Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 Mar 2009

POWER SUPPLY: Pigs And Generation


Recent Western Cape Business News

AT first glance, pigs don‘t seem to have much to do with power. However, a closer look reveals that pig manure contains high-energy methane-rich gas. Combined with crops from field cultivation, these renewable raw materials can be fermented in biogas plants. The controlled process results in the generation of combustible biogas.

Supplier of engines and complete propulsion and power systems in Southern Africa, MTU South Africa says it is working on gas generation applications from renewable raw materials. MTU will provide decentralised power systems, assisting with the uncertainties of direct electricity supply in South Africa, by generating energy onsite.

At its Augsburg manufacturing site, MTU Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems is working hard on finding solutions to provide safe, environmentally friendly power throughout the world. Renewable energies from biogas plants represent a combination of the benefits of CO2-neutral, non-mains power and heat generation systems capable of providing a base supply.

The biogas storage tank ensures that energy is constantly available. In contrast to other technologies for the use of renewable energy, biogas plants do not depend on the wind and the sun. Combustion releases only the amount of CO2 that would be released during photosynthesis of the energy plants or the fodder plants for the pigs. The refinement of the biomass through fermentation simply rounds off the process as nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Combined heat and power units convert the bound energy in the gas into useful power and heat through highly efficient combustion in accordance with the cogeneration principle. A gas-powered engine supplies the mechanical energy which is converted into electric energy via a generator. Some of the heat discharged during combustion is required to heat the fermentation tank. The rest is used to heat neighbouring buildings such as schools, hospitals or public swimming pools. Taking engine heat utilization into account, overall efficiency levels of up to 92 % can be achieved. Optimum energy use is made of the hot water at temperatures between 85 °C and 105 °C.

In tropical or sub-tropical climate zones, the resultant heat can be converted into cooling power through absorption refrigeration. Thermal compression of the coolant is at the core of such refrigeration systems. By extending the power/heat cogenera-tion process to include cooling (tri-generation), compact generation units from MTU Onsite Energy will also be used for air-conditioning applications.

MTU Onsite Energy aims to access all systems via modern communications technologies. In the case of a power outage, the MTU service centre can take over virtual control of the system to ensure uninterrupted and economically efficient plant operation.

Using Series 400 six-cylinder or twelve-cylinder engines, MTU Onsite Energy Gas Power Systems supplies biogas gensets with electrical outputs from 120 to 370 kW. In addition to operating with biogas, these systems can also function on sewage gases, landfill gases or other gases containing methane. For low-emission natural gas operations, the Series 400 engines can generate from 120 to 404 kW.

The V8, V12, V16 and V20 engines in the Series 4000 round off the product range with outputs between 750 and 2150 kW.

A separate gear solution allows the newly-introduced Series 4000 to be used in both 50 and 60-Hertz applications.

Many years of experience and expertise in the gas power systems sector have been successfully applied to produce over 2 200 Series 400 systems and around 150 Series 4 000 units.


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