Desk-Sized Turbine Runs on Carbon Dioxide and Could Power up to 10,000 Homes

By: | April 25th, 2016

In the industrialized world, the development of energy resources has become a prerequisite for a developed society. But most of the energy is generated through polluting sources such as burning fossil fuels.

To solve this issue, GE Global Research is developing a small turbine which uses carbon dioxide, and just one of these devices could generate enough power for 10,000 homes.

This small turbine is driven by ‘supercritical carbon dioxide,’ which is kept under high pressure at temperatures of 700˚C. Under these conditions, the difference between gas and liquid basically disappears, enabling the turbine to harness its energy for super-efficient power generation.

As per GE, standard steam turbines are usually ten times bigger than this prototype and are less efficient. Conventional steam turbines convert around 45% of their heat into electrical energy. But GE’s prototype is far smaller and would be around 50% efficient.

This desk-sized turbine can solve one of the biggest issues the world is currently facing.

The model shown above is 3D-printed from plastic. However, a functional version of the real turbine would be about 150 pounds. Still it is very light in comparison to the standard machines used for generating the same amount of power.

As per the project’s engineer, “With energy demand expected to rise by 50 percent over the next two decades, we can’t afford to wait for new, cleaner energy solutions to power the planet. We have to innovate now and make energy generation as efficient as possible. Programs like those we are working on with the U.S. Department of Energy are helping us get there.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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