Recently, the UK is interested in getting alternative energy from everything possible. One good example is the gas pipelines.
Engineers from UK’s National Grid and a company called 2OC want to built inside the gas pipes mini turbines to produce energy using the gas pressure. The turbo expanders will generate electricity when gas pressure is reduced. Each aggregate has 20cm diameter, and can generate up to 1MW of electricity.
The technology of turbo expanders could have been used since a long time ago, around 1980s, but the high price of investment determined most of the countries not to use it. As the energy price is increased nowadays, alternative energy is more than welcome. Installations of turbo expanders around UK can produce up to 1GW which is equivalent to a coal or nuclear power station.
To a smaller scale UK’s National Grid and 2OC will have the tests made in east London and the aggregate will generate by 2010 up to 20MW power. This technology can combine a heat and power engine (CHP) which will generate heat and electricity. The efficiency of the CHP can increase to 70%.
In this moment this technology was not used to a high scale so everything is just in theory but most of the theories will become reality sometime, and for sure UK will implement by the end of this year the mini turbines in the gas pipelines.