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Bi-Fuel – Get Your Green On!

It may sound like a big cliché for me to say, however, now really is an exciting time to be involved with generators and engines. I say this with only the up-most sincerity knowing full well that the current trend of generators could continue on its current trend of more conventional diesel models. However, there are also a number of exciting new options that have created optimism in the industry. More specifically, I am referring to the exceptional advances in generator and engine technology that have made appearances in the industry as of late, and that have subsequently begun to provide some exciting new options for many users. One of the most notable is the bi-fuel engine generator. I strongly believe that it has the potential to change generators for the better. For those unfamiliar with a bi-fuel system, it is a type of diesel engine ignited through compression and operates on both diesel and natural gas combustion, but with a strong emphasis on the latter. The simultaneous usage of natural gas and diesel give bi-fuel generators more adaptability and efficiency for users when relying on the power source for a number of different functions. It is hard to argue that the bi-fuel engine generator is not a bright light in our industry and represents a more eco-conscious awareness as well.

A Little More About Bi-Fuel Engine Capabilities

The bi-fuel system provides a reliable and more environmentally friendly method of standby power than traditional diesel generators. Upon ignition, the bi-fuel generator runs off of only diesel fuel, which is most of the extent of the fuel source’s involvement within the generator. Although, as the bi-fuel engine system continues to run, it predominantly operates on natural gas at around 90 percent, with the remaining10 percent coming from diesel. As you can likely imagine, this detachment from diesel fuel allows users to rely less on the fuel source and more on natural gas, which is easier to store. Additionally, bi-fuel allows generators to extend run times through the process. This is especially useful for those that rely on generators, diesel in particular, during long power outages, such as a storm or other natural disaster. While cost may be a concern for some thinking about buying a bi-fuel generator, the cost of such models is only incrementally higher than conventional diesel generators, and is generally well-worth the extra expense.

Get Your Green On

Because bi-fuel predominately uses natural gas opposed to traditional generators, which mostly, if not entirely, run on diesel, they are considered by many experts to be “greener.” Natural gas is cleaner burning and therefore releases fewer emissions into the air when in use. This is a significant improvement from diesel, which comparably does have higher amounts of emissions. What’s more, bi-fuel generators let off 30 percent fewer nitrogen oxides emissions and 50 percent less particle matter compared to diesel models.

Whether you are looking for a generator with improved performance, or a model that can help your company get its green on, I personally recommend the bi-fuel option. It is easy to say that it will be the wave of the future for our industry, but I truly believe that you will be hearing about bi-fuel a lot in the future. Because it has the potential to improve so many aspects of how generators improve backup power supplies and other useful functions, there is enormous potential there. If you are at all hesitant about the bi-fuel generator, you should at least give it some consideration as it can save your facility in a pinch, and help improve the environment in the process.

For more information on WPP bi-fuel solutions, see our bi-fuel FAQ sheet.

The Growth In Argentina Is Exploding!

In a country emerging as a large oil and gas producer, there is undoubtedly a need for energy. In the case of Argentina, there is no difference. The country’s shale plays have tremendous potential for companies to expand, businesses to start-up, and for investors to prosper. At Worldwide Power Products, as a company, we are excited to be increasing our involvement in Latin American counties such as Argentina. We will provide diesel generators, engines, and many other types of power products to aid companies in tapping the shale plays scattered throughout Argentina’s basins.

In some ways you could say we are looking to fulfill Argentina’s demand for energy, and while we may only play a small role in that fulfillment, the large growth in population will definitely require further power generation to the region. In addition, major petroleum companies are expanding, resulting in a virtual explosion of oil drilling throughout the country, also requiring more readily available energy.

Argentinian Shale

Undoubtedly, the U.S. has had its fair share of recent shale plays, but Argentina is also becoming a noteworthy member of the shale community. So noteworthy in fact, Argentina has found itself third on a list — compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration — of countries with the most shale gas potential, behind only the U.S. and China. More specifically, the vast majority of shale oil reserves sit under the Neuquén Basin, which is located in Western Argentina, spanning much of the Rio Negro, La Pampa, and Mendoza provinces. Thus far, upwards of nearly 150 million barrels of oil and significant amounts of gas have been found leading a large number of people in the industry flocking to the area.

