DTTP, Test Facility: APEP, UC Irvine

Facility Name:Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP), Distributed Technology Test Facility (DTTF). Level I [1] at UC Irvine.

Facility Location: Irvine, California

Contact Information:

Management: Dr. Vince McDonell , (949) 824-5950 x 121, mcdonell@apep.uci.edu

Technical: Richard Hack, 949 824 5950 x122, rlh@apep.uci.edu

Facility Ownership: University of California, Irvine owns site, CEC owns some site modifications.Microturbines owned by UC Irvine and/or by various interested parties 

Operational Date: August 2001. 

Staffing - Operators:

  • Professionals: 4
  • Technicians: 3

Current Funding Level:

$605,000 from CEC, $750,000 from DOD, with $1.3M in current negotiations

Primary Funding Sources:


Size of Facility:

(Estimated area in square feet or acres, number of buildings, number of test bays, fenced enclosures). Approximately 1,300 square feet, outdoors, 6 test bays enclosed by one fence

Other Facility Features:

Capability of operation of units on variety of fuel sources: 

  • Natural Gas (110 psig header)
  • Lower BTU Gas (Natural gas blended with Nitrogen and/or Carbon Dioxide)
  • Liquid fuels (Jet-A, Diesel, kerosene, others)
  • 10 therm/hr CHP fluid (glycol/water) waste heat dissipation system

Describe any specialized test equipment used:

  • National Instruments Fieldpoint based data acquisition for flows, temperatures and power,
  • Total Flow Analyzer for continuous fuel composition and fuel heating value,
  • BMI PQNode for power quality, harmonic distortion
  • Horiba Emissions Analyzer package for exhaust gas emissions measurements
  • Air Toxics Sampling System
  • B&K 2600E Spectral Acoustic Emissions Analyzer for Total Sound Power, Intensity and Level
  • Ethernet communication between cells and central computer control
  • Web based real time data monitoring of all above instrumentation/data acquisition and archival to SQL database

Grid-connected or stand-alone:

  • Grid connected – 600 Amp Service, 480 VAC (4 wire)
  • Stand-alone – 200 Amp Capability, 480 VAC, 2x55 kW Avitron K595 and 2x40 kVAR Avitron K596 Load Banks (planned)

Test Voltages and Power levels: 

480 VAC, Three phase, 4 wire, site rated for 600 amps, about 500 kVA. 

Types of loads used for testing: (Passive, active; resistive or induction and indicate sizes) 

  • Passive, site building loads, site base load is 1 MW, and Avitron resistive and inductive load banks (110 kW and 80 kVAR) (planned).
  • Load banks are capable of stepping in about 2 kW and 1 kVAR steps through manual operation of toggle switches (planned)
  • 10 therm/hr max CHP liquid waste heat dissipater

Test Activity:
(This information may be repeated for different technologies and systems) 

Test Objective:

Evaluation of Standardized Test Protocols for DG

Development of Reliability and Availability data

Technology evaluation, performance characteristics

Type of technology or system: Microturbine Generators (current installations, systems will vary):

  • Capstone Model 330 High Pressure (Liquid Fuel)
  • Capstone Model C60 (qty 4)
  • Microgen Heat Exchanger for 2 C-60 units
  • Copeland Fuel Compressors
  • Takuma TCP-30

Size of system: (See above) 

Duration of testing: Site commissioned August 15, 2001 

Test Dates: See above 

Purpose of testing:

  • Assess utility and applicability of standardized test protocols for MTGs
  • Development of data base on MTG and MTG/CHP system performance characteristics
  • Correlation of laboratory test data with field test data
  • Evaluation of field test instrumentation through cross referencing to lab equipment
  • Evaluation of heat recovery unit performance
  • Evaluation of novel distributed generation technologies.
  • Evaluation of remote monitoring and dispatch strategies in a controlled setting
  • Durability Testing for reliability, availability information
  • Experience with maintenance

 Type of data collected:

  • Operating Hours,
  • Net kilowatt hours,
  • Net kilowatts,
  • Total fuel consumption (corrected with temperature and pressure to SCF at 60 deg F)
  • Water flow rate, inlet and outlet temperature (if CHP equipped)
  • Acoustic Emissions (portable unit that can be moved among units)
  • SCAQMD certified methods for Emissions of NOx, SOx, CO2, CO, Unreacted Hydrocarbons corrected to 15% O2 (portable unit that can move among units).
  • Total Harmonic Distortion – Current and Voltage (BMI)
  • All instrument data is collected at in real time at 2 Hz via National Instruments Fieldpoint Based DAQ system.Higher speed collection of power characteristics is done “on board” the BMI unit and downloaded.
  • Stand Alone at Load Banks and MTG output terminals – Voltage, Current, kVA, kW, KVAR at one-second data intervals for specific load tests (planned)

