Natural gas engine-driven air compressors offer many potential benefits, including:
Lower cost of producing compressed air
Lower cost for providing steam and hot water for heating or cooling needs
Lower life-cycle cost of ownership
Attractive return on investment
Lower cost of emergency backup power equipment
Secured capability for supplying compressed air during power disruptions
Engine-driven air compressors are reliable because they combine two proven technologies —natural gas engines and rotary screw compressors — overlaid with an advanced control system. Natural gas engine-driven air compressors reduce operating costs by reducing power demand and electricity consumption, and by switching to low-cost natural gas as the primary energy source.
Many manufacturing plants need steam or hot water for plant or process heating and cooling needs. Over 70 percent of the natural gas input energy to engine-driven air compressors is available for heat recovery from the engine-jacket coolant, the exhaust of the engines and air compressor coolant. Therefore, cost of energy for producing steam or hot water is zero if all the natural gas cost is assigned to compressed air. If the cost of natural gas is assigned to the production of steam and hot water, the natural gas engine-driven air compressor can be regarded as a boiler that provides compressed air free of charge. Steam or hot water produced from the recovered heat can be used for providing plant and process heat needs or energizing absorption chillers for providing plant and process cooling needs.
Even though the equipment and maintenance costs of a natural gas driven air compressor are higher than those of an electricity driven compressor, the lifecycle cost of a natural gas driven air compressor is often much lower because of the significant savings in energy cost over its useful lifetime of more than 20 years.
DHKW technology is also more efficient than an equivalent BHKW solution coupled with an electric compressor; since the mechanical inefficiencies of producing electricity from mechanical work and then switching electricity back to mechanical work to drive air compressors has been overcome by driving the air compressor directly by a natural gas engine.
DHKW compressors are usually deployed alongside electricity driven compressors to compose hybrid compressed air stations. This provides flexibility, redundancy and best practices for any given load profile providing more energy and cost efficient compressed air.
This is where Rotonova comes in with its DHKW solutions.