Exergy Inc. of Hayward has made the first royalty payment of $250,000 to the Commission for funding the innovation during its infancy.
"Technologies such as this offer win-win opportunities for California energy producers, consumers and taxpayers," said Governor Pete Wilson. "Not only has the state supported advances in energy efficiency, but California is reaping a share of its commercial success."
The technology is the creation of Dr. Alexander Kalina, who left a high position in the Soviet Union 18 years ago to come to the United States to develop this advanced thermodynamic cycle. He formed Exergy Inc. to commercialize the technology.
The technology uses a mix of water and ammonia rather than water alone to supply the heat recovery system for electricity generation in a power plant. Because ammonia has a much lower boiling point than water, the Kalina cycle is able to begin spinning the steam turbine at much lower temperatures than typically associated with the conventional steam boiler/turbine systems. Similarly, the lower boiling point of ammonia allows additional energy to be obtained on the condenser side of the steam turbine.
Under its Energy Technologies Advancement Program (ETAP) the Energy Commission awarded the project $2.25 million to co-fund a pilot plant in Canoga Park. Under the terms of a royalty agreement, Exergy will pay back total royalties of $6.75 million over a period of time based on its gross revenues. The Energy Commission plows back the royalty funds into ETAP to fund future projects, thus providing a mechanism for a successful project to fund other ETAP projects.
The Canoga Park plant at the U.S. Department of Energy's Engineering Center, has a capacity of six megawatts. It has sold power to the Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International and Southern California Edison since 1992.
In 1993, General Electric signed an agreement with Exergy for a worldwide exclusive licensing rights to use the technology for combined-cycle systems in the 50 to 150 megawatt range. GE and Exergy are proposing a 110 megawatt combined-cycle project in Livingston, California that will operate at 55 percent efficiency. In addition, GE and Exergy currently have on the drawing board a combined-cycle plant that will operate on an overall efficiency above 62 percent.
Exergy has also signed agreements with Ansaldo Energia of Italy, ABB and Ebara Corporation of Japan for use of the Kalina cycle technology in geotheral, waste incineration and direct-fired coal applications.
The Governor, noting the company's successful ventures abroad said: "Exports of environmentally-friendly energy technology sharpen California's competitive edge in global markets, harnessing the international trade and investment that have been so critical to the California comeback."
The Kalina cycle can be used with any fuel, geotheral source or excess energy. Exergy predicts that with the Kalina technology, geotheral plants can post an efficiency gain of up to 50 percent while coal-fired plants will operate 20 percent more efficiently with the technology.
Through ETAP, the Energy Commission assists California energy research and development companies make energy technologies more efficient or cost-effective, and to help develop alternative sources of energy.
ETAP leverages funds from private companies toward each project. Since its establishment by the Rosenthal-Naylor Act in 1984, the program has funded 68 projects totalling more than $23.4 million, with project sponsors providing more than $175 million in matching funds. The projects provide research, development and manufacturing jobs and tax revenues to state and local governments.
The Kalina cycle was one of the first projects funded by ETAP, the first to sign a royalty agreement and the first to pay royalties to the Commission.
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