GE Global Research has presented a CO2 turbine that despite its small size would be capable of generating the necessary energy for a town or city.
The search for a more efficient method to obtain the energy necessary to bring electricity to every home in the world continues; It is not a small problem, considering the increasing fuel shortages and the increasing demand.
The turbine concept presented by GE Global Research may set the direction for future power generation, and it has done so with a surprising space limitation; as we see in the photos of a real scale model, he is not greater than a person.
A CO2 turbine in a supercritical fluid state
The great difference of this model with respect to other turbines is that water steam is not used to move it and transform heat into electricity, but CO2 is used; But be careful, carbon dioxide is not used in the gaseous state, nor in the liquid state, but the researchers have chosen to CO2 in supercritical fluid state.
That is, CO2 that has been heated and pressurized so much that the barrier between the liquid and gaseous states has ceased to exist; is a state of matter that it is considered as a hybrid between liquid and gas, and therefore has the ideal characteristics for obtaining energy with a turbine, according to the engineers behind this design.
This CO2 turbine (or minirotor as its creators call it), It has an efficiency of 50%, five percentage points higher than the best steam turbines, but the most interesting thing is that it achieves it by occupying a tenth of the space.
A great disadvantage of steam turbines is that they take too long to start, it is possible to wait up to 30 minutes for the turbine to reach its maximum performance; instead this model will reach the same state in just a minute or two, which makes it ideal for situations where the demand for energy suddenly increases.
For example, for cities; Although the current design is 10 MW, it is expected to be able to scale the technology first to 33 MW, and then to 500 MW, which will be enough to run about 10,000 homes, according to its creators.
For the moment, the first tests are expected by the end of the year, and from there its creators hope to continue its development.