GTI Receives Two New CEC Contracts, Opens New California Office

Des Plaines, IL – August 21, 2012 – The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently awarded Gas Technology Institute (GTI), a leading research and development organization serving energy and environmental markets, with two new contracts totaling $3.5 million. GTI will develop new combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat recovery technologies at industrial facilities in California.

In order to support these and other initiatives, GTI has established a satellite office in Davis, California. This new office will focus on GTI’s expanding efforts with local utilities, the CEC and other regional players. “A stronger presence in this important region will help us continue our high level of customer service and technology developments that are helping the state of California—and the country—meet today’s complex energy and environmental challenges,” notes David Carroll, president and CEO, GTI.

Making CHP Systems Economically Viable in California

GTI has received a grant of $1.8 million in PIER (Public Interest Energy Research) natural gas funding from CEC to develop and demonstrate a fuel-flexible hybrid-generation CHP system that can use natural gas and biogas produced by anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants and landfills. The system will be designed to produce reliable and efficient thermal and electric energy for on-site use, while also enabling cost-effective compliance with California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2007 emission standards for distributed generation.

According to the agency’s 2005 Energy Action Plan, the use of renewable power sources and distributed generation such as CHP systems is a top CEC priority. However, many wastewater treatment plants and landfills that currently operate on biogas face significant capital costs if they are to comply with the very low emission level requirements.

GTI and its partners will develop an advanced, fuel-flexible hybrid combined heat and power system that integrates a partial oxidation gas turbine with a reciprocating internal combustion engine for improved overall system performance, reduced cost per kWe, and emissions that meet the CARB 2007 emission standards. The novel system will be demonstrated at the San Bernardino Water Reclamation Plant to assess its technical and economic viability.

“What we hope to accomplish with our project is to enable technically viable and cost-competitive integration of renewable resources for hybrid cycle applications,” says John Pratapas, senior engineer, GTI, who will lead the project. “Performance targets of the technology we develop include improving efficiency and reducing the cost of a fuel-flexible, near-term commercial CHP system powered by a novel gas turbine staged with a reciprocating engine in a hybrid generation system.”

The City of San Bernardino and other GTI partners including Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) will provide $887,000 in matching funds to support the project. The targeted completion date for the demonstration is March 2015.

Emerging Waste Heat Recovery Technology

GTI also received a $1.73 million grant to demonstrate an innovative technology that converts waste heat in high-temperature (above 900ºF) exhaust gases into electricity on an average-sized industrial furnace. The new technology would fill the gap in the market for a cost-effective heat recovery system that effectively converts waste heat in high-temperature exhaust gases into electricity by generating heated water that drives an Organic Rankin Cycle Engine (ORCE) generator.

Demonstration of the new system will take place at Shultz Steel Company in South Gate, California, a manufacturer of steel, titanium, and nickel-based alloys and forged aluminum for aerospace and industrial markets. “This project is the first installation of its kind in the U.S.,” says Dave Cygan, industrial RD&D manager, GTI, who will lead the project. “That’s why the CEC funding is critical.”

SoCalGas and N2 Energy Solutions will partner with GTI in this effort. “The project matches our goal to assist in the development and demonstration of emerging technologies that provide cost savings, energy efficiency, and environmental benefits to natural gas consumers and end users,” notes Jeffrey G. Reed, director, market development and emerging technology, SoCalGas. Target completion date for the system demonstration is October 2014.

About Gas Technology Institute (GTI)

GTI is a leading research, development and training organization that has been addressing the nation's energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 70 years.