3D printing of turbines will find use in international projects
Researchers from the University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings CTU in Prague and Centre of Excellence for Cogeneration Technologies (CECoGen)at OTH Amberg-Weiden developed together small turboexpanders for systems for cogeneration from biomass or use of waste heat based on Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC). They will continue the cooperation in following years on a new project funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
The cooperation until now was aimed at the possibility of additive manufacturing from modern plastics of low-cost turboexpanders for applications in distributed energy systems . This approach is quite perspective, since organic working fluids are often evaporated in ORC systems at significantly lower temperatures than steam in large power plants. The Bavarian-Czech research team investigated the problem from both theoretic and practical viewpoints with the objective of expanding the use of waste heat and thus increasing the energy efficiency in the industry.
Within the periodic meetings, the members of the team discussed various turbine concepts and computed the most perspective ones in detail, designed them and manufactured them using both plastic and partially metal 3D printing. These were later tested in the Laboratory for compressed air technologies at OTH Amberg-Weiden in various configurations. Different materials and technologies of 3D printing were tested and compared during the analysing and evaluation.
The results of the collective research were presented to the professional public and published in international research journals and presented at relevant conferences. Now the cooperation in turbine development continues within the new project DEXPAND funded by Norwegian Funds, on which chosen researchers from OTH Amberg-Weiden participate together with CTU, NTNU, SINTEF Energy in Trondheim and industrial partner GT Progres s.r.o.
Based on the excellent cooperation, also another common project between CTU UCEEB and OTH Amberg-Weiden called “Energy Efficiency Network – a cross-border energy consultant training” was started within the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The objective of this project is to try to apply in CZ the idea of networks of organisations for energy savings based on the good practice from Bavaria, where the CECoGenat OTH leads several such networks.