Turboden has always been oriented to innovation and R&D and has always had a strong connection with the academic research. The company is a pioneer in ORC technology thanks to the design and the manufacturing of experimental ORC plants such as the first solar thermodynamic ORC unit in 1984, the experimental heat recovery ORC power plant in 1996 and the first biomass ORC unit in 1998. Turboden has an internal Research & Development Centre, working on fluid dynamics and thermodynamics to continuously improve the performance of its ORC units. Contributions and ideas by employees, most of them engineers, are encouraged by the management and help greatly to improve Turboden plants' design and manufacturing.
More than 60 different axial turbines were designed and realized for various projects, from 2 to 6 stages reaching up to 20 MW of power and in some cases exceeding isentropic efficiency 90%.
More than 10 different working fluids have been used by Turboden to date, e.g. silicon fluids, hydrocarbons, old and new generation refrigerants, depending on the application. Over time and through an important R&D effort, Turboden has developed a deep understanding of fluid properties, thermal stability and flammability, key factors in the decision on the best fluid for each specific application. A successful ORC installation begins with the right fluid selection.
Turboden unique knowledge of fluids and attitude to innovation have allowed to increase operating temperature continuously, improving efficiency levels in power only and CHP configurations. Today turbine inlet temperature exceeding 300°C is standard technology, a further confirmation of Turboden leadership in its field.
The latest development of Turboden is in biomass application, where a new ORC unit operates at very high temperatures (about 400°C) either in CHP mode (generating medium pressure steam to feed industrial users), or in power only solution (exceeding 30% gross electric efficiency).
Turboden is the pioneer in the development of systems with Direct Exchange (DE) between hot gas (the primary heat source) and the ORC working fluids. When technically possible, avoiding the heat transfer media allows reducing the investment cost and slightly improving the ORC performances. Since 2007, Turboden has sold about 10 ORC DE plants for heat recovery from Diesel engines, gas turbine, hot gas from metallurgical production process, biomass fired plant, cement plants. Turboden has the capability to successfully deploy DE solutions to recover heat from various types of heat sources.