A NOVEL ABSORPTION-COGENERATION CYCLE

Period of Performance: 01/01/1989 - 12/31/1989

$50K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Energy Concepts Co., LLC
627 Ridgely Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Principal Investigator

Abstract

TYPICALLY, A COGENERATION SYSTEM DESIGNER MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN A RECIPROCATING ENGINE, WHICH YIELDS EXCELLENT ELECTRICAL EFFICIENCY BUT LOW USEFUL THERMAL OUTPUT OR A GASTURBINE, WHICH YIELDS A LARGE THERMAL OUTPUT BUT LESS ELECTRICITY. THE PROPOSED IMPROVEMENT, WHEN APPLIED TO A RECIPROCATING ENGINE COGENERATION SYSTEM, INCREASES THE USEFUL THERMAL OUTPUT BY ABOUT 50% WITHOUT DECREASING THE ELECTRICAL OUPUT. IT BOOSTS THE OVERALL EFFICIENCY OF RECIPROCATING ENGINE COGENERATION SYSTEMS BY ABOUT 20%. IN MANY COGENERATION APPLICATIONS (E.G., HOSPITALS), HEAT MUST BE SUPPLIED AT ABOVE 260 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IN ORDER TO BE USEFUL. IN THESE APPLICATIONS, ONLY THE EXHAUST HEAT OF A RECIPROCATING ENGINE COGENERATOR IS RECOVERED, WHILE THE HEAT IN THE ENGINE COOLING WATER IS DISCARDED. THE METHOD TO BE EMPLOYED IN THIS PROJECT USES AN ABSORPTION HEAT PUMP TO RAISE THE TEMPERATURE OF THE HEAT IN THE COOLING WATER TOA USEFUL LEVEL. THE HEAT PUMP IS DRIVEN BY THE ENGINE'S EXHAUST HEAT. THE NET RESULT IS THAT THE SYSTEM DELIVERS ABOUT 50% MORE STEAM AT 260 DEGREES TO 320 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT THAN WOULD OTHERWISE BE POSSIBLE. THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT INCREASING FUEL CONSUMPTION OR DECREASING THE SYSTEM'S ELECTRICAL OUTPUT. THE IMPROVEMENT IS BASED ON A NEW ABSORPTION CYCLE WORKING FLUID. THIS FLUID, CALLED ALKITRATE, HAS ALREADY ACHIEVED THE HIGH TEMPERATURES (500 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT) REQUIRED FOR THIS APPLICATION IN A LABORATORY HEAT PUMP. PHASE I RELATES TO THE EFFICIENT INTERFACE OF THE ENGINE WITH THE HEAT PUMP. A NOVEL, PATENTED, DOUBLY OPEN ABSORPTION CYCLE WILL BE INVESTIGATED.