Gas genset controls

Gas genset controls are necessary for such complex systems. Their short history means they are not as well integrated as diesel gensets. Whereas one controller on a diesel genset controls almost every aspect of its operation, a gas powered generator usually has different controls for the ignition system, AFR system (air-fuel ratio), anti-knock protection and speed governor. If the generator is part of a CHP (Combined Heat & Power) installation there could also be controls for fans, louvres, three-way valves and pumps. It results in a system that is complex to design, commission and maintain.

Not anymore.

ComAp’s InteliSys Gas controller is a gas genset control that is mainly used in CHP (Cogeneration) and power generation applications. It works with natural gas generators as well as LPG generators.

Natural gas generators vs diesel generators

A natural gas generator works in a similar way to other generators. The major difference is the use of natural gas a fuel. Emissions from natural gas generators are significantly lower than from diesel gensets.

Diesel generators are extremely common. Diesel is considered to be a major pollutant. Diesel generators do have the advantage of extremely fast response and start up, making them ideal for emergency applications.

How does a natural gas generator work?

Natural gas generators typically work the same as their diesel counterparts. However, unlike diesel generators, natural gas generators must be able to burn a gaseous fuel. This requires a carburettor. This blends a precise amount of fuel and air and injects the mix into the engine’s cylinders.

 

How much do natural gas generators cost?

Whilst we can’t give a specific cost on a natural gas generator, there are some important factors to consider.

Natural gas generators generally cost less to build than diesel generators. With diesel pricing very high at the moment, natural gas is a cheaper fuel source. It’s also extremely important that stored diesel requires regular maintenance, or the likelihood of the generator starting when required will dramatically decrease. Learn more about fuel maintenance.

 

What are some of the applications for gas genset controls?

Combined Heat & Power
CHP is the use of a generator to produce both electricity and useful heat at the same time. It’s a more efficient use of generating electricity. This is because it uses the heat produced from the electricity generation which is usually discarded as waste heat.

CHP reduces carbon emissions and fuel consumption significantly compared to the separate means of conventional generation via a boiler and power station. CHP often offers the most significant single opportunity to reduce energy costs, improve environmental performance as well as meeting energy requirements.

STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve)
At certain times of the day National Grid needs access to sources of extra power, in the form of either generation or demand reduction, to be able to deal with actual demand being greater than forecast demand and/or unforeseen generation unavailability. STOR is the largest incremental revenue opportunity for gas-fired generators whilst having the lowest relative impact on generator run hours.

FFR (Fast Frequency Response)
Fast frequency response sites respond to failures at large power stations so must be up and running within 30 seconds. These sites offer only short term sources of power, as the power station is likely to be back up and running in 30 minutes.

The ideal system for gas powered generator sets consists of:

Learn more about the ComAp gas generator solution from this short video:

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