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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: February 18, 2003
No: 03-03

Heat Plus Cheap Electricity Equals Winning Combination

NATICK, Mass. — A system that generates nearly-free electricity while heating water or space has earned two U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center employees a 2003 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

FLC Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer recognize laboratory employees who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally-developed technology to the marketplace.

Don Pickard, team leader and Frank Dileo, project leader with the Equipment and Energy Technology Team, won the award for their submission titled “Small-Scale Cogeneration of Heat and Electric Power.” They successfully developed and transitioned the first practical application of a small-scale cogenerator that provides both heat and electric power using a single process for a battalion-level field kitchen.

The same technology has been applied to residential applications where electric power can be generated at high efficiency every time the home heater cycles on to heat water or space.

Having demonstrated a system efficiency of more than 80 percent under the Dual Use Science and Technology program, the technology transitioned to Climate Energy LCC, a partner of one of the largest suppliers of home HVAC systems in America, to develop high-efficiency residential cogenerators.

By comparison, a current military heater used for field feeding is 25 percent efficient and a generator is 28 percent efficient. Cogeneration significantly reduces fuel consumption, noise, weight and volume.

Instead of using dry saturated or superheated steam as in a conventional Rankine cycle, this cogeneration technology uses a high temperature two-phase mixture of steam and water that’s injected into an expander. The alternator coupled to the expander produces electrical power, while the remaining heat is used for cooking and sanitation in a field kitchen, or warming a home or water in residential use.

The technology can also be applied to other Army field systems primarily driven by heat, such as showers, laundries and space heaters.

The electric power produced by the cogenerator can be connected to the house electric meter, which may actually run backwards at night or during the day when power demand is low. Deregulation of the electric power industry allows this feature, called “net metering,” which will significantly lower home electric bills and reduce demand on public utilities.

Furthermore, liquid-injected cogeneration offers several environmental advantages.

Electric power generation using residential cogenerators is much more efficient than public utilities. It consumes less fuel, the fuel that is consumed is cleaner-burning-for example natural gas vs. coal--and fuel is burned over a wider area compared to conventional power plants for less concentrated pollution.

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This page last updated on 18 February 2003.