Low emissions: what this means and IBT’s oil-free solution


Energy production involves the generation of pollutants, including greenhouse gases, which are released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

EU directives have set European targets to be achieved by 2030: Italy should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions levels by 43% compared to 1990 levels. We must decarbonise our world!

In short, to achieve these results, we need to save electricity!
Therefore, within the energy system, the National Integrated Energy Plan assigns a fundamental role to energy efficiency and renewables.

Energy efficiency is ALSO through technological innovation!

How technological development will curb climate change.
We tell you about the history and development of what remains an absolute technological innovation.
For over 30 years, Capstone has been developing, selling and servicing cogeneration solutions for the combined production of electricity and heat, efficiently meeting the energy needs of its customers around the world. Capstone’s most important patent is for oil-free technology: derived from aerospace technology, it is the result of over ten years of research that has led to the complete absence of lubricating oil inside the turbines. This is possible thanks to the use of special air bearings that support the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact. These bearings operate on a film of air generated by specific airfoils placed on the turbine shaft. This means that friction only occurs during the start-up and shutdown phases of the machine. Moreover, friction phenomena are stress-free as they are cushioned by a specific support structure that guarantees the durability and functionality of the mechanical parts over time. It is therefore a very clean installation that does not require any maintenance related to lubricating oils.

The IBT Group uses international partners who are leaders in their field, such as Capstone Turbine Corporation, to offer solutions that boast emissions well below the legal limit thanks to their advanced and patented technologies, such as Capstone’s oil-free turbine.
The use of Capstone turbines saves on the energy costs of a hospital facility, for example, without affecting the continuity and quality of the self-produced energy and, above all, meeting the regulatory and social requirements of environmental and economic sustainability in the present, as well as in the future.
This is possible thanks to the special features of Capstone technology, which is fully aligned and has always been integrated into the paradigms of environmental sustainability (e.g. the total absence of lubricating oils and cooling liquids). The only moving part of these systems is the shaft joint to the turbine and generator, which “turns” on air bearings, thus without any friction, at very high speeds. The generator is cooled by the flow of air from the turbine’s intake duct. It is thanks to these unique and industrially patented technical features that the Capstone turbine requires neither lubricating oil nor coolant. The result is a very low rate of polluting emissions into the atmosphere, the lowest available today (NOx less than 18 mg/mc and CO < 50mg/mc without the aid of catalysts).
In the various operating modes envisaged, the machine can modulate the electrical power supplied from 0% to 100% according to the electrical demand of the user. This allows a reduction in consumption, adapting the machine to the real energy needs of the moment. Thanks to the absence of consumables such as lubricating oil and cooling liquids for the turbine, there is a reduced need for maintenance, which means very little downtime. Another aspect of environmental sustainability derives from the total absence of vibrations, which means that the Capstone turbine package can also be installed on the roof as well as externally, as it is designed to be exposed to the elements without fear. Finally, noise emissions are low: < 65dBa @ 10 m as overall free field average sound pressure.


  • The lack of lubricating fluids, replaced by air-bearings
  • The lack of coolant for the generator, which is cooled by the air flow from the turbine intake duct
  • The consequent need for no catalysts, as Nox levels are well below the minimum levels set by regulations
  • The enormous modulation capacity of the turbine, which adapts instantly to the user’s ACTUAL electricity demand.
  • The technical aspects developed by Capstone Turbine together with IBT’s know-how in plant design are the perfect combination to contribute to the decarbonisation process.

The figures confirm the remarkable decarbonisation results achieved by the IBT Group’s plants in favour of environmental sustainability: in 20 years of activity, 80,000 tonnes of CO2 have not been released into the atmosphere, while 6,000,000 hours of operation have been achieved by the more than 250 Capstone turbines installed and more than 200 absorption chillers installed, for a total of 12,000,000 hours in operation.