Elektra came to us from Bavaria

News, 24. 05. 2023

Instead of a character from Greek mythology, a radial turbine has arrived, the possibilities of its application in decentralised cogeneration systems are being investigated by a Czech-Bavarian research team within the international Dexpand project. Tests of Elektra on the WAVE 120 cogeneration unit are underway at the CTU UCEEB campus in Bustehrad, which will contribute to further development of knowledge in the field of efficient use of biomass for electricity generation.   

The tested turbine was designed by Ing. Philipp Streit and Professor Dr.-Ing. Andreas P. Weiß from the Centre of Excellence for Cogeneration at the University of East Bavaria Amberg-Weiden (KoKWK OTH-AW) specifically for the WAVE 120 CHP unit, which produces heat and electricity from biomass at the CTU UCEEB campus in Bustehrad since 2020. The Elektra turbine concept itself is not new. It was invented by Slovak physicist and engineer Aurel Stodola, who worked at the Federal Technical University in Zurich from 1892, and was already used in industry in the first half of the 20th century as a simple direct drive for pumps and blowers.

Due to its low efficiency, Elektra disappeared from industry in the second half of the 20th century, but this disadvantage is not very significant for its use in cogeneration, where the waste heat of the turbine could be used for heating. On the other hand, its low speed (3,000 rpm) is a major advantage, allowing standard industrial low-cost generators to be used for power generation. In order to verify this reasoning in practice, Ing. Václav Novotný, Ph.D. and Ing. Jan Špale from the LORCA CTU UCEEB research team put the turbine into test operation, which has been running without problems so far and will soon yield results.