A low-cost technology introduced by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has substantially increased the output of an Australian combustion-turbine power plant. Using the EPRI technology, air passing through compressors at the Ecogen Jeeralong Power Station in Victoria is sprayed with a fine mist of demineralized water. This cools the inlet temperatures, increasing flow through the combustion turbine. In all, 2,500 fine nozzle sprays per unit are fitted to the turbine inlet air duct. The result: a 10% increase in power output during peak summer demand. Moreover, on hot, dry summer days, when industries and households switch on their air conditioners, the station can be brought to its peak load capacity of 465 MW within a half hour. In another installation in Missouri, the Utilicorp Energy Group estimates a similar system will save the utility more than $3 million through the year 2010. "With EPRI's aid, we identified ways of raising our plant capacity at a fraction of the cost of building a new plant or buying expensive power," notes Mike Jonagon, superintendent of gas turbines at Utilicorp. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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