ecoJet receives funding for new micro turbine power technology
South Australian startup ecoJet Engineering has developed a world-leading micro gas turbine (MGT) engine to provide a solution for affordable and uninterrupted on-site power supply.
The company has been awarded a $96,500 grant through the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund (SAECF), administered by TechInSA, to help bring its innovative generator to the global market.
ecoJet has devised a zero-emissions power source by designing a micro gas turbine which burns hydrogen gas. The turbine engine, which has a nominal output range of 10-16kW, will be cheaper and cleaner to run than current micro gas turbines and other competing technologies. The design is small, lightweight and scalable. A variety of fuels, including natural gas and automotive fuels, can also be used to meet a broad range of requirements.
“In circumstances where people rely on stable power for medical equipment or high-value products, the capability for on-site power generation is crucial. To be able to do this in an economically and environmentally friendly way which is independent of grid disturbances and ever-increasing energy prices is a game changer,” said ecoJet co-founder and director Warren Day.
The technology uses a newly patented turbine rotor, which has been specifically designed by ecoJet to significantly reduce thrust and increase torque. This significantly contributes to improving efficiency over existing MGT products, which typically have power efficiencies of less than 35 per cent.
ecoJet’s MGT does not compete with other renewable energy sources and can be combined with energy storage products or solar panels. Through such collaborations, ecoJet will be able to generate reliable energy independent of the national power grid for a range of consumers, including those in remote areas.
“We’ve already had a lot of interest from the market, including Generators Australia, who has identified an opportunity to incorporate ecoJet’s MGT technology into their product range,” said Mr Day.
The company’s co-founders – University of Adelaide graduates Warren Day, James Kim and Alexander Wright – first came together in 2015 to develop miniaturised gas turbine technology as part of their final year engineering Honours project. This project resulted in the successful development of one of the world’s smallest ultra-micro gas turbine prototypes.
The co-founders went on to be awarded a $50,000 grant from the University of South Australia and the State Government through the Venture Catalyst program before creating ecoJet Engineering in 2016. ecoJet has been working out of the University of Adelaide’s ThincLab and collaborating with the university’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) in the development of their novel turbine technology.
“The global micro turbine market is predicted to increase to around AU$452 million by 2024. ecoJet is well placed to tap into this growing market and ultimately create new jobs and contribute to economic growth in South Australia,” said Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher, MLC.