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…)

Read More

Grid Limitations

Grid Limitations

Series: Three Main Problems With the Way We Do Power

We’re continuing in our power generation series. And today we’re talking about Problem #2, which is ‘Grid limitations’.

So what are some of the limitations of our power grid system? And how does that affect us?

The first problem is, is that it’s expensive.

Most people pay actually 50% of their utility bill is actually the cost of just getting power to your facility. And the other half is actually the cost of the energy.

The second problem is delayed access.

A lot of times we’ll have projects where we want to increase our capacity at our facility, or we want to create a new location where we need power, and there just isn’t grid access or there isn’t the capacity. This has the ability to delay projects, or significantly limit their size.

And the third issue is unreliability.

This issue is super relevant to California these days. As as we move into the dry season and there’s concerns of fires, and we see those rolling blackouts again: Power reliability is a huge issue and it’s going to cause issues around power shortages, power outages and facility shutdowns.

So what are some of the ways that Collicutt can help you with some of these limitations?

Using a technology called Combined Heat and Power, or CHP, we’re able to generate both electricity and heat onsite using a single fuel source while achieving fuel efficiencies of 93%.

Combined Heat and Power

And one of the reasons why this is so much more efficient than what currently we’re using the grid is that we’re actually getting rid of a lot of the waste along the way. We’re getting rid of that that lost heat at the point of generation, and we’re able to achieve as high as 93% overall fuel efficiency.

So Why CHP? (3 Reasons)

First reason: Cost Savings

CHO can save you significant amounts of money by generating power on site, especially when you look at the rates that we’re paying here in California. In California, we’re paying about 26 cents ($0.26/kWh) in total: 13 cents of that is the cost of transmission and the other 13 cents is the energy cost.

With CHP, you can generate power for as little as 7-9c/kWh, saving 2c/kWh in heat (fuel) costs:

Combined Heat and Power can save your money

Combined Heat and Power is an effective way of generating power and heat onsite while incurring great savings. Additionally, by having generation capabilities on site, your power reliability is increased

Second Reason: Sustainability.

in Alberta, we can save as much as 3000 tons of CO2 output per year for every megawatt of CHP installed. Why is that? Because power here in Alberta is predominantly generated by coal. And by by using clean fuel source like natural gas, salvaging the heat, offsetting the fuel source that would have provided that heat in the facility, we can get that down to a 0.2-0.25 tonnes/MWh.

Lower your facility’s environmental output

 

Let’s look in California. Even in California, where we have incredibly clean power, You can actually see a 14% reduction in CO2 output by using CHP.

Third Reason: Reliability.

By having on-site power generation capacity, the power reliability at the facility is dramatically increased.

 

Conclusion:

So, cost effective, reliable, sustainable. CHP is a great application for a lot of these problems relating to the grid limitations.

Read More