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A High-Speed Generator for Microturbines

Ola Agln
Electrical Machines and Power Electronics Department of Electrical Engineering KTH, Royal Institute of Technology SE-100 44 Stockholm

Abstract: Distributed generation takes pressure off electric transmission infrastructure. For a low up-front investment the compact ABB MT100 Microturbine Combined Heat and Power unit can be installed quickly and produce power where it is needed. Low emissions, fuel flexibility and high efficiency are benefits. A permanent magnet high-speed generator is used. Keywords: High-speed generator, Permanent magnet, Microturbine, Distributed generation, Combined heat and power, CHP

Gas turbine engine and recuperator Electrical generator Electrical system Exhaust gas heat-exchanger Supervision and control system

The technical data of the CHP unit are presented in Table 1.

In areas where the grid has reached its power limit, in remote areas or in countries with low transmission capabilities, installing small power units where they are needed can be more cost efficient than building large power plants and power lines, at least it is much quicker. For a low up-front investment the compact ABB MT100 Microturbine Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit can offer low emissions, fuel flexibility and high efficiency. It uses a permanent magnet high-speed generator. The ABB MT100 unit is shown in Figure 1. It is natural gas operated, with the ratings of 100 kW electric and 167 kW thermal outputs. The unit is eminently well suited as a power source for facilities ranging for hospitals and hotels to shopping malls and factories. The heart of the unit is a small gas turbine which is integrated with a high-speed generator, both resulting from ABBs and Volvos almost 15 years of experience in gas turbine driven hybrid electric vehicles [1, 2]. Special features of the turbine include a combustion chamber optimized for low emissions and a recuperator, a gas-to-air heat exchanger, that boosts efficiency.

Figure 1. ABB MT100 Microturbine Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit 1 Generator, 2 Gas turbine engine, 3 Recuperator, 4 Exhaustgas heat-exchanger, 5 Ventilation air outlet, 6 Exhaust outlet, 7 Water inlet, 8 Hot-water, 9 Power electronics, 10 Control system, 11 Combustion chamber, 12 Air inlet

General description
The ABB MT100 microturbine is a combined heat and power unit, which is installed in a small cabinet. In Figure 1, the installation in the cabinet is outlined. The unit produces electricity and heat and runs on natural gas. A gas compressor may be necessary depending on the natural gas pressure. The ABB MT100 is designed for indoor installation and takes air from an outside intake. Its main parts are:

Design and operation The fundamental operating principle of the microturbine is such that the turbine wheel drives an internally directly coupled compressor wheel (Figure 2). The compressor pushes the process air into the combustion chamber where fuel is added, and a continuous combustion process takes place. The hot pressurized gas stream is expanded in the turbine, causing a large part of the thermal energy to be converted into mechanical energy, which in turn drives the compressor and the mechanical load. In conventional power plants, the load is traditionally a two- or four-pole generator that is driven via a gearbox. In such applications, the generator speed

is fixed, since it is synchronized to the frequency of an electric network.

Table 1 ABB MT100 CHP unit - main characteristics Property Dimensions Width Height Length Weight Noise level Performance 1) Net electrical output Net electrical efficiency Net thermal output (hot water) Net total efficiency Volumetric exhaust gas emissions (at 15% O2 and 100% load): NOx CO UHC Ambient inlet: Air temperature Air inlet humidity Natural gas, heating value, LHV Gas pressure, min/max Mass flow, at 100 kW load (39 MJ/kg) Surrounding air: Temperature Surrounding humidity Exhaust gas flow Exhaust gas temperature Water inlet temperature Water outlet temperature Data 840 mm 1 900 mm 2 900 mm 2000 kg 70 dBA at 1 meter

the desired operating temperature. Another heat exchanger, after the recuperator, heats the water in the external circuit. The emissions of a gas turbine are very low. This is because of the continuous combustion, which can be carefully controlled. The external combustion chamber can also be optimized for low emissions. Often a variable geometry is used in gas turbines. Adjustable guide vanes are normally used to control the gas flow towards the turbine and the compressor and thus the operating point of the gas turbine can be controlled. Again, in the ABB MT100 turbine, another approach is used. The frequency converter permits variable speed operation, which allows the power to be controlled by adjusting the turbine speed in a wide range.

