Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Engines Can Turn Waste into Value

Commercial customers all over the world are discovering the new ways to capture and use gas to meet energy needs through onsite power generation, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One prime example is General Electric’s Jenbacher gas engines.

In Australia, the Jenbacher gas engine business has contributed to several of the country’s largest coal mine methane projects, including a power plant commissioned in 2008 operating on Jenbacher coal mine methane gas engines. The methane-rich gas coming from the mine is used to generate onsite power at Anglo Coal’s Moranbah North mine in the state of Queensland, helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas that escapes into the atmosphere. Through the capture and use of mine gas, the Moranbah North project will deliver significant environmental benefits, reducing about 1.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

In Mexico, Jenbacher engines are at the heart of a newly expanded landfill gas-to-energy project, hailed by President Felipe Calderón as “a model renewable energy project” for Latin America. The 12 MW project converts gas from the Simeprode landfill near Monterrey into electricity, which is used to support the solid waste facility’s operations as well as Monterrey‘s light-rail system during the day and city street lights at night.

In a sprawling commercial tomato greenhouse outside of Amsterdam, the world’s first commercial 24-cylinder gas engine is in operation. The Royal Pride Holland project is made possible by two Jenbacher units, which were installed in a pilot project to demonstrate the engine’s commercial viability for the horticultural industry. It highlights the increased emphasis on combined heat and power in Europe as the region increases its focus on energy efficiency.

Thousands of miles to the east, Jenbacher gas engines are at work in a far different way, using biogas created from chicken manure to generate power and heat at a large chicken farm north of Beijing.

The plant is the first of its type in China, and could pave the way for similar applications in the future. Providing 14,600 MWh of electricity per year, the project is designed to help reduce suburban electricity shortages. By using the biogas for power generation instead of coal, the new project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 95,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per year.