With such big oil potential in Argentina, it only makes sense that the various shale plays will need back up power generation. There could be all the oil in the world sitting in Argentina, but with no power to tap into it, there really is no point. This is where Worldwide Power Products comes in — providing natural gas generators and other essential power products to companies in the area.

Private Investors

Additionally, the country’s Ministry of Federal Planning has vamped up its enticement of foreign companies to tap into shale plays in Argentina. While some companies, such as Repsol, out of Spain, have been met with some government intervention, a lot still remains to be seen on how the government will react to the sudden shale boom in the country. There definitely seems to be mixed signals coming out of the Argentine government, with one cabinet member calling for the nationalization of YPF, one of the country’s largest oil and gas companies, thus potentially dramatically increasing the governments involvement with the country’s oil and gas production. It is uncertain weather this will actually happen or if it is merely an idea that will fail to find fruition with little or no resistance to drilling activities.

For private investors, the best way to get in on Argentina’s shale action is to put your money in a company like Apache. In just the last six or seven years, the company has transformed into one of the major oil and gas companies in the country. In fact, it is currently the fifth largest with involvement in over 30 oil fields spanning nearly four million Argentine acres and four of the country’s basins.

Just as remote areas of the U.S. have recently seen a boom in shale drilling, similar desolate areas of Argentina have been experiencing a similar boom. Oil and gas companies have been setting up shop in all the major shale basins throughout the country and private investors have been jockeying to invest in companies faced with the least amount of government resistance. Undoubtedly, it will be fun to see how the region develops, but I guess we will just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

UFOs at Eagle Ford Shale ??

For those that haven’t heard the buzz about UFO sightings in the Eagle Ford Shale drilling area, it has created quite a stir among residents and alien enthusiasts alike. Personally, I find the thought of a UFO to be fun, of course that could change pretty quickly if I come face-to-face with one. From what I have heard, these sightings are difficult to tell how close or real they really are.

The thought of a UFO sighting may sound terrifying to some, but I welcome any sort of extraterrestrial visitors to Eagle Ford Shale or any other drilling spot. In fact, if their ship (or whatever sort of craft they fly through the universe on) breaks down, I will gladly sell them a few generators to power back up. Of course, I doubt they deal in dollars or any other type of earthly currency, but I guess we will just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

The most recent UFO sighting in the southern region of Texas explains a lot — with all the new residents traveling to the area for drilling work, it is only fitting that an aircraft full of aliens wants to join the party. They must have felt left out.

The Power of Being Alien

On several occasions during starry October nights, drillers in the Eagle Ford Shale region spotted UFO lights in the sky above. Then, to elevate their story, a surveillance camera also spotted an object resembling a flying saucer with several distinct and blaring lights.

Sorry, but I just can’t help think a flying saucer like that must require an immense amount of power generation. I sure hope they have a backup power source, or perhaps a few diesel generators on-board. What am I saying? They probably have a more efficient energy source that never fails. What I would give to be an alien for a day.

With the recent influx in UFO sightings, all of the new residents of La Salle County must be wondering if the aliens are trying to get in on some of the oil drilling action in the area, especially since one of the sightings was directly over a drilling site.

Are The Sightings For Real?

For those wondering about the validity of the UFO sightings, many of the cell phone and surveillance pictures and videos have passed numerous authenticity tests proving they were not falsified in any way. Which leads to the conclusion that someone is either investing a lot of money on an extremely elaborate prank, or the sightings are a legitimate UFO.

One of the most interesting things about the numerous UFO sightings in the Eagle Ford Shale area is that not one person has reported them to the authorities. The La Salle County Sheriff’s Department has no reports on file of people calling about UFO sightings in the area.

Why Drilling Sites?

Once the initial shock of the UFO sightings wore off, many people in Eagle Ford Shale began to speculate about the symbolism behind the UFO sightings over drilling sites. While some people say the sight of a UFO could easily be compared to a simple flicker of city lights or a military aircraft flying overhead, others insist that UFOs are seen over drilling fields for a reason.

