Today, 80% of the world’s electricity is generated by steam turbines and it is not hard to realize that steam turbines are going to be critical components in the intense productification phase that will commence, once the E-Cat is released. In this short article we are going to talk about some interesting facts about (industrial sized) steam turbines.
The first modern steam turbine was invented in 1884 by Sir Charles Parsons and in the 20th century steam turbines became the most powerful electric power generators available. The efficiency of the turbines quickly stagnated but in the 90′s there were several important design breakthroughs that significantly improved the efficiency:
- Development of new heat resistant high chromium percentage ferritic steels – withstanding higher steam temperatures.
- New advanced approaches to steam path design.
- Development of longer last stage rotating blades that decreases exit losses in the turbine.
The market leaders in terms of (big scale) turbine technology are:
- Alstom (France)
- Siemens (Germany)
- GE Power Systems (US)
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan)
- Hitachi and Toshiba Corp (Hapan)
- Leningrad Metallic Works (Russia)
- Ansaldo Energia (Italy)
- Turboatom (Ukraine)
- Skoda (Czech Republic)
Industrial steam turbines typically operates in an environment of 600 degrees Celsius with a pressure of 30,000 kPa. Typically the power output range of a single turbine of this size is around 100 MW to 1 GW with a gross efficiency value of around 50%. In comparison some water turbines have an energy efficiency of up to 90% and combustion engines have energy efficiencies in the range 10%-50%.
Food for thought:
It is going to be interesting to see how the E-Cat unit will drive also the development of smaller “domestic” turbines for thermo-electric conversion. How quickly will there be a legal framework in place for end user cold fusion – i.e. cold fusion driven home heaters / electrical generators? How fast will, say, AmpEnergo or Defkalion launch products that also generate electricity? When will we see industrial sized cold fusion reactors, capable of powering 1 GW turbines. AmpEnergo has explicitly stated that they will not go for the “low hanging fruit” – does this mean that they will not consider the end user markets at all – at any stage?