The focus of this paper is on the part load performance of a small scale (100 kWe) combined heat and power (CHP) plant fired by natural gas (NG) and solid biomass to serve a residential energy demand. The plant is based on a modified regenerative microgas turbine (MGT), where compressed air exiting from recuperator is externally heated by the hot gases produced in a biomass furnace; then the air is conveyed to combustion chamber where a conventional internal combustion with NG takes place, reaching the maximum cycle temperature allowed by the turbine blades. The hot gas expands in the turbine and then feeds the recuperator, while the biomass combustion flue gases are used for preheating the combustion air that feeds the furnace. The part load efficiency is examined considering a single shaft layout of the gas turbine and variable speed regulation. In this layout, the turbine shaft is connected to a high speed electric generator and a frequency converter is used to adjust the frequency of the produced electric power. The results show that the variable rotational speed operation allows high the part load efficiency, mainly due to maximum cycle temperature that can be kept about constant. Different biomass/NG energy input ratios are also modeled, in order to assess the trade-offs between: (i) lower energy conversion efficiency and higher investment cost when increasing the biomass input rate and (ii) higher primary energy savings (PESs) and revenues from feed-in tariff available for biomass electricity fed into the grid. The strategies of baseload (BL), heat driven (HD), and electricity driven (ED) plant operation are compared, for an aggregate of residential end-users in cold, average, and mild climate conditions.

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