Question: How profitable is it to run a genset into the grid?

I'm writing concerning the profitability of running a 5mwh generator set on either ethanol or hydrogen. Obviously, I'm a Newbie and live
in the UK.
Now, excluding the cost of purchasing a conventional diesel generator and having it converted to run other either fuel, plus the fuel itself, does anyone know the amount of income such a contraption could generate over a year?
I've worked out that could be:
5,000 kwh @ 0.4pence x 24 hrs x 365 days = 1,752,000, or thereabouts (excluding downtime). Now I know these generators produce power in the 4000v to 11000v range. Question: does this mean that I can add to the above equation (for example): 6000v divided by 240v = 25 x the figure given above (1,752,000)?
In other words: I know these large diesel generators produce a huge amount of wattage (say 5mwh) or high voltage (upwards of 11000v), but can they produce both?
Regards
Phillip Rhodes
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I'm writing concerning the profitability of running a 5mwh generator set on either ethanol or hydrogen. Obviously, I'm a Newbie and live in the UK.
Now, excluding the cost of purchasing a conventional diesel generator and having it converted to run other either fuel, plus the fuel itself, does anyone know the amount of income such a contraption could generate over a year?
I've worked out that could be:
5,000 kwh @ 0.4pence x 24 hrs x 365 days = 1,752,000, or thereabouts (excluding downtime). Now I know these generators produce power in the 4000v to 11000v range. Question: does this mean that I can add to the above equation (for example): 6000v divided by 240v = 25 x the figure given above (1,752,000)?
In other words: I know these large diesel generators produce a huge amount of wattage (say 5mwh) or high voltage (upwards of 11000v), but can they produce both?
Regards
Phillip Rhodes
Can not speak of UK. Where I live there are plants that are considered "peakers" that can be started and stopped for such use. Smallest near me is 350 meg on natural gas.
I took care of 2 Cat 3516's for emergency power and peak shaving. Each generator was 1400 kw at 5 kv. As you said discounting the purchase, switchgear and controls, we found after 2 years of using them for peak shaving it was costing us more than it would to pay for the increased demand and kWh used. These machines were diesels and they would not be able to produce as much electricity if we had converted them to natural gas. We already had a high pressure line for the boilers. Each engine used 156 gallons an hour at full load.
Not exactly familiar with 5 megawatt gensets, but I would imagine you would not be purchasing a 5 megger that was an internal combustion engine. A turbine sure, not piston powered. I am pretty sure that you could purchase any voltage and amperage combination that you desired.
Hydrogen is not a viable fuel for some thing that large. IMO
Your local utility WILL have a lot of stringent rules and regs before you would be able to connect to the grid. All of these upfront costs would be on you the producer. The real kicker is what will they pay for the electricity? Here unless your considered a utility they do not pay much for the power, like 2/3 of what they sell it for. If your considered a utility then you need to install monitoring and have yearly inspections for pollution.
Where I live a 5 meg plant running 24/7 would be a money pit and would never make any money.
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In case this has not been covered, it doesn't matter what voltage or current you generate at, 5000kW is 5000kW and 5000kWh is 5000kWh. 6000V/240V% is not a factor that applies to the economics in the way you have posed the question. By the way, 5000kW is 'power', or, if you prefer, 'Wattage', whereas 5000kWh is 'energy'.
j
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On 10/12/05 11:23 PM, in article w4n3f.2608$ snipped-for-privacy@news1.mts.net,

I prefer foot poundish or is it foot pound per secondage?
Bill
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There's no way any home generator could ever approach the cost-efficiency of a primary grid power plant. That's the reason everyone doesn't have a generator in their back yard. If you sell back to the grid, getting say, 85 cents on the dollar, it's not a real market value for your power production. It's a subsidy in fact, that works on a small scale to mitigate peak loads on the grid without the need for brownouts or costly expansions to primary production capacity.
The minute grid-tie production begins to rival power plant levels, it will all stop. At that point it would be much more feasible to build a new power plant than to keep paying small producers to run their meters backwards.
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...unless the "waste heat" is used.
Nick
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We had a few 500KW co-gen units attempt to "break even" on their electric bills by using the waste heat in their office buildings. After being subsidized by the provincail utility and all the massive mechanixcal problems the office manager is just not qualified to fix, they found it a dead loss to even attempt to match the grid prices for energy. What would they do with all that heat in an office building in the winter? They both sit scrapped and never talked about as the "professional installers" hang their heads in shame. Better engineering and more thought outside the sales wallet was in order.
OTOH, we have another customer that has 5MVA of co-gen power they use primarily for steam and it's heat they woul dneed in their processes anyway. The electrical energy is THEIR byproduct and they want to expand with more they find them so profitable.
So from that, I agree with your point about the heat but where does one use it without extreme costs to further aggravate the economics of the thing?
wrote:

