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WASTE TO ENERGY


Operators can take pre-emptive action and schedule an engine upgrade to coincide with planned maintenance


James Thompson reveals five smart ways to increase engine efficiency on AD plants


he UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has experienced rapid growth over the past 10 years, with a total of 648 plants now in


AD ENGINES T


UPGRADING


operation. Despite the recent increase in biomethane facilities, most of the biogas produced from AD is used to generate electricity and heat, making the combined heat and power (CHP) engines that convert biogas into usable energy a vital piece of equipment. But with many of these engines now at least five years old, what is the impact when they fail or underperform? And is there any alternative to either costly engine replacements or expensive service contracts? Te following five smart upgrades can transform any gas engine into a more efficient and profitable piece of kit.


INSTALL AN OPEN-ACCESS CONTROL PANEL Many service providers use a ‘closed’ control panel as a means to coerce the owner into a restrictive service contract. Tis means that you are potentially


42 www.engineerlive.com


looking at your engine being down for days whenever there’s a problem while you wait for the service provider to despatch an engineer to your site; often at an additional cost to you. By upgrading to an intelligent, open access control panel, an operator can


remotely take control of their own engine via their laptop, phone or tablet; instantly assess how their engine is performing; control their engine’s running parameters, adjusting them to match the biogas composition; and restart their engine themselves within seconds – without even needing to be on site.


FIT A FLEXIBLE FUEL MIXER If an engine runs too lean it can backfire, resulting in exhaust damage, vibrations and instability, and causing parts to wear out more quickly. If it runs too rich, then too much fuel will be used, the engine can overheat, and there is a risk of parts burning out.


Open access control panels give AD operators full control over their own engine


A flexible and fast-acting mixer enables an engine to handle variations in gas volumes and composition. Tis is especially important for biogas plants treating food waste, as this is a constantly changing product. Gen-C’s air/gas mixers comprise a range of flow bodies to suit every feedstock type, based on a plant’s individual gas composition. If the composition alters significantly, the


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