In the course of our technological history, we have seen devices start off as a huge (and often heavy) devices. However, as the demand for more power in compact devices grows, the technology engineers provide us with our demands. Hence, we see our technology, more specifically in Cell-Phones and Computers, becoming smaller.
The scientists from GE Global Research are now performing tests on a turbine that is approximately the size of a desk. But more interesting, is this mini-turbine has the capabilities of powering a small town of up to 10,000 homes.
In the image below, Doug Hofer, who is one of the GE Engineers in charge of the project, poses with a model of the Mini-Turbine.
While typical turbines are generally driven by steam, resulting in a much larger scale, this specific turbine is actually driven by what the researchers call supercritical carbon dioxide. This is highly pressurized, not to mention extremely hot. This supercritical carbon dioxide (C02) is capable of reaching temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius. The C02 is incredibly hot and under so much pressure, it will form a supercritical fluid. This supercritical fluid in neither a liquid or even a gas, in fact, it is both.
The new turbine that GE Global Researchers are working on, is projecting to be over 5% more efficient than that of the traditional steam turbines, in the attempts of converting heat into electricity. What is even more promising, the team’s GE prototype is only 10 megawatts. However, the team is aiming to scale the prototype up to a grand total of 33 megawatts.
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