Applications Fluid Engine

Developing world

When focussing our technology on creating growth and progress across the developing world, we have found demand is centralised on two utilities: Electricity and potable water. The requirement for these spans the entirety of the developing world, but the availability of sources varies by location. This drove the design team to look at creating a technology that was rugged, versatile and simple to operate.

The Fluid Engine runs a piston driven Organic Rankine Cycle. This allows the heat input to be of a very low supply temperature compared to conventional processes giving access to solar thermal, geothermal, biomass and waste heat, making the Fluid Engine very versatile. This versatility is increased further by the same prime mover design being utilisable in a single form across the entirety of the heat source range. Meaning solar, geothermal, biomass and waste heat sources can all power the same Fluid Engine with no modification.

The creation of potable water can be achieved at the same time if beneficial via thermal pasteurisation, a well understood concept which has been hugely under applied in the developing world. Given the effect of water borne disease on the populations of the developing world, the demand for an effective method to deactivate pathogens is colossal.

Finally, the Fluid Engine has been designed to utilise an autonomous control system. This factor, combined with its rugged and low maintenance design ensures that highly specialised technical staff are not required near the installations. This guarantees that the Fluid Engines will operate with a high degree of availability, another crucial factor in supplying these utilities.

Power plant efficiency

The current demand for carbon neutral power processes means that efficiency of current fossil fuel power plants needs to be maximised and emissions reduced as much as is possible. The Fluid Engine has potential to be used as a bottoming cycle to Brayton-Rankine processes to improve their already high efficiency even more. The research around this application will be in the economics of the heat exchangers relative to the real efficiency gains that can be accomplished with an installed Fluid Engine.

Gas Expansion Application

Currently the energy losses, associated with gas pressure reduction stations for the lower pressure distribution lines, have no recovery systems implemented. The Fluid Engine has potential to be applied with the objective of recapturing the energy during the depressurisation of the natural gas.

This product range utilises the pressure differential to generate electrical power. This electrical power can then be utilised to either preheat the natural gas being depressurised (high pressure step down) or potentially used to power ancillary systems. Currently, the UK gas network expends $160-240 million per annum on preheating the gas prior to depressurisation, whilst at the higher end of the scale the USA spends $1.5 billion per annum.