Grupel’s cogeneration projects involve the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single source, which means that, at the same time that electricity is produced, the heat generated (which would normally be wasted) is also used to provide steam or hot water for space heating or cooling or other useful processes.
This model has many advantages both for environmental responsibility and profitability, since, by harnessing thermal energy, it requires less fuel, reduces emissions of gases that are toxic to the atmosphere and avoids energy losses, increasing the performance of the installation by 20% or 30%.
Generator sets based on this concept of energy generation have, therefore, some particular features:
- they are oriented towards continuous energy production (24 hours/365 days);
- they normally use fuels that optimize operating costs (OPEX), such as natural gas and biogas;
- must be easily transportable to where these fuel sources are available;
- have a variety of extras that make it possible to optimize their operation.
Grupel’s Engineering team works to meet the requirements and demands of a sector in constant growth and mutation, with challenges regarding sustainability and efficiency increasingly present and taken into account.
This leads to the search of varying fuel sources and more efficient and sustainable production models, aligned with the challenges of today’s world.
As a result of this research and innovation work, Grupel has delivered two major cogeneration projects serving applications as different as an industry in Mexico and a livestock farm in Spain.
Naturally, the two solutions are very different, as they are totally adapted to the specifics of the applications they serve, considering the equipment they are composed of and the type of operations they perform.
The Mexico project consists of a 1500kW containerized generator set, with MTU engine powered by natural gas, operating in continuous mode to support an industrial unit.
It was designed and carefully prepared to meet the needs of the installation, both in terms of thermal requirements and electrical power, with some extras that allow it to perform its work efficiently and effectively:
- Heat exchangers, a tubular one for the exhaust circuit and a plate one in the cooling circuit;
- Data acquisition and control system to ensure correct operation;
- Gas supply ramp and associated shut-off valves;
- Exhaust catalytic converter for NOx emission reduction and evacuation stack;
- Associated ventilation, electrical room cooling and fire safety systems.
On the other hand, the project installed in Spain consists of a 100kW generator, with a Baudouin engine (biogas model) and Grupel alternator, which operates in continuous mode and in parallel with the electrical grid to support a livestock farm.
It runs on biogas produced on the farm, in a biodigester with a capacity of 1,500,000 liters. It is a high-performance, robust project, customized according to the context and has specific components:
- Heat exchanger and plate heat exchanger to use the heat from the exhaust gases and engine combustion to heat the water, which can be used in the process of obtaining and filtering the gas in the biodigester;
- Gas ramp with pressure control, installed upstream of the engine supply.
Despite the clear differences between these projects, in both cases, cogeneration was the most appropriate model for their contexts, guaranteeing an efficient and more environmentally responsible supply, as well as profitable performance. One more example of Grupel’s work in adapting its solutions to different requirements and demands.