100 kW 30% 167 kW 80%

Gas turbine engine

The gas turbine is a single shaft engine. The main components are: Housing Compressor Recuperator Combustion chamber Turbine Housing The electrical generator and the rotating components of the gas turbine are mounted on the same shaft. The engine parts and the shaft are located in the same housing. Compressor The ABB MT100 uses a radial centrifugal compressor to compress ambient air. The pressure ratio is about 4,5:1. The compressor is mounted on the same shaft as the turbine and the electrical generator. Recuperator The recuperator is a gas to air heat exchanger attached to the microturbine. It increases the efficiency of the gas turbine by transferring heat from the hot exhaust gases to the compressed air fed to the combustion chamber. Combustion chamber The preheated compressed air is mixed with the natural gas. During start up an electrical igniter in the combustion chamber ignites the mixture. The combustion chamber is of a lean pre-mix emission type, achieving low emissions of NOx, CO and unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust gases. Turbine The radial turbine drives the compressor and the generator at a nominal speed of 70000 rpm. When the combustion gases leave the combustion chamber they have a temperature of approximately 950C and a

< 15 ppm v < 15 ppm v < 10 ppm v

25C to +40C 0 100% > 30 000 kJ/Nm 6/9,5 bar 31 Nm3 /hour

0C to +40C 80% 0,79 kg/s 55 C 50 C 70 C

1) The performance data, which is based on ISO-conditions, includes power consumption and losses from all auxiliaries, including the natural gas compressor.

In the ABB MT100 microturbine, the high-speed generator is directly coupled to the turbine shaft and a frequency converter adjusts the speed electronically. The remaining thermal energy can be dissipated through the chimney, but such a gas turbine will suffer from poor efficiency, unless several compressor and turbine stages are added. The ABB MT100 microturbine overcomes this problem by recovering the exhaust heat in the recuperator. There the compressed air is preheated before it enters the combustion chamber. Thus less fuel is required to reach

pressure of about 4.5 bar. As the combustion gases expand through the turbine the pressure decreases to close to atmospheric pressure and the heat drops to approximately 650 C. Exhaust gas heat exchanger The exhaust gas heat exchanger is of gas-water countercurrent flow type. The temperature of the exhaust gases is approximately 270 C, entering the exhaust gas exchanger. The thermal energy from the exhaust gases is transferred to the hot-water system by the exhaust gas heat exchanger. The outlet water temperature depends on the incoming water conditions, temperature and mass flow. The exhaust gases leave the exhaust gas heat exchanger through an exhaust pipe and the subsequent chimney.

Electric power generation system

Especially for small gas turbines, it is advantageous to omit the gearbox that normally reduces the speed of the turbine shaft to that of conventional electrical machines. The result is a more efficient, compact and reliable unit. For such an application, the speed is normally above 30,000 rpm and may exceed 100,000 rpm. State of the art in material technology includes highenergy permanent magnets and high yield-strength material. These have proven to be very suitable for highspeed electrical machines. The use of neodymium-ironboron (NdBFe) magnets reduces the rotor losses of the generator. A prerequisite for the direct mechanical coupling is that the necessary frequency-conversion must be very efficient. Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) are efficient and can be switched at an appropriately high frequency. Altogether, these new advancements permit the development of efficient machines tailor-made for certain high-speed applications.

Figure 2. ABB MT100: thermodynamic processes: 1 Generator, 2 Inlet air, 3 Compressor, 4 Air to recuperator, 5 Combustion chamber, 6 Turbine, 7 Recuperator, 8 Exhaust gases, 9 Exhaust-gas heat-exchanger, 10 Exhaust-gas outlet, 11 Hot-water outlet, 12 Hot-water inlet

An advantage of a high-speed generator is that the size of the machine decreases almost in direct proportion to the increase in speed, leading to a very small unit that can be integrated with the gas turbine. Electrical system Before the generated power reaches the grid, it has to be converted to the grid frequency (Figure 3). The AC of the generator is first rectified to DC and then converted to a three-phase AC. An inductor stabilizes the AC output and an EMC filter protects the grid against generated interference. The electrical system can be used in reverse direction to start the gas turbine.

Supervision and control system The ABB MT100 is controlled and supervised with an automatic control system, the Power Module Controller (PMC), and thus the CHP unit needs no attendance of personnel in normal use. The PMC is used to start, stop and supervise the CHP unit. If a critical fault should appear in the CHP unit the PMC either initiates a normal stop or an emergency shutdown, should this be required. A fault code is recorded by the PMC and presented on the display of the control panel. The gas turbine and the electrical power generation system is entirely controlled and automatically operated by the PMC. The PMC runs the system by using values from sensors monitoring:

Heat demand Electric power demand Gas pressure Oil temperature Vibrations Speed

Figure 3. Schematic of the electrical power generation 1 Generator, 2 Rectifier/start-up converter, 3 DC bus, 4 Converter, 5 Line filter, 6 EMC filter, 7 Main circuit-breaker

High Speed generator

The electric power is generated in a HISEM 110/70 highspeed permanent magnet synchronous generator, which is integrated with the micro turbine (Figure 4). The rotor is suspended by one bearing on each side of the permanent magnet rotor and there are no additional bearings on the turbine shaft, The output frequency of

the generator is high up to 2,4 kHz. The generator also acts as an electric starter for the gas turbine to bring the CHP unit into operation. Generator

