New cheap and efficient micro binary power generation systems from several manufacturers to also use industrial waste heat.
Japanese onsen resorts are hot spring baths which dot the geologically active nation. Japan has over 28,000 onsen hot springs discharging more than 2.75 million liters of hot spring water goodness every minute of every day.
That’s a heck of a lot of energy potential. Unlike solar or wind, this renewable energy source is stable, consistent and can can easily replace nuclear or fossil energy if harnessed properly.
Several Japanese manufacturers are about to ship systems called Micro Binary Generators which allow electricity to be generated from this massive resource without affecting the quality of the treasured onsen baths themselves. As an additional benefit, these systems also generate power from waste heat at factories and other facilities.
The micro binary system development is being actively pushed by the Japanese government for development and the technology has already been proven. Systems will start shipping in the latter half of fiscal 2012. The systems use an air-conditioner type CFC replacement that boils at low temperatures of 70 to 100 degrees celcius or lower to drive a turbine.
One very large market for these systems is local power generation for communities to help them gain energy independence. This is a common theme now in post Fukushima Japan.
This new type of power generation technology can be considered a new form of geothermal energy as existing hot springs can be used to drive the process. Another enormous application is using industrial waste heat in combination with boilers, incinerators, generators, and numerous other processes which generate heat which not normally captured.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, KOBELCO, and Mitsubishi are some companies that developed the technology are getting ready to ship these systems. KOBELCO has already closed some orders for these new systems.
Kawasaki is focused on 250kW micro binary systems. In tests combining high efficiency 5MW gas turbines with the new binary system, the energy efficiency has been raised to over 50%.
KOBELCO is focused on smaller 70kW and 120kW systems. The 70kW systems are expected to be priced around 40 million yen.
It’s expected that the power generated by these systems will be competitive with both fossil and nuclear system power, as well as other local plant generation systems.