Describe data collection software: 

  • All instrument data is collected at in real time at 2 Hz via National Instruments Fieldpoint Based DAQ system.
  • Configuration and Remote Data Collection utilizes Ethernet/ LAN web based system and National Instruments Lookout Industrial Process Control software. All access is through Ethernet/LAN web based system.
  • MTG manufacturer’s custom software for each unit (as available)
  • BMI PQNode Software
  • B&K Acoustic Analyzer software 

 Computer models used at Facility:  None 

Recent Publications/Papers/Presentations:
  • Experience with Microturbine Generator Installations in the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Panel Session, ASME Turbo Expo 2002, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 2002 (R.L. Hack, V.G. McDonell, G.S. Samuelsen).
  • The Future of Microturbine Generators, Annual Meeting of Air & Waste Management Association, Glendale, CA April 2002 (V.G. McDonell).
  • Testing of Microturbine Generators, Power Systems Conference 2002, Clemson University, March 2002 (R.L. Hack)
  • Development of Standardized Test Protocols for Microturbine Generators, DOE/CETC/CANDRA Workshop on Microturbine Applications, College Park, Maryland, January 2002.
  • Development of Test Protocols for Microturbine Generators, ASME Turbo Expo 2001, New Orleans, LA, June 2001 (V.G. McDonell)
  • Advanced Gas Turbines and Controls, International Colloquium and Exhibit on Environmentally Preferred Advanced Generation (ICEPAG), April 2001. (V.G. McDonell).
  • Environmentally Preferred Energy, International Colloquium and Exhibit on Environmentally Preferred Advanced Generation (ICEPAG), April 2001 (G.S. Samuelsen).
  • Fuel Cells, International Colloquium and Exhibit on Environmentally Preferred Advanced Generation (ICEPAG), April 2001 (J.Brouwer).
  • The Power Park Initiative – A model for the future of distributed generation.Oil and Gas Journal, Fall, 2000 (SUPPS): 58-59, 62-65. (G.S. Samuelsen and J.Brouwer).
  • Gas Turbine Advancements, West Coast Section Annual Meeting, Air & Waste Management Association, Ventura, CA, March 2000 (V.G. McDonell)
  • Advanced Gas Turbines and Controls, Cleaning the Air:The Los Angeles Experience, Houston, TX, Dec 1999 (V.G. McDonell)
  • Low Emission Gas Turbine Technology: Exploring New Technologies for Clean Air—California Air Resources Board Technology Review, Oct 1999 (V.G. McDonell)

  Schematic of DTTP testing facility

Figure 1.Plot Layout for Distributed Technologies Testing Facility (DTTF)
at UC Irvine. MTG Area A:Southern California Edison is currently utilizing this space (Operational Jan 1999).
(click here to view larger pdf version of figure 1)


MTG Area B:operational 15 Aug 01 for UC Irvine projects.

a)Layout of MTGs in DTTF Area B (11/01)

b)Controlled Heat Rejection

photo: Layout of MTGs in DTTF Area B (11/01) photo: Controlled Heat Rejection

Figure 2.Image of Test Facility.


a)Acoustic Measurement Equipment

b)Emissions Equipment (EPA Methods)

Acoustic Measurement Equipment

Emissions Equipment (EPA Methods)


c) In-line Gas Chromatograph (for real time fuel Composition)

d) Parallel Gas Metering for Instrumentation Validation

in-line gas chromatograph

Parallel gas metering for instrumentation validation


e) 600 Amp Service Panel

f) Standardized Data Acquisition Box

600 Amp Service Panel

Standardized Data Acquisition Box


g)Natural Gas Compressor (150 psig)

h)Natural/Mixed Fuel Compressor (450 psig)

Natural Gas Compressor (150 psig) Natural/Mixed Fuel Compressor (450 psig)

Figure 3.Facility Support Infrastructure.

[1] The Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) at UC Irvine has full control over the “Level I” sites.In addition, the UC Irvine Central Plant (referred to as a “Level II” site), located less than 0.5 mi from the Level I site, has made available and is pursuing with APEP installation of 1 MW worth of Distributed Generation.Finally, the University Research Park (referred to as “Level III”—a 200 acre light industrial commercial business park located less than 0.5 mi from the Level I site, is participating with APEP in the installation of distributed generation with and without CHP for purpose of reliability.The Level II and III sites offer additional potential test sites which can serve as “field tests” for distributed generation.The close proximity to the Level I site provides convenient monitoring ability.

© 2000 - 2019, National Fuel Cell Research Center, UC Irvine, all rights reserved. Site maintained by the National Fuel Cell Research Center, UC Irvine