Turnkey natural gas power plant

Energas - R Schmitt Enertec G500 genset.

LOAD SHEDDING, unreliable power supply and increasing electricity costs are realities that businesses in South Africa must contend with. This was a key factor in the decision by an international manufacturer to consider its own power generation using natural gas.

Supplier of high-end and specialised equipment to the oil and gas industries in sub-Saharan Africa, Energas Technologies are delivering a complete turnkey project. It entails the supply and installation of a new gas reticulation pipeline; gas engines (gensets); a new gas-fired steam boiler; a waste-heat boiler which will use exhaust heat from the engines to produce steam; interconnecting piping; a new gas engine building and associated electrical infrastructure.

Complete solution

The gas pipeline, explains Energas Product Manager, Laetitia Jansen van Vuuren, will take gas from a new high-pressure customer metering station to the gas generator sets and steam boilers. The R Schmitt Enertec (RSE) G500 gensets will be installed in a new building that Energas will also supply.

The exhaust heat from the engines will be the energy source in a waste heat boiler. This free steam will result in a substantial annual saving in the gas bill. Projections show that a substantial saving can be realised, compared with importing electricity from the grid in the first year of operation. The accumulated saving over 10 years, based on inflation and price assumptions, is substantially more than the project value.

“With the equipment offered, the supplier and Energas can monitor the operation of the engines to ensure the most efficient operation. Very few plant operation and maintenance staff are required to oversee the gensets and steam plant,” says Van Vuuren.

“We are convinced that the solutions offered will reduce the overall energy cost to the customer, meet environmental requirements and ensure efficient operation. Our team is capable of executing the project successfully, and we are set to complete the project in December this year,” she adds.

Talking points

“The previous coal fired boiler will now be replaced with a waste heat combination steam boiler whose energy source is heat recovered from the engines exhaust but also has a gas burner. When more steam is required than what could be recovered, the additional steam will be supplied with gas as fuel source. When the waste heat boiler is being serviced or the engines are not working, there is a standby gas boiler to ensure continuous supply of steam to the plant,” she explains.

Redundancy is achieved by having four smaller engines (4x 500 kW) instead of a single large engine (1x 2 MW) which will provide a continuous power supply to the plant. When one engine is serviced, the other three can still operate. Or if the plant’s usage is low, adds Van Vuuren, one or two engines can be switched off while the others operate at a higher and more efficient load.

Why Energas?

The company has been a supplier of equipment and solutions to industry since 2001, when natural gas was introduced in South Africa via the 800 km + pipeline from the northern Mozambique gas fields.

Van Vuuren urges businesses to consider the natural gas energy route because of the documented benefits. “We believe several industries should consider own power generation with natural gas. It will reduce their energy costs and also make them more independent from the grid, especially when combined with heat recovery. They can save millions of rand over a few years and ensure that their production is not affected during load shedding,” she concludes.

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