Microturbines are ideally suited for distributed generation applications due to their flexibility in connection methods. They can be stacked in parallel for larger loads and provide stable and reliable power generation. One of the main applications of microturbines is operating as the prime mover in a combined heat and power (CHP) system. CHP systems are considered to be one of the best ways to produce heat and power with efficient fossil fuel consumption. Further, these systems emit less pollution compared to separate productions of the same amount of electricity and heat. In order to optimally benefit from combined heat and power systems, the proper sizing of prime movers is of paramount importance. This paper presents a technical-economic method for selecting the optimum number and nominal power as well as planning the operational strategy of microturbines as the prime movers of small scale combined heat and power systems (capacities up to 500 kW) in three modes of operation: one-way connection (OWC) mode, two-way connection (TWC) mode, and heat demand following (HDF) mode. In the proposed sizing procedure both performance characteristics of the prime mover and economic parameters (i.e. capital and maintenance costs) are taken into account. As the criterion for decision making Net Present Worth (NPW) is used. In our analysis we have also considered the impact of carbon tax on the economics of generation. The proposed approach may also be used for other types of prime movers as well as other sizes of CHP system.

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