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Low Emissions, Renewable, Dispatchable Power Generation Using Ethanol/Natural Gas Blends

[+] Author Affiliations
Maclain M. Holton, Michael S. Klassen, Leo D. Eskin, Richard J. Joklik, Richard J. Roby

LPP Combustion, LLC, Columbia, MD

Paper No. POWER2014-32114, pp. V001T01A008; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 Power Conference
  • Volume 1: Fuels and Combustion, Material Handling, Emissions; Steam Generators; Heat Exchangers and Cooling Systems; Turbines, Generators and Auxiliaries; Plant Operations and Maintenance; Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM); Plant Systems, Structures, Components and Materials Issues
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 28–31, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4608-7
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Nearly all states now have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) requiring electricity suppliers to produce a certain fraction of their electricity using renewable sources. Many renewable energy technologies have been developed to contribute to RPS requirements, but these technologies lack the advantage of being a dispatchable source which would give a grid operator the ability to quickly augment power output on demand. Gas turbines burning biofuels can meet the need of being dispatchable while using renewable fuels. However, traditional combustion of liquid fuels would not meet the pollution levels of modern dry, low emission (DLE) gas turbines burning natural gas without extensive back-end clean-up. A Lean, Premixed, Prevaporized (LPP) combustion technology has been developed to vaporize liquid ethanol and blend it with natural gas creating a mixture which can be burned in practically any combustion device in place of ordinary natural gas. The LPP technology delivers a clean-burning gas which is able to fuel a gas turbine engine with no alterations made to the combustor hardware. Further, the fraction of ethanol blended in the LPP gas can be quickly modulated to maintain the supplier’s overall renewable quotient to balance fluctuations in power output of less reliable renewable power sources such as wind and solar. The LPP technology has successfully demonstrated over 1,000 hours of dispatchable power generation on a 30 kW Capstone C30 microturbine using vaporized liquid fuels. The full range of fuel mixtures ranging from 100% methane with no ethanol addition to 100% ethanol with no methane addition have been burned in the demonstration engine. Emissions from ethanol/natural gas mixtures have been comparable to baseline natural gas emissions of 3 ppm NOx and 30 ppm CO. Waste heat from the combustor exhaust is recovered in an indirect heat exchanger and is used to vaporize the ethanol as it is blended with natural gas. This design allows for startup on natural gas and blending of vaporized ethanol once the heat exchanger has reached its operating temperature.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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