How to Implement a Fuel Blending System

Air quality management districts, AQMDs, are continually updating their standards for reciprocating engines and the resulting emissions. Although the changes are made with the best intentions (e.g., reducing airborne pollutants), these changing standards often impose large technical challenges and require equipment upgrades or replacements which adds unexpected costs for business and industries.

Wastewater Dilemma

This is the situation one of our wastewater treatment customers found themselves in when a change in their local AQMD regulations instigated a large change in what was allowed for natural gas combustion.

This wastewater facility had three large CHP systems that used off-gas from the wastewater (produced through a digester process) as the main fuel source and natural gas as a backup fuel source. The CHP system provides electrical power for the plant, electrical power for the utility grid, and heat for the digester. The system had a combined electrical/mechanical efficiency of around 90% while removing GHG emissions from the environment so it was critical that it continue to run!

The challenge that the new AQMD ruling created was that the allowable natural gas consumption in their engines was changing from 100% to only 49%. However, the engines were originally designed with a dual fuel system that could run on either 100% natural gas or 100% digester gas but not a blend of the two fuels.

This change in allowable fuel ratios caused a big issue with the plant operations! (more…)

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The Importance of Load Bank Testing

How do you know your emergency generator will work when the power grid fails? You have invested all this money in a back up generator but what assurance do you have that it will work when you need it most?

We have all heard the stories of businesses that have had to stop production or send employees home because of power failures. Then there are the situations where power failure puts the organization at risk of loosing their inventory or even the extreme case of risk of life at a health care or elder care facility.

The loss of power for any business or organization is not an acceptable outcome!

What Can You Do

So what can you do to make sure your back up generator is ready for use?

One of the best things you can do to ensure your emergency generator is ready for service is to complete a periodic load bank test. A load bank test evaluates the generator’s performance by simulating up to 100% of the generator load within a controlled environment.

What Does Load Banking Do For Your Generator?

 When a load bank is performed on your generator it:

  1. Validates Overall Generator Functionality – Completing a load bank test allows the generator to run under a load and validates all of the components of the generator. Voltages and currents are monitored along with temperatures and other critical operating parameters.
  2. Burns Off Unburnt Fuel – The generator has the opportunity to remove any unburnt fuel that may have accumulated in the DPF, a condition called wet stacking.
  3. Removes Carbon Build Up – The generator needs to run at operating temperature to allow for any carbon build up to burn off from injectors, rings pistons, in the DPF, etc.
  4. Checks Coolant System – Load Banking allows for the validation of proper coolant temperatures and the radiator functionality while the generator is at full load.

Take Action

Rather than just assuming that your backup generator will work properly when the power fails, take action now and have your generator load banked. Technicians will monitor all aspects of your generator during the load bank process and identify any areas needing adjustment or repair. This will prepare your emergency generator for any utility power outage!

Call us if you need any assistance with load banking. We have factory trained technicians and load banks ready to provide service to any make or model of generator!

Also, check out these related posts for more generator maintenance tips:

  1. Top 6 Reasons Why Your Emergency Generator Will Fail to Start
  2. What is an ATS and Why Should You Care
  3. Preserving an Engine
  4. How a Pre-Lube System Can Save You $500,000
  5. How to Avoid DPF Failure with These Easy Steps
  6. The Number 1 Reason Your Generator will Fail

 

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Diesel Particulate Filter

Avoid DPF Failure with These Easy Steps

A Diesel Particulate Filter, or DPF for short, is a special filter on the exhaust system of a diesel standby generator. This filter removes particulates from the exhaust of a diesel engine and entraps them so that they do not pollute the air. This pollution control device is a critical component in your emergency backup generator and it is mandated, permitted, and controlled by the local AQMD in California.

There are thirty-five AQMDs, or Air Quality Management Districts, within the state of California and they regulate the air quality management guidelines within their designated area in the state. Each AQMD has their own requirements for air quality so a generator equipped with a DPF in one AQMD may not be mandated in another.

Like most components of a generator, DPFs require preventative maintenance measures to ensure a long operating life. Failure to implement basic operating procedures and maintenance measures may result in the premature failure of your DPF, generator downtime, and cost you tens of thousands of dollars in repair bills!

But, before we get to those important details, we will dive into the specifics of what a DPF is, how it operates, and why it is required. (more…)

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What is ISO-8528-1 and How Does It Impact You?

ISO-8528-1 is the International Standard Organization’s standard for “reciprocating internal combustion engine driven alternating current generating sets.” Now that is a mouthful!

