Hybrid Turbines has announced their SmartGen hybrid gas-wind turbine system, a design that burns biogas or natural gas to spin wind power turbine generators 24/7 if the wind isn't blowing.
"Large wind turbines, even in good wind resource areas, typically generate rated power only 30 percent of the time because the wind blows intermittently or at a low wind velocity," states Hybrid Turbines' President Nick Verini. "This SmartGen system, which can be retrofitted to existing wind turbines, enables them to generate power at their rated capacity 100 percent of the time. It can also be incorporated into new wind turbine designs. The SmartGen design can scale up to very large 4 MW onshore and offshore wind turbines."
The 35 GW of installed wind power capacity in America could be producing grid power 24/7.
The SmartGen system utilizes a ground-based turbo-compressor to compress air and this compressed air is used to drive a turbo air motor directly connected to the wind turbine generator.
Compressed air is used because it is safe, non-flammable and efficient when used in combination with the turbo air motor. The turbo air motor is one-tenth the size of the electric generator it is driving.
Using the existing wind turbine generator saves considerable money since the generator itself represents a cost of the wind turbine, and is already in place and connected to the grid.
The increased output of 25 GW 70 percent of 35 GW represents the generation capacity of twenty-five 1,000 MW nuclear power plants.
"If biogas is used then the SmartGen system is 100 percent renewable energy-based wind and/or biogas. Even if natural gas is used the electricity produced by SmartGen is twice as environmentally clean as burning coal. This will be increasingly important as we move to electric vehicles with batteries charged from a smart grid," adds Verini.