Like the other remote sightings, UFOs are often spotted in desert areas, many of which surface over oil wells. This leads some theorists to believe that the UFOs are looking to fuel up their spaceships with crude oil. I still think UFOs run on some power source we don’t even know about yet, but I’ll leave the speculation to everyone else. Another interesting correlation is that almost all UFO sightings are near bodies of water, which suggests aliens and/or their ships need water. Are we sounding like a conspiracy theorist website yet?

Whether you live around Eagle Ford Shale or are just interested in UFOs, keep your eye out for the buzz about UFOs in the area. And if you find one that breaks down, give us a call and we will hook them up with a few generators. For the record, Worldwide Power Products does not judge or discriminate against extraterrestrials.

Inadequate Power Generation – The Nigerian Power Sector

For the last several decades, the Nigerian power supply has been an ongoing issue. Over this time, excessive amounts of time, effort, and most notably, money have been spent to secure an adequate power supply to Nigeria. However, unsuccessful governmental policies, among other failures, have fallen in the way of installing effective energy sources and power supply to the area.

To date, there have been several major barriers to achieving an adequate power supply in Nigeria. A significant hindrance has been the amount of capital (money) needed to produce a constant power supply in the country. More specifically, Nigeria has endured a great deal of trouble securing enough funding to develop any sort of new energy sources, or maintain old ones. Thus, making it extremely difficult to find steady power throughout the country.

As the Executive Vice President of Worldwide Power Products, I realize not only the importance of viable energy sources, but also the difficulty in achieving such a steady supply. In addition to the struggle to secure funding for adequate power sources in Nigeria, the fight for proper power generation is also an issue. In contrast to countries, similar in size, or even larger, Nigeria and its more than 150 million citizens live with an entirely insufficient power generation supply.

While the country of Nigeria has a limited number of power plants still active, they are largely outdated and produce power extremely inefficiently. With a number of the country’s power plants dating back multiple decades, it is in dire need of updated hydro and thermal plants to improve all reliable energy sources. What’s more, additional issues, such as vandalism, lacking preventative maintenance and infrastructure bottlenecks, among other hindrances, largely play into the country’s energy issues. Also, there have been an unjust number of injuries and deaths to qualified sector personnel that have set the country back, along with its increasing dependence on foreign aid.

Furthermore, sector reform is a major issue for the Nigerian power supply. While no such reform has taken place as of yet, certain aspects have been targeted for improvement by the government. Areas of interest, such as, improving regulation within the industry, an increased framework to encourage the involvement of private investors, as well as, the enticement of industry competition among energy companies, are all among the Federal Ministry of Power’s top concerns. Another area of interest for sector reform is the implementation of tariffs on utilities that more accurately reflect the market, and subsequently lure private investors to take notice.

Nigeria’s current transmission network is lacking in a very basic way. The network is currently failing to transmit whatever power is being generated from the current sources to the intended destinations. Additionally, there have been an exceedingly high number of transmission loses, which certainly does not help the issue, in fact it only worsens the situation.

Another substantial challenge for Nigeria’s power sector is the ineffective method of billing and meter tracking. This issue is at the core of the Nigerian power sector. Without proper billing and metering procedures, it is practically impossible for there to be any further development and progress in the sector. Due to such continued inefficiency of billing and meter tracking, resulting in a consistent loss of revenue, the distribution companies (DISCOS) are not only failing to make any sort of profit, they are potentially losing substantial amounts of income, and investors are subsequently without any ROI.

As a proponent for improving the Nigerian power sector, myself, as well as, Worldwide Power Products feel that more should be done to make the necessary improvements. There needs to be a united front between the DISCOS, the generation companies (GENCOS), private investors, and the government, in order to see change. In other words, Nigeria needs help to supply adequate power to the nation as a whole. From DISCOS, such as Yola Distribution Company, to GENCOS, such as Sapele Generation Company, and agencies, including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the power sector needs reform.

Without question, the Nigerian power sector is in need of new and improved energy sources; diesel generators and natural gas generators are simply not going to meet the demand that certain parts of the country have, and currently rely upon. Not to mention, the money involved in diesel generator maintenance and the preventative maintenance involved is simply inefficient. While, the current Nigerian administration and other forms of government are making it a top priority to work on the challenges of policy reform to ultimately tap newer and better energy resources, increased capital is still greatly needed to make such a reality.

