ACE Heat Power Interreg

Innovative steam turbine makes electricity system flexible

One of the challenges of the energy transition to renewable and low-carbon energy sources is the flexibility of the electricity system. The Dutch company Heat Power and ACE Belgium will jointly develop an innovative steam turbine system that can generate sustainable electricity on demand. This not only makes the electricity grid more flexible, but also brings the energy transition to heat-intensive SME's.

Heat-intensive companies, such as those in the chemical, food or wood industry, produce steam for their production process via a steam boiler. They can connect a steam turbine system to this boiler with which they can also generate electricity. This generation of electricity via co-generation is a sustainable source of energy, but so far not a flexible one.

Conventional steam turbine systems always produce a fixed amount of electricity, depending on the amount of steam produced. Tinkering with that steam production is not desirable for the turbine system, but also not for the company, because steam is often a constant in the production process.

Flexibility of the electricity grid

There is therefore an increasing need for flexibility in the electricity grid. With the Rankine Compression Gas Turbine (RCG), the Dutch company Heat Power and ACE development & engineering Lummen want to develop an innovative steam turbine system that meets these requirements.

Henk Ouwerkerk (Heat Power): "The RCG is very innovative compared to conventional steam turbines because it allows renewable electricity to be generated in a few seconds, according to need. In addition, up to 30% more electricity can be produced than with normal steam turbines. the RCG can make a major contribution to one of the major challenges of the energy transition: making the electricity system more flexible."

Lower electricity costs

“Another advantage of the RCG is that companies can save on their electricity costs. Firstly, by generating (sustainable) electricity themselves using the RCG, so that they can meet their own electricity needs. Secondly, by supplying electricity to the grid at financially favorable times (when supply is low, but demand is high). This can be, for example, when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow and the weather-dependent sources therefore do not supply electricity.”

An annual saving of up to 9,000 tons of CO2

Heat Power specializes in heat-intensive industrial process technologies, while ACE is a multidisciplinary engineering firm at home in many markets. In this project, ACE will use its expertise in the field of control technology and take care of the assembly. The project partners will combine this knowledge to arrive at a prototype of a 40 kW RCG module and to demonstrate this prototype at Houtindustrie Schijndel (HIS). In the future, these RCG modules can be connected in parallel, creating systems of 200 kW and more.

Because the RCG saves about 0.25 kg of CO2 for every kWh generated (compared to gray electricity), it is expected that up to 9,000 tons of CO2 can be saved per year. This is equivalent to the CO2 consumption of 1200 households.