EPRI is field testing microturbine systems for the commercial market. The tests will evaluate 25 ‘beta series’ prototypes to assess their technical and economic potential for serving commercial markets with power requirements in the 30-200 kWe range.

“We believe mass-produced microgenerators could have a significant impact on the utility industry, perhaps along the same lines that microcomputers have revolutionised the computer industry,” said Tony Armor of EPRI. “Several companies are now commercialising microturbines for customers seeking premium power, off-grid power, peak shaving and other niche opportunities.”

EPRI will lead a field evaluation and demonstration programme and manage a microturbine users’ group. EPRI will assess microturbine module installation, grid connections, O&M, and suggest enhancements.

Manufacturers planning to offer microturbines include: AlliedSignal; Bowman; Capstone; Elliott; Northern Research and Engineering; and Williams/General Motors.