Fuel Flexible, Ultra-Portable Microturbine Generator

Erik Herold, Jason Ethier, and Ivan Wang
Dynamo Micropower,
Boston, MA

A large unmet need in the oil and gas industry is a portable power generation system that is reliable, requires little maintenance, can operate continuously for extended periods of time, and has the capacity to consume on-site fuel. Dynamo Micropower is developing robust, fuel-flexible, ultra-portable, sub-30kW microturbine generators for highly distributed generation in an electrically driven world.

Fuel Flexible, Ultra-Portable Microturbine Generator

Bulky diesel reciprocating engine generators are typically used to power pumping equipment on site. Diesel fuel is not only expensive, but transporting fuel and maintenance personnel out to sites is also very costly.

The inherently fuel-flexible nature of microturbines is leveraged with inhouse design software that allows for rapid redesign of components to meet customer-specific power generation requirements. The proprietary system architecture simplifies typically complex turbine component geometries and allows for simple manufacture. The Dynamo microturbine has only two moving parts and is very simple to assemble, disassemble, and service. Components are arranged in a stacked fashion and require only hand tools for complete assembly, a process that takes about half an hour.

The system is cost competitive with current diesel generators and is 1/5th the size. By making use of the wellhead gas previously being wasted by flaring, the Dynamo microturbine can reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) by 90%. The system is designed to be modular, such that units can be swapped out quickly to minimize downtime and disruptions in operation. Multiple microturbine units can replace a large single generator effectively as a hedge against unplanned downtime.

This solution meets the needs of countless applications, including rapidly deployable emergency power generation, ultra-portable power generation, and backup power generation for residential and small-scale commercial customers.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/machinery-winner 

Honorable Mentions


Charles Kochou,
Zareen P/L,
Sydney, Australia

This device is used at building sites for a range of cable installations, including voice, data, security (CCTV) and fire alarms; cable TV; and electrical cables. It facilitates a faster and more effective method of laying cables by means of marking cables in continuous segments along the length. This enables the operator to easily identify and segregate cables according to requirements. The apparatus is compact and quick to assemble on-site, and requires no power (or batteries) to operate. The marking process is fast and efficient since it is carried out when the cable is pulled off the reel. A number of these devices may be used in parallel at the same time to pull a number of cables at the same time.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/smartagger 

Audio Imager

Audio Imager
Graeme MacDonald,
Cube Industrial Design,
Watsons Bay, NSW, Australia

This device locates, measures, and records the source of sounds. It aids in tracing the source of sounds in environments where it is difficult to do so by listening or using conventional sound level meters. It operates in a similar way to a thermal imaging camera except that instead of imaging heat, it images sound. The device is pointed in the general direction that the sound is coming from. A 9×5 array of miniature directional microphones detects the sound at various angles off the central axis. The microphone that is pointed most directly at the sound source generates the strongest signal. The signal from each microphone is separately processed and mapped. A camera near the middle microphone allows an image of the area being mapped to be superimposed on the audio image.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/audioimager 

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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