EtaGen has developed a linear generator technology for distributed generation applications that reduces the emissions, maintenance, and cost limitations that hamper existing combined heat and power technologies. This innovative technology is poised to deliver efficient, clean, and cost-effective onsite electricity and heat that is well-matched to commercial and light-industrial facilities. EtaGen’s linear generator will address the enormous market potential for CHP that is under-served in California.
With funding support from the California Energy Commission and Southern California Gas Company, EtaGen successfully designed, built, installed, interconnected, operated, and monitored the world’s first linear generator system for electricity and heat production. The system was installed outside EtaGen’s headquarters in Menlo Park (San Mateo County), and performance was monitored from October 2017 through February 2018. The research team continuously measured electrical performance during all operation and potential thermal performance for combined heat and power applications was measured upon commissioning. The net alternating current power output was 70 kilowatts (kW), and the potential thermal output and overall efficiency were 87 kW and 77 percent, respectively. Third-party emissions testing demonstrated the ability to meet Southern California Air Quality Management District emissions standards in both electric-only and combined heat and power applications. Among the emissions standards applicable to EtaGen’s technology, the South Coast Air Quality Management District emissions standards are the most stringent in the world.
With the success of this project and the knowledge gained, EtaGen has a clear development roadmap to a 250-kW commercial product with electric efficiency greater than 45 percent and overall thermal combined heat and power efficiency greater than 80 percent.