Luckily, the Federal Ministry of Power is taking on the many issues involving the country’s power supply. However, the key to the future success of the Nigerian power sector will likely depend a great deal on securing private investment funding. With the proper policies in place and the continued avocation by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Ministry of Power will hopefully get the power sector on track.

To this point, the Nigerian power sector has used government mandates, such as the 2001 National Electric Power Policy, and the more recent Power Sector Reform from Summer 2010, but the country needs more private investors. With the necessary improvements in the power sector, Nigeria hopes to become “one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.” This is entirely possible, but as mentioned, there needs to be a further injection of funding from investors to the power sector.

At Worldwide Power Products we support the private investment in the Nigerian power sector and encourage all those interested to contact the Nigerian Ministry of Power.

Power Behind the Marine Transportation Industry

Behind most large vessels, there is at least one diesel generator providing the power needed to operate the boat. These generators offer backup power to large ships when they cannot get shore power, when the main power goes out, or in other situations where power is needed. While marine generators may have the same diesel engine found in other types of generators, there are some unique considerations in the marine transportation environment.

Types of Marine Generators

Marine vessel electrical loads can require from 5 kW to 5000 kW generator power, At Worldwide Power Products, we offer marine generator sets with ratings from 50-1500 kW. We also offer marine propulsion engines with ratings from 500 to 2500 horsepower.

If you’re considering purchasing a propulsion engine or generator set for your vessel marine generator for your vessel but are unsure of the power requirements, begin by adding up the all electrical loads. If you find that 750 kW of power covers all the equipment needs of the vessel, look for a generator set in that range. Many well-known power generation manufacturers offer marine generators and engines, including:

  • Caterpillar
  • Cummins Power Generation (formerly Cummins/Onan)
  • Kohler
  • MTU

How Marine Generators Work

In essence, these generators operate similar to their landed counterparts. They provide main and backup power for the vessel just as standby generators provide backup power for an office building when the power grid fails.

Marine Power Generation Equipment Challenges

There are challenges unique to the marine environment these units face, including:

  • Wet or moist environments
  • Cooling systems
  • Accessibility
  • Sound proofing

Generators operate continuously in very harsh marine environments. Over time, a generator that is exposed to these conditions can begin deteriorating quickly. A generator may look fine on the outside, but internally critical operating parts may be deteriorating rapidly. A failure could happen unexpectedly. Bottom line: There is no way to tell from looking at the unit whether it will operate when backup power is most needed.

How do manufacturers combat this disastrous effects of moisture over time? Quality manufacturers begin by using interior components that hold up better in wet environments and are less susceptible to corrosion. Generator insulation systems should be capable of resisting the effects of moisture, salt and abrasion. They should be built to NEMA Class H insulation standards.

Marine generators and engines use different kinds of cooling systems. Small pleasure craft engines and generators can rely on seawater for cooling. Most larger vessels will rely on two main types of cooling systems. Heat exchanger cooling incorporates a shell and tube type cooler. In a shell and tube heat exchanger, the engine coolant is cooled by the transfer of heat to another liquid at a lower temperature, usually seawater. Keel cooling is a simple, effective way of rejecting heat from the engine. In this system, the engine coolant is pumped through lengths of pipe that are submerged under and attached to the vessel.

Land-based generators often have more space around them that seafaring ones, which can make it easier to inspect the unit and perform routine maintenance. When considering a unit for a marine vessel, ensure that there will be adequate space onboard to clean the unit, refuel the unit, and perform safety inspections.

For equipment onboard passenger ships, ferries, and pleasure boats, a quiet operating system is a must. When reviewing specifications, look for units that have a quiet operating system or noise proofing enhancements. For example. marine generators from Kohler may have sound shields that help minimize noise.

From the smallest fishing vessel to the largest cruise ship or transportation ship, generators are a necessary part of ship operations. It’s important to choose a name you trust when looking for a marine generator or engine to support your offshore needs. At Worldwide Power Products, we are proud to offer highest caliber marine generator sets and marine engines and can help you choose the right unit for your needs and obtain financing.

