GCGE Commissions Waste to Power Generator, “The Green Machine” at University of Louisiana


Crowley, Louisiana – Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE), a leader in small-scale, distributed power generation from waste heat, commissioned an ElectraTherm Green Machine Waste Heat-to-Power generator for the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Cleco Power LLC (Cleco) purchased the Green Machine and associated equipment and donated it to the university to demonstrate the  versatility of the Green Machine. The location is the Cleco Alternative Energy Center on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Energy Research Complex, near Lafayette. The site utilizes thermal energy collected from two parabolic Solar Collector Assemblies (SCAs) to heat water, which is fed directly into the Green Machine. Gossamer Space Frames supplied the solar thermal array which uses 3M Solar Mirror Film which was also purchased by Cleco and donated to the university.

Green Machine waste heat to power generator is installed at the University of Louisiana

GCGE installs Green Machine at the University of Louisiana.

The Green Machine generates power at the Cleco Alternative Energy Center by harnessing hot water in solar collection panels.  Water heated int he solar array is pumped to the Green Machine to heat a working fluid that, under pressure, rotates the Green Machine’s twin screw expander to generate electricity.  The working fluid is then condensed by a water cooling tower to begin the process again in the closed loop cycle.  The green Machin generates 15-50 kWe dependin on local weather conditions.  For larger applications, the Green Machine generates up to 110 kWe.

“Our experience with the Green Machine has been successful, generating power output from the solar collectors on site over a wide range of operating conditions,” said Jonathan Raush, Senior Research Scientist for the project at University of Louisiana. “We look forward to learning more about Organic Rankine Cycle technology in tandem with solar thermal energy through our ongoing work with ElectraTherm’s Green Machine.”

The demonstration was partially funded by a grant from Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ Empower Louisiana Renewable Energy Grant Program in order to study and develop alternative energy technologies using renewable energy sources. Cleco provides support for ongoing operation of the facility, and UL Lafayette operates the solar thermal field, including running the Green Machine.

Currently, the demonstration project is operational with a primary focus on the solar arrays, while the Green Machine runs on an as needed basis. However, the Cleco Alternative Energy Center looks to operate the Green Machine more consistently while investigating methods to increase efficiency and optimize the project. “We look forward to the opportunity to generate even more power from the new 110 kWe Green Machine”, Raush said.

About Gulf Coast Green Energy.

Gulf Coast Green Energy (GCGE) is the Distributor for the Green Machine for the Gulf Coast States and other areas of the U.s. and Caribbean. GCGE placed the first Green Machine in a commercial application at the Facilities Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 2008. Since then, GCGE and ElectraTherm have pioneered the internal combustion engine (ICE) application for the technology and GCGE installed the first ICE application on a natural gas compressor ICE in 2011. GCGE and ElectraTherm also were the first to generate power from hot “produced water” from an oil well, and they were the first to apply the technology to a solar thermal array. In its distributor role, GCGE identifies projects and provides sales, service, and installation support for the technology. GCGE was formed in 2007 and has successfully completed projects for the U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Energy, and three universities in Europe and the U.S. www.gulfcoastgreenenergy.com