A turbine generator is essentially a microturbine. As its name implies, a microturbine is a small size gas turbine. Generally, anything below 500 kW can be considered a microturbine.
There are many types of microturbine. Some are used for model jet fighters, some are being developed for use in very small spy drones, and others are used to produce electricity.
When referring to the general class of microturbines, we will only be speaking of the power-producing microturbine.
Microturbines have been used in many different applications since the mid to late 1960's. Microturbines have powered cars and functioned as APU's (auxiliary power units) in aircraft and missiles.
The telephone industry used turbines to create power for remote locations in the late 60's and early 70's.
Today, microturbines are becoming well known as energy management solutions. Microturbines are being installed in many distributed generation applications allowing end-users to better manage their energy costs. The Calnetix microturbine was engineered to be a prime mover for a generator set. Originally a speed reduction gearbox was used to reduce the speed to 3600 RPM to run a generator. This concept required many moving parts and did not maximize the low maintenance costs that microturbines offer.
Microturbines developed a high-speed alternator, mounted on the turbine shaft, to increase the electrical efficiency of the turbine and reduce maintenance costs. The system generates a high frequency AC voltage, which is converted from AC to DC then back to AC. This cleans the output voltage and converts it to a useable voltage. This is accomplished by a high current inverter/ rectifier system. The entire system is computer controlled.