Shale Flares Heat Up Natural Gas Production, But Not For Long

Tension between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the oil industry is decreasing as air emissions and flares from shale oil reserves come under regulation. While the EPA gives companies until January of 2015 to fully comply with the new regulations, gas and oil companies have to start changing their ways now to meet that target, especially regarding flares. The regulations are expected to cut emissions that harm air quality by 90 percent, per the Washington Post.

Why Flaring Happens

A byproduct of increased production to meet the increased demand for NG, flares allow dangerous gases to burn off. These occur when there is a lack of storage space for produced gas. The flares allow equipment to keep up with the flow of gas, and get released through pressurized valves in the equipment. Not only does flaring release methane and other gases into the air, it wastes energy to the tune of $100 billion of unused gas a year, according to Reuters.  The shale reserves fueled unprecedented expansion of America’s gas production, but the infrastructure that allows gas to be captured and stored before flaring hasn’t grown as fast. The result: Industry waste, energy lost, missed growth opportunities, and environmental concern. The World Bank estimates that gas emitted in flares is roughly equal to the annual energy consumption of France, about 360 tons of CO2, again per Reuters.

Green Solutions

Complying with EPA regulations is good for public opinion and for profits, as the wasted fuel can be used — thereby saving costs at gas production sites — or sold. How can companies cut down on flaring to get on the right side of the EPA regulation? For example, plants could turn the gas flares into power, cutting down on energy consumption and fuel waste. Ways to comply include:

  • Installing pollution-control equipment: Many of the newer wells are already capped with pollution-controlling equipment to cap flares. Existing gas production sites can be retrofitted with these measures to cut flares. So-called green completions are mandatory after 2015 and voluntary beforehand.
  • Implementing Technologies to Reuse the Gas: Escaped gas can be piped back into the ground and used to push more gas toward the surface, increasing production, per GE. Escaped gas can also be stored and used as fuel with compressor technologies. GE is now doing this in Qatar.
  • Decreasing Isolation: Flares often occur when captured gas cannot be put into the pipeline. Extending pipelines gives remote sites storage access and prevents flares.

Are you inspired by the cost savings of reusing produced gas? What’s your plan to green for 2015?

-Mark

Eurozone and the US Economy

In an election year, news coverage focuses mostly on local and national politics so it can be hard to follow world news. Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, smaller European countries including Greece and Ireland, as well as major Euro players like Spain and Italy have been struggling to stay afloat. Now the Eurozone is teetering on the edge of collapse with countries like Greece threatening to leave and revert to their old currency. What is happening on the global stage and what effect does it have on U.S. gas and oil price?

Recently, the BBC reports that the Eurozone agreed to a deal that relaxed strict European lending laws that have made it so hard for struggling countries to get back on track. These measures should help Italy, Spain, and Greece; however, some experts worry that Greece is only postponing a decision to leave the Eurozone. By and large, though, this spells good news for Europe and global stock markets. Markets rose after the deal was reported.

While Europe seems to be getting a handle on finances, its countries are a bit stuck in the mud, so to speak, when it comes to growth. This means less U.S. trade and a sluggish American economy because Europe’s our largest trading power. Other ways Europe affects our economy:

  • U.S. banks invest in European banks
  • Stagnant European market spells reduced profit for American companies
  • Stocks and money markets are losing value

As the U.S. recovers financially, chaos in Europe could lead America back into recession. Financial drama on the global stage makes everyone nervous because it hits close to home. There’s another way the Eurozone crisis can affect Americans: Oil prices that impact everything from the gas in your car to the cost of the diesel fuel for the generator that can power your AC in a summer brownout.

After this great deal hammered out in Europe, oil prices stopped their 90-day downward slide and rose over 9%. At the same time, gas prices hit a 6-month low. Sanctions on Iranian oil and a tanker leak in the North Sea mean oil supply will be limited for some time. Will oil and diesel prices climb higher? Are you prepared to foot the bill if they do?

Let’s face it: Summer is a time of high energy demand. When the grid overloads, hurricanes loom large, or storms knock out power lines, generators can keep your company operating and power that much-needed AC. Natural gas generators cost less to operate than diesel generators. With oil prices climbing and European instability having the potential to make or break the cost of diesel, which type of fuel do you want to be putting in your generator?

-Mark