exhaust produced by the microturbine is extremely clean, with high levels of oxygen, it can be utilised directly for processes that require continuous ‘hot air’, such as dryers and preheaters used in drying applications.
  • Critical power – Capstone’s ‘Secure Power’ is designed specifically for mission-critical loads, which require an uninterruptible power source. Secure Power produces clean, high-availability IT-grade power that offers 99.999999% reliability.
  • Renewable energy – Capstone’s renewable microturbines have been specifically designed to cleanly and effectively run on biogas from landfills, anaerobic digesters, wastewater treatment facilities and food processing facilities, as well as agricultural waste. Rather than simply venting or flaring the methane gas, the microturbines can convert this free fuel to clean and reliable electricity.

Capstone’s microturbines provide solutions for a variety of commercial markets globally, including:

  • Cement and aggregates
  • IT, telecoms and data
  • Pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals
  • Food and beverage
  • Other manufacturing & processing industries
  • Healthcare and medical
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Biogas applications

If you have any further questions about our power generation solutions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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