Bladon Micro Turbine Gensets for a Greener Future

19 May 2021

Written by Nick Rawson

Introduction

In this document, we will explore the significant potential for the Micro Turbine Genset (MTG) to reduce local pollution through its clean burn technology, and its future route to carbon neutrality.

Types of Emissions

When discussing emissions, it is important to categorise the problems appropriately. There are two distinct categories that will be discussed in this document:

  • Local poisonous pollution that is hazardous to human health
  • Greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change
Toxic pollutants and greenhouse gas diagram

When a hydrocarbon fuel is burned in the presence of oxygen from the air the best case scenario is that it produces nothing but water vapour and carbon dioxide. However, if combustion does not occur in exactly the right conditions and flame temperatures, then highly undesirable toxic pollutants are also created.

Air Quality Concerns from Diesel Engines

Unlike CO2, which has low toxicity, NOx, CO, UHCs and Particulates pose a serious danger to human health. In hundreds of cities around the world ‘Clean Air Zones’ are being implemented in an attempt to limit the harm done by toxic emissions, which are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide.

Internal combustion diesel engines emit large quantities of these toxic pollutants. This is inherent to the type of instantaneous combustion taking place within the engine. To improve emissions from diesel engines, various techniques and exhaust aftertreatments are required. These techniques have a negative impact on engine performance, servicing, reliability and cost.

The latest EU Stage V emissions limits pose a significant challenge to diesel genset engine manufacturers. For the first time, generators below 130kWm will have all the above substances limited. Not only is Stage V compliance going to require existing technologies such as EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), but also DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filters), Catalytic converters and SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). SCR is particularly arduous because not only does it introduce more precious metals attractive to thieves, but it requires a constant supply of Urea (Diesel Exhaust Fluid).

Stage V & Bladon MTG

Bladon’s advanced combustion technology means that the Bladon MTG’s emissions are significantly better than the EU Stage V requirements. This has been demonstrated by emissions testing in an independent testing laboratory using the latest equipment.

Chart of Particulate Matter Bladon MTG v Diesel Genset
Figure 1 - Particulate Matter
Chart of CO, NOx and UHC, Bladon MTG v Diesel Genset
Figure 2 - Carbon Monoxide and Hydrocarbons with Oxides of Nitrogen

The results above were obtained using a standard Bladon MTG with standard fuel and no exhaust aftertreatment, filters or exhaust gas recirculation. The continuous flame of Bladon’s combustion technology results in:

  • HC + NOx emissions significantly below the Stage V limit. Note that EU Stage V requires that HC and NOx be presented as the sum of the two results together, hence “HC + NOx”.
  • Extremely low CO emissions due to the very high air-fuel ratios resulting in well over 99% combustion efficiency.
  • Particulate matter so low that it was unmeasurable.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Whilst it is a harmless gas present in the air naturally, it is a contributor to climate change. A concerted global effort is under way to reduce the quantities of greenhouse gasses now being produced.

Despite the challenges CO2 presents, it is not a Stage V emissions-controlled substance. As previously stated, when a hydrocarbon fuel is burned in the presence of oxygen from the air, the best-case scenario is that it produces nothing but water vapour and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a locally toxic gas unless the concentrations are extremely high (e.g., in an enclosed space).

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing because the fuel we burn is extracted from the ground, where it was previously locked away for millions of years. When this fuel is used, it releases large amounts of this stored carbon into the atmosphere very rapidly. If the fuel came from another source that’s part of the natural Carbon Cycle, then atmospheric carbon dioxide levels would stop increasing. Enter the future of liquid fuels…

Carbon-Neutral Fuels

There are billions of dollars globally being invested in carbon-neutral fuels, particularly organic fuels that are hydrotreated (reacted in the presence of hydrogen with a catalyst). So called ‘Synthetic fuels’ can be entirely carbon-neutral. A carbon-neutral feedstock, such as vegetable oil, is chemically processed with cleanly produced ‘green’ hydrogen to create the synthetic fuels.

In the UK and other European countries, one of these fuels, HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) is already available. It is often sold with another name such as ‘Green D+’, ‘Renewable Diesel’ or ‘Green Bio Fuel’. These products usually reduce the net CO2 emissions by around 90%. In the medium term, these are expected to be a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels as the former becomes cheaper to produce and the latter is affected by increased taxation.

Let’s review the emissions produced by the MTG and diesel generators.

comparison of emissions from Bladon's MTG and a typical diesel genset

Imagine the above drawing, but with all the CO2 emissions offset by using carbon-neutral fuel. The MTG is positioned to offer the lowest emissions in class by far. To compete, diesel generators will need extensive exhaust aftertreatment which will significantly increase the burdens of capital cost, maintenance, theft of precious metals, and additional fluids. Even then, diesel generators are unlikely to outperform the Bladon MTG’s outstanding emissions results.

The Bladon MTG Offers More Green Opportunities

The Bladon MTG is a multi-fuel appliance. This means it is uniquely positioned to benefit from green fuel advancements in all relevant sectors including:

  • Automotive fuels
  • Fuels used for heating, cooking or lighting
  • Aviation fuels
  • Fuel derived from by-products of the Waste and Recycling industry

The MTG will be compatible with a very wide variety of these fuels – not just diesel equivalents. With the MTG there will be so many more fuelling options to choose from, which will enable its operators to select the cleanest, most cost-effective, and most locally available type of fuel.

The Bladon MTG is already compatible with some of these fuels, and Bladon’s Engineering team are constantly testing new fuels as they become available. The use of Bladon’s approved fuels does not require any modifications to the existing fuel system, and will remain compatible with blending/mixing of fuel types. Bladon is also exploring other fuels, particularly green methanol and gaseous fuels, such as LPG, for future MTG products.

This document did not discuss the specifics of Bladon’s unique once per year servicing, which reduces servicing visits by over 90%. The reduction in service visits makes a further contribution to reducing emissions, by reducing vehicle mileage and the number of vehicles required in a service fleet. Furthermore, the MTG does not require any lubricating oils. This means no highly refined engine oil is required, nor is disposal of dirty contaminated oil.

Bladon is committed to being a part of the green energy revolution. The Bladon MTG is not just an alternative to the diesel generator – it is the next technological step forward in clean, quiet, reliable power.

About Bladon

Bladon is the world’s first manufacturer of microturbine gensets for the telecom market. The company has developed revolutionary patented microturbine, heat-exchanger and air-bearing technologies that enable it to deliver cost-effective, reliable and clean power for off-grid and bad-grid telecom sites.

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