The FINANCIAL — GE on September 2 announced it has demonstrated the ability to efficiently generate industrial-scale electricity using Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in a Waukesha VHP 3600GSI Enginator gas engine supplied by GE Power & Water. The demonstration was performed at the largest LPG storage facility in Colombia owned by Colgas.
The Waukesha unit, which produced 375 kWe at 1,200 rpm, belongs to Pegsa LTDA, the authorized distributor of GE’s gas engines in Colombia and Central America. The LPG fuel used in the demonstration was a typical Colombian composition, consisting of more than 50 percent propane and 45 percent butane with a lower heating value of almost 2,700 Btu/ft3 (106 MJ/m3). GE offers three Waukesha gas engine models with ratings of 375 kWe, 620 kWe and 750 kWe at 1,200 rpm (60 Hz) that operate on this composition of LPG, according to GE.
The LPG—or GLP, as it is known in Spanish—is one of Colombia’s most important energy resources that the country has. LPG is used for mostly domestic activities including as a fuel for household appliances such as ovens, stoves, heaters and other items. This fuel is a gas at room temperature but may be transported as a liquid with only a slight pressure. As a result, the increased use of LPG is becoming a profitable and innovative alternative in the oil industry for operators.
”This demonstration illustrates that using LPG instead of diesel fuel not only allows for energy and cost savings for the oil and gas companies in Colombia, but it also can reduce greenhouse emissions (NOx and CO2) by more than 75 percent. Additionally, this test demonstrates to the world, especially the African and the Caribbean regions, that LPG is a suitable gas to fuel our Waukesha gas engines, which demonstrates the flexibility, robustness and dependability of our technology,” said John Ingham, technical solutions director for Latin America for GE’s Distributed Power business.
This GE-led test seeks to capitalize on the availability of LPG in Colombia as well as its technical, environmental and cost advantages. GE’s efforts fit with the 2014–2018 National Development Plan of Colombia.
“The use of LPG in GE’s Waukesha technology opens up segment opportunities that might be valued up to 300 megawatts,” said Felipe De Gamboa, GE’s business development executive in Colombia. ”GE’s gas engine portfolio helps countries access and use more of their own local energy resources, thus increasing local energy security.”
Considering the availability of this energy resource, its costs and maintenance benefits as well as its lower environmental impact, the usage of LPG in Colombia’s electricity and transportation industries, led by GE, represents a potential milestone for greater energy security and economic development in the country.