Figure 4. HISEM 110/70 Generator integrated with the turbine

The rotor is suspended by one bearing on each side of the permanent magnet rotor and there are no additional bearings on the turbine shaft. The rotor consists of a magnetic steel body with surface mounted permanent magnets. Covered by a carbon-fiber bandage the magnets are retained even at 70 000 rpm. The rotor radius is selected from a mechanical point of view: It is a trade-off between bending stiffness and the largest magnet thickness that can be retained with a reasonably thin bandage. Based on the rotor radius, the stator core radius and the axial length are determined in an iterative process. An important issue is to ensure that the rotor never reaches a temperature that would de-magnetize the magnet. This is done both by reducing the rotor losses and by providing efficient cooling in the air-gap. Two main factors, air friction and asynchronous mmf-waves in the air-gap cause a temperature rise in the rotor. The latter are mainly caused by stator current time harmonics. Since the carbon-fiber bandage acts like a thermal insulator, the rotor is more sensitive to current harmonics than a rotor in a conventional machine. A limit for the current harmonics has been defined from the level of acceptable rotor losses. Cooling air is pushed through the air-gap using the buffer air pump.

The generator design is derived from the design of the HSG100 generator [3] that was used in the hybrid vehicle application. Based on the experience and on new requirements from the microturbine applications, major improvements have been made, especially with respect to reliability and production cost. The experience of ABB Motors in high volume production has been brought into the design.

Frequency converter
The product cost is a very strong constraint on the design of the frequency converter so the converter was derived from the ACS 600 converter platform. Extensive application programming has been made to implement the interface and control functions that are required for the microturbine application. A new control board has been developed to control the speed of the turbine and to control the start mode, where the rectifier is used as an inverter to accelerate the turbine to 30 000 rpm, the speed from which the turbine is producing net power for further acceleration to the operating range of 50 000 70 000 rpm. The ACS 600 series converters are designed to operate in an industrial environment, while the requirements in the microturbine application is to meet the norms for household applications. The applications of distributed power generation is currently a gray zone, with respect to grid regulations, but it was decided to comply with EN55011. Although the functional hardware is sourced from the ACS 600 series, the mechanical installation has been tailored for the microturbine application (Figure 6). An important characteristic is the use of water-cooling.

Figure 5 Cutaway view of the HISEM 110/70 generator

The electric power is generated in a HISEM 110/70 highspeed permanent magnet synchronous generator. The stator core is made with thin laminations of low-loss electrical steel and the winding is made with Litz-wire to achieve good high-frequency characteristics. The four-pole design contributes to short end-windings that make possible a short distance between bearings. Although the efficiency is high, water-cooling is used to keep the temperature low in the winding. Together with vacuum pressure impregnation and thicker than standard insulation this ensures a long lifetime of the winding.

Table 3. Maintenance

Inspection: General checks

Figure 6. The frequency converter in the MT100 CHP unit.

Inspection of the combustion chamber and the change-out of the fuel nozzle Change of consumables, oil and water refill (if necessary) General visual check

Overhaul Same procedure as in inspection Change of the entire combustion chamber

Engine refurbishment

System analysis
The typical location of a microturbine implies that the grid may be weak. The task to control the stability is then a challenge. In a scenario where distributed power generation units shall cooperate, the risk for grid instability can be very pronounced. In order to establish a good knowledge platform, a simulation model has been established for dynamic simulations of the linked thermodynamic-mechanic-electric system of the CHP unit [4]. This model can be combined with alternative grid topologies, in order to study the grid interaction.

Change of bearings in lubrication oil pump, ventilation fan and buffer air pump

Fuel gas compressor inspection and refill of oil and changeout of oil filter Change of air filters Cleaning of cooling water-strainer Change of lubrication oil filter

The potential market for distributed power resources is large and challenging. The ABB MT100 microturbine shows it is possible to design and manufacture an affordable, reliable and clean standard unit. Its subsystems, for example the high-speed generator, have been derived from vanguard ABB technologies.

Maintenance concept
A key property of the T100 CHP unit is the low maintenance that will be required. The preventive (scheduled) maintenance is sub-divided into inspection and overhaul and the intervals are shown in Table 2. As a result of the low number of moving parts, the maintenance actions can be kept limited to the contents of Table 3.
Table 2. Maintenance intervals.

Type Inspection Overhaul Interval (h) 6 000 30 000 Outage (h) 24 48 [1] P. Chudi, A. Malmquist, A hybrid drive for the car of the future. ABB Review 9/93. G, Lagerstrm, A. Malmquist, Advanced hybrid propulsion system for Volvo ECT. Volvo Technology Report No. 2 1995. P, Chudi, A. Malmquist, Development of a small gas turbine driven high speed permanent magnet generator. Licentiate Thesis, The Royal Institute of Technology. KTH 1989. A. Malmquist, Analysis of a gas turbine driven hybrid drive train for heavy vehicles. Ph.D. Thesis, The Royal Institute of Technology. KTH 1999.