Reciprocating generator sets have recently been overshadowed by new alternative fuel sources including wind, solar, and fuel cells. This overshadowing is unwarranted since reciprocating generator sets have been and will be the mainstay of support in the sustainable energy space. Alternative low energy fuels have been used successfully in a multitude of worldwide installations including landfills, biogas and wastewater installations.
In fact, reciprocating generator sets are a highly efficient power source offering low capital costs and quick installation and start-up. Reciprocating generator sets routinely outperform traditional coal-fired power generation plants. Cat® gas generator sets have ratings up to 6,250 kW with efficiencies in the mid-40 percent range. On-going engine technology development programs have made reaching into the higher efficiency scale, upper-40 percent, a realistic goal.
The movement toward cleaner and more sustainable energy continues, and reciprocating generator sets can help owners meet national and local environmental regulations. For utilities that run on the decoupling model, there are often incentives to meet efficiency and emissions standards for the power supplied to customers. Because they are able to run on renewable fuels like landfill gas, biogas and coal bed methane, reciprocating generator sets give users the opportunity to generate carbon credits.
This paper will discuss the capabilities of reciprocating generator sets that can provide solutions to some of today’s most important power generation issues. Reciprocating generator sets recycle heat which is normally released as exhaust. Due to their size and portability, combined with the ability to run on renewable resources, owners are able to meet environmental regulations and contribute to national energy security.
Reciprocating generator sets are far from wasteful or inefficient. They are a mature, proven technology that will meet modern and future energy needs.