More simply stated, ISO-8528-1 is an internationally recognized standard for engine powered generators.

So why should you care about this and how does it impact you? (more…)

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Don’t Make This Mistake When Buying Your Power Generator!

In today’s world of infinite features, gadgets, and widgets it can be difficult for a consumer to cut through the noise and truly differentiate products!

It seems that the more expensive the product, the tougher this differentiation becomes! As the initial purchase price climbs, the temptation for the purchaser is to make a selection based solely on the initial purchase price.

However, this is often a big mistake!

The Big Mistake!

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The #1 Reason Your Generator Will Fail

As we discussed in a previous post, the most common cause of emergency generator failure is battery issues!

Your emergency generator relies on electric power to start. This electric power is supplied by the generator’s battery. If the battery has failed or lost its charge, your generator will not start!

The Four Most Common Reasons for Battery Failure

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How a Pre-Lube System Can Save You $500,000

Most people know that one of the quickest ways to destroy an engine is to run it without oil. An even faster way to destroy your engine is to ramp it up to full load in ten seconds or less without proper lubrication!

Did you know that most emergency generators are configured to ramp up to full load within seconds when there is a utility power failure?

If your generator has not been properly maintained or does not have an oil pre-lube system installed to ensure that the engine is always lubricated and ready for a fast start, your investment here may be at risk!

$500,000 Mistake

Over the years, we have helped a number of customers whose large emergency generators have been compromised because the engines have been inadequately lubricated.

In many of these cases we were looking at 1 MW or larger gensets where the customer had spent over $1M on their emergency power systems. The engine replacement on these units was pushing $500,000. Fortunately, we were able to repair the compromised engines at a fraction of the complete replacement cost.

But it begs the question, what can you do to avoid this situation and the costly repair that goes along with it? (more…)

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Preserving an Engine

Preserving an Engine

Have you considered the affects of not preserving your equipment before putting it into long term storage?  Or “Parking it along the fence?” as so many people refer to it.  How many of you have started up a unit after storing it and noticed it was no running as it was before or experienced a catastrophic failure?  Maintaining spare equipment and redundant machinery in a prime state, ready for operation is critical.

Storing Equipment That Has Recently Been Operable

1. Clean the engine of any dirt or debris.

2. Get the engine running so the oil is hot.  Drain and install clean oil filters.

3. Preserve the engine with preservative oil.  Remove rocker arm covers and gear train covers. Spray these with a preservation oil.  For gas engines, remove spark plugs and spray preservation oil into each cylinder.  Spray each spark plug and install back in place.

4. Seal all intake, exhaust and any other open ports.

5. Relieve the tension on belts to prevent fatigue and deterioration.

6. Spray or brush preservation oil on exposed machined surfaces.  Remove fuel from filters and drain fuel injection pump.  Grease rod threads, joints, linkages, etc.  Remove batteries and store indoors on a trickle charger.  Place a waterproof cover over the equipment.

7. If possible, rotate the alternator on a monthly basis.  Prior to being put back into service, all alternators and switchgear should be visually inspected and have its insulation tested using a megger.

8. When placing the equipment back into service, all equipment must be removed of its preservation oil and be filled with normal, manufacturer approved oil.  Coolant should be tested and an analysis performed.

Engine manufacturers may have other or a variant of steps to be performed.  Always consult the operation and maintenance manual for the proper preservation procedure.

How Can We Help?

The best way to avoid a costly failure perform the steps above – or consult Collicutt Energy for a quote to perform a preservation or de-preservation on your equipment.

During this preservation, we can perform an inspection on the equipment.  This inspection would identify suggested repairs to occur either now or when the equipment is planned to be placed back in operation.  Knowing the condition of your equipment and ensuring it does not further deteriorate saves repair costs in the future.

Take Action

Take action now and schedule an inspection and/or preservation today to ensure that your equipment is ready for when you need it!

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What is an ATS and Why Should You Care

Did you know that your emergency power system has one crucial point of failure that is completely independent of your emergency generator? If this component fails, your generator will not even know it needs to start!

This single point of failure is called an ATS or Automatic Transfer Switch.

An ATS monitors the electrical power from your utility and, when it detects a power grid failure, it signals your emergency generator to start. It then switches your facility from utility power to generator power. When it detects that the utility power is restored, it switches back to the utility and signals the emergency generator to shut off.

Although it is a critical component in your emergency power system, ATS maintenance is often neglected for various reasons. However, this neglect will eventually result in a failure to transfer power when you need it most!

Reasons That an ATS Fails to Transfer Power

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