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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 Next Boom Town !?!

Admittedly, I am not a fortune-teller, but I do honestly believe that Cline Shale has the potential to create a boom-town atmosphere in the Midland region. It may be easy for just about anyone to say such a thing of an oil play, however, the Cline Shale area truly holds something special.

It sits more than 9,000 feet under Cline Shale, which is, for the most part, along the eastern border of Texas’ Midland Basin. It stretches nearly 150 miles from the north end to the south, spanning around 70 miles wide in four counties.

Cline Shale Potential
With a number of wells showing significant promise in testing, the Cline Shale area has the potential to experience a drastic influx in drilling activity similar to that of oil plays in North Dakota and other parts of Texas. In fact, some believe the area could hold somewhere around 30 billion barrels of oil based on the nearly 10,000 sq. miles Cline Shale encompasses. What’s more, companies such as Laredo, Apache, Devon, Fire-wheel, and a number of others have already invested in Cline Shale with varying degrees of initial development. In fact, Laredo has over 140,000 prime Cline Shale acres. Apache has over half a million acres with six wells in the planning phase, and Devon has almost 390,000 acres in the area as well. As you can see, companies are buying up land and quickly planning the next phase of their operations, which lucky for us, will most certainly include the need for natural gas generators and engines.

Real Estate Boom
With potential for years to come in Cline Shale, it is expected that the area will turn into somewhat of a boom-town. I suspect this means a dramatic increase in real estate developments all over Reagan, Glasscock, Howard, and other outlying Texas counties.
This sounds familiar to the current housing situation in the North Dakota, where oil plays such as Bakken Shale have created a deficiency of housing, but wealth of jobs. In my opinion, the same could hold true for Cline Shale, although hopefully the local real estate developments will learn from the mistakes of other oil plays. In fact, many communities around the area are already concerned that the current housing developments will not be built in time for the boom, due in part to the fact that an increase in activity is currently underway. Real estate companies in the Cline Shale region have already been feeling the pressure to provide housing for people moving to the area for work, with one local realtor mentioning he gets frequent calls from people desperate for housing.

Business Boom

In addition to the housing boom in the Midland Basin and surrounding areas, I also suspect there will be a dramatic increase in commercial business. After all, where there are people and jobs there will need to be restaurants, along with grocery and retail stores. With the increase in drilling activity, it is almost certain that a wide range of new businesses will begin to sprout up in counties like Howard and Sterling. For our industry, it means the area will need more engines and generator sets.

Perhaps an even better determinate of the potential for community development in the Cline Shale play is longevity. In other words, the longer the area is consistently producing oil, the more established and developed the community can become. Development is key to the community, because as we have seen in the past, a major oil play that goes broke can quickly turn from a boom-town to a ghost town.

In Comparison
To better illustrate the potential Cline Shale has to increase housing and business development, I like to compare it to the current Bakken play. The United States Geological Survey reports that Bakken Shale will likely produce over four billion barrels of oil, which still yields in comparison to what is expected of Cline Shale. If the amount of oil produced in an area is any indication of the additional community development, then this leads me to believe that Cline Shale will likely need more real estate and business development than Bakken. What’s more, Cline Shale is projected to produce more barrels than the seemingly endless oil supply of Eagle Ford, which is estimated to produce up to 10 billion barrels.

Cline Shale is undoubtedly another boom-town in the making, which is an exciting time for a community, especially one so isolated. Like Bakken, and many other oil plays throughout the country, a lot still remains to be seen about its production, and the subsequent real estate and businesses that develop in the region. Personally, I always enjoy watching an oil play develop, because as someone that works with generators, I find the unpredictability exciting — oil plays adds a sense of intrigue to any related industry.

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