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Text | Chapter 10 Natural Gas Fired Reciprocating Engines for Power Generation: Concerns and Recent Advances | 001
Natural Gas Fired Reciprocating Engines for Power Generation: Concerns
and Recent Advances
Sreenath B. Gupta, Munidhar Biruduganti, Bipin Bihari and Raj Sekar Additional information is available at the end of the chapter
Concerns about the dwindling US energy deposits, uncertainties about the global energy supply chains, human health concerns, Green House Gas emissions and other environmental concerns have brought energy efficiency and clean technologies to the forefront. The energy supply matrix for the United States (see Figure 1) is a diverse mix - fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum are interspersed with other traditional and non-traditional resources. Out of these, due to its availability in abundance, easy transportation through pipelines, and clean burning nature, natural gas features prominently with total annual consumption of 22.5 Quads (1 Quad = 1 x 1015 BTU), i.e., 23.2% of the total US energy consumption. Approximately a quarter of this natural gas is used for electricity generation by peaking power plants and various distributed generation centers spread throughout the country. Additionally due to the fact that high efficiency (as high as 80%) can be achieved via. Combined Heat and Power (CHP), the fraction of natural gas used in Distributed Generation continues to increase.
For centralized power generation, the prime movers of choice are large gas turbines as they offer very low maintenance. These turbines tend to be > 20 MW in size and are typically 30% efficient. For most of the distributed power generation applications, the prime mover requirements are smaller than 20 MW and the choices remain reciprocating engines, fuel cells and microturbines (See figure 2). Fuel cells are low-polluting, and highly efficient ( 60%), but often require very high capital costs. Microturbines, on the other hand, are low- polluting but have very low efficiencies (30%). Reciprocating engines offer very low capital costs and further have very high efficiencies (42%) but NOx emissions are a concern. Also, the maintenance requirements are higher as compared to the other two prime movers.
© 2012 Gupta et al., licensee InTech. This is an open access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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