Project objective: Development of a steam turbocharger for direct generation of cost-effective compressed air
In industry, steam networks are operated for various applications. These networks often contain steam lines with different pressure levels, whereby the pressure reduction between two pressure levels is mainly achieved by mechanical throttling via control valves. At the same time, the demand for compressed air in these industrial enterprises is often high. Within the scope of this project, a new possibility of coupling these two supply networks will be realized – with the help of a newly developed turbo machine. The project partner is Turbonik GmbH from Herten, which specializes in the manufacture of efficient and compact micro steam turbines.
The previously energetically unused throttling of the pressure differences can be used via a steam turbine to directly drive an c air compressor. Based on the parallels to the automotive turbocharger, this application is referred to as "steam turbocharger". In high power ranges (several megawatts of mechanical power), such coupled turbomachines are already established. Otherwise, for the power range of significantly less than one megawatt- despite the high ecological relevance and the frequently encountered applications – economical and compact units and standardized integrations are not yet available. Small and medium-sized companies therefore do not yet have the opportunity to use their steam networks for coupled compressed air generation.
The modularized container design with integrated steam boiler and steam turbocharger demonstrated in the project "Steam Turbocharger - Increasing Efficiency in Industrial Companies by Coupling Steam and Compressed Air Networks" shows that both, the stand-alone use of the steam turbocharger to replace existing steam reduction valves and the installation of complete systems consisting of steam boiler and steam turbocharger are possible in a simple and space-saving way.