New gas-fired engine order aims to prepare UK for intermittent future

Posted: October 27, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy, News
Tags: , , ,

Image credit: steelguru.com

Already having to find ways to try and patch up the rickety electricity supply system being developed in the UK to take over from the previously reliable one, in the name of theoretical man-made climate change. Dozens more of these ‘back-up’ gas engines would seem advisable if current renewables-obsessed energy policies continue as planned.

Statera Energy has signed an agreement with MAN Energy Solutions for the supply of ultra-efficient natural gas reciprocating engines, reports Energy Live News.

The flexible energy company says the 24 engines, which it claims are the first of their kind to be deployed in Britain, will deliver 300MW of highly efficient back-up power to the UK’s grid.

They will be installed in six new 50MW Statera power plants over the course of the next 18 months – their role is to rapidly respond to fluctuations or shortfalls in intermittent power generation.

The efficient turbines are said to be able to reach full capacity from standby within around five minutes, versus a minimum of an hour for most Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT).

Tom Vernon, Managing Director of Statera Energy, said: “Renewables are going to be the dominant source of power in the future, and while batteries will balance the grid for daily fluctuations in supply and demand, flexible gas generation will play a crucial role in efficiently guaranteeing security of supply for those prolonged periods where there is low renewable generation.”

Source: Energy Live News.

Comments
  1. Bloke down the pub says:

    Gas turbines, or gas reciprocating engines as stated?

    [reply] good point – engines
    https://microgridknowledge.com/what-is-a-reciprocating-engine-generator/

  2. tallbloke says:

    MAN are famous for their large lorry, generator and boat reciprocating engines.
    If the figures in the story are correct, these new engines will be 8.5 times more powerful than their largest advertised offering here:
    https://www.engines.man.eu/global/en/index.html

    This is their 500Kw genset

    I wonder what their efficiency looks like compared to CCGT.

  3. A C Osborn says:

    Patching up a ruined network.
    I bet they will also get favourable subsidies as well.

  4. oldbrew says:

    those prolonged periods where there is low renewable generation

    Indeed 🤔
    – – –
    It says here (with some graphs):
    If we add the particular consideration of part load efficiencies for a single machine, we can clearly see the efficiency difference between the competing technologies where the gas engines are significantly less affected by reduced load demands.

    In general, the reciprocating four-stroke gas engines show advantages in single cycle efficiency, high efficient part load operation and a very fast startup performance. Reduced load operation at 25 percent or lower is also possible if needed. This makes gas engines ideally suited to compensate for the fluctuating renewable power generation.

    https://www.power-eng.com/2016/11/17/turbines-vs-reciprocating-engines/

  5. tallbloke says:

    OB, I get that they have more flexibility in operation and fast startup. My question is about the steady baseload provision efficiency, if they weren’t having to accommodate unreliables.

  6. oldbrew says:

    TB – from the link…

    Figure 1 shows a typical comparison of a gas engine plant start-up versus gas turbine combined cycle, both from warm conditions i.e. prior shut down of more than eight hours.

    Gas Turbines, however, demonstrate superior performance under a relatively continuous stable load regime.

    We all know ‘relatively continuous’ and renewables don’t belong together 😐

  7. Gamecock says:

    ‘The efficient turbines are said to be able to reach full capacity from standby within around five minutes’

    How long does it take to get someone there to start it? What if the operator is home in bed?

    ‘Five minutes’ AFTER THEY GET THERE.

  8. ivan says:

    A few questions.
    Will these generators be able to start up under full load? They are supposed to be able to start in 5 min but in that 5 min the grid could have gone into blackout. I know our gensets in Saudi couldn’t start against full load and we had to shut down all the heavy loads so they could start. Since these are only glorified diesel engines modified to run on gas I assume they will have the same problems.

    Where are these units going to be installed, out with the wind farms or in some central location? If they are not out at the wind farms why not just build a real power generation plant? A typical HELE coal fired plant has a greater capacity and can supply base load.

    Is this just more virtue signalling by the company trying to get more taxpayer cash through subsidies?

  9. stpaulchuck says:

    now wait! the warmists and greenies told me that they had this magic battery that will store energy for an infinite time without any decay losses and then will release this energy with no more than 1% or 2% efficiency losses “any day now.” So these engines are unneeded.

  10. oldbrew says:

    ‘Black starts’ are possible with these engines apparently.

  11. Gamecock says:

    Any day, Chuck.

    They will also come from the factory fully charged, so no additional generation capacity will be needed to charge them.

  12. Graeme No.3 says:

    I am not sure that dealing with a company that cannot tell the difference between a turbine and a reciprocating engine is such a good idea. Perhaps the facts got garbled by the reporter.
    If it is a turbine (and obviously not a Closed Cycle one) then 5 minutes startup is nothing unusual, although many operators would like to start slower and reduce thermal shock, which leads to lots of downtime for maintenance. Turbines used in such a manner can be off-line for up to 85% of the time.
    And their efficiency would be between 35-40% vs 60-62% for a Closed Cycle GT.
    If it is a reciprocating diesel then presumably it is a duel fuel one, that is starts up on diesel fuel until it is hot enough to switch to gas feed.

  13. Graeme No.3 says:

    I see from Old Brew’s link that a gas fueled diesel MIGHT reach about 48% efficiency. These would seem to be the type that have been installed in South Australia since the big blackout.
    So you would sacrifice efficiency (hence greater emissions) to allow for variable renewables. I wonder if that payoff is included in all those “renewables are emission free” articles?

  14. It seems that some things need to be cleared up. Any diesel engine can be converted to run on natural gas but may need some lubrication in the cylinders. However note the ignition point of NG is much higher than diesel.To my knowledge the largest diesel engine is in a very large ship and has a power of 85MW. It is a huge engine normally run with very heavy fuel oil. I believe LNG carriers run with gas turbine engines. The normal engines which are found in hospitals and can start automatically are 1 to 2 MW. Gas turbines which run in open cycle are around 40 to 50MW. In power stations they are installed in multiple units. I think South Australia were planning on 24 units to replaced old natural gas fired boiler steam driven generators at Torrens Island.. Open cycle turbines only have an efficiency upto 36%. With closed circuit turbines the high temperature exhaust (over 550C) is fed into a waste heat boiler. Fuel can be fired additionally into the exhaust to raise the temperature of the gases to around 800-850C which is more efficient for the boiler-steam turbine combination. With a closed cycle turbine system it maybe possible to initially bypass the waste heat boiler to get a relatively quick start up at something like 50% capacity. In my reckoning (with limited experience of having seen gas fired engines, gas fired turbines, waste heat boilers and coal fired boilers) it takes less than a minute to get an engine (small to 1MW) to full load (although slower start up is preferred). A gas turbine of 40MW might be up to full load in under 10 minutes (but 30 to 60 mins is preferred). A closed cycle gas turbine plant maybe upto full load in a day and half. A closed circuit turbine plant which has a potential efficiency of about 60% (but normally less) is used for base load. In hospitals the exhaust and cooling water can be used in heat exchangers for steam and hot water. Some hospitals have multiple units and generate their own electricity and can export in times of need.

  15. tallbloke says:

    Great info CF. My home town has a Hospital in the centre with a gas turbine plant. It supplies both the hospital and adjacent (large) university with hot water for heating, as well as electricity.

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