New palm-sized gas turbine generator offers backup emergency power source

Japan’s IHI Corp. has recently developed the world’s smallest and lightest gas turbine generator and plans to bring it to the market by 2015. The generator weighing 1.2 kg with dimensions of 8 cm in diameter and 12 cm in length can offer a maximum output of 400 watts using propane gas, kerosene or light oil for the fuel, and can run continuously for three hours. 

When the turbine is packaged with all parts including a silencer and cooling fan, the package is as small as a commonly-used suitcase with 42 cm in length, 58 cm in width, 20 cm in height and 13 kg in weight. It can be started and shut down with a single button and requires about 30 seconds until attaining an output of 200 watts and two and a half minutes for a complete show-down.

Double output, low emissions

The gas turbine will come equipped with a cooling fan and fuel tank, at an anticipated price tag of 2 million yen (US$25,332) a unit. In addition to offering double or more the output of a fuel cell, the generator is also highly durable. In addition to being easy to use, it throws off low emissions. IHI anticipates its use as a backup emergency power source during disasters. The newly developed turbine acts as a power source for self-propelled robots in case of emergencies, and also for use at locations where no vehicles can enter.

To achieve the small and light body, in the course of development of a bearing and ultra high speed motor, IHI sought cooperation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and other universities and companies both within and outside Japan. IHI plans to commercialize the generator by 2015 and aims to reduce the weight of the packaged product by half from 13 kg prior to the commercialization.