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Small Scale Air Driven Generator

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The purpose of this thesis was to demonstrate the concept of generating electrical energy using only compressed air as a working fluid. Compressed air systems are common on naval installations, posing an enticing opportunity for small-scale electrical generation. The use of a small turbine, in this case a turbocharger, provided a constant source of shaft power which was used to spin a small permanent magnet motor. With the permanent magnet motor generating alternating current AC voltage, a bridge rectifier integrated circuit IC was used to rectify the voltage to direct current DC. The electricity generated was then stored in a 16-volt supercapacitor. While testing the system, it was discovered that more shaft power could be produced if atmospheric air was entrained into the turbine housing inlet. The effect was similar to an ejector, which is commonly used on aircraft engines to increase thrust. This research demonstrated the feasibility of combining commercially available components to harness compressed air in order to generate electricity on a small scale. This system could be utilized to offset power spikes associated with heavy equipment startup, or as an always-on emergency backup system for critical components.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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