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There are many ways to do something wrong :-)
Nick
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itself,
generate
the
Let's see. You mean 5000 kW, not 5000 kWh. In a year at full output, you'd make about 43.8 million kwh, again neglecting outages. Here in Manitoba I might be able to sell this energy for as much as 6 cents per kwh giving me a gross revenue of $2.6 million Canadian. Haven't priced diesel fuel today but last time I looked it was around 75 cents/litre (bought in moderately large quantities). Checking the Caterpillar gen set site I discover that a litre of diesel fuel at full-load might make as much as 3.8 kWH. So, I'd have to buy 11.5 million litres of diesel costing about $8.6 million per year, for a net loss of $6 million per year. Plus lube oil consumption, maintenance, someone to watch the plant when I'm asleep, plus the interest on the capital cost ( for 5000 kW in an urban setting I'd expect the costs to be $3,000,000-$5,000,000 including transmission lines).
So, diesel engines burning oil are only used to make electricity where you can't get the grid.
As for hydrogen, forget it...even the local sodium chlorate plant which produces tons of hydrogen as a *free* waste product from electrolysis, can't really justify converting the H2 to electricity and instead burns it for heat.
There's a reason why people don't do these simple obvious things: that reason is, that they make no economic sense.
Bill
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They do if you can use the "waste heat," 2/3 or more of the fuel's heating value.
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote in wrote:

There's a reason it's called "waste" heat. For the most part, it's not very useful unless you've got a use for lots of low grade heat.
--Damon
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You know, heating a home converts 100% of the gas or oil into "waste" heat in a furnace or boiler. Something I've kind of dreamed about for a long time is this: What if, instead of a furnace or boiler there was an engine and generator, the generator pumped electricity into the grid spinning the meter backwards (in many parts of the US this simply subtracts from your electric usage, at least until your monthly "usage" becomes negative, by law), and the "waste" heat from the engine/generator heated the house. It would be controlled by a thermostat as normal (when the "furnace" kicks on it generates heat for your house and electricity into the grid, when off it does nothing). Assume the furnace and engine/generator extract the same total energy from the gas/oil, and the electric generation is only 20% efficient. You'd use 5 gallons of oil when a regular furnace would use 4 gallons (remember you're using 80% of the fuel value as heat), but you'd generate however many kWh's worth of electricity that produces the same heat as 1 gallon of oil, and the electricity is worth more than the oil. Similar for gas.
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you want to cherry-pick the electricity-demand.
it's easy to look cool, when you're allowed to pick and choose you requirements. If you suffer a grid outage, you'll be screaming for discipline against the utility. If your home system has a outage, uou'll just grin and bear it.
I can make a thousand dollars an hour. Just allow me to open a life-insurance or health-insurance company wherein I am allowed to cherry pick my customers. This is why college students have access to such low-cost health-insurance - they hardly ever have kidney failure, heart atacks, yadda, yadda yadda!
The electric utilities ***are** in a similar economic situation to an insurance company. they are required to serve all.
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The is one "hell" of a fine for a guy,who chose a factory or apartment complex. Over a low density area.In most states.....That's not to say they can't charge enorgh for the poles and wire.That you wish ,they hadn't chose to serve you.
-
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snipped-for-privacy@world.std.spaamtrap.com (Michael Moroney) wrote in writes:

During part of the year, I can see where all of the energy could be used; it's during the warmer part of the year that much of the engine's waste heat can't be used or usefully stored. Doesn't matter how efficient the engine may be, at least half of the fuel's original energy has to be wasted most of the time.
I don't see a breakeven most of the time; certainly it's never going to be better than what the utilties already accomplish with their generation systems.
Bottom line is that with a well-tuned diesel engine, your fuel costs are just going to be too high. And that's about the most practical generation there is for small, simple, energy systems.
The only way I can see home generation turning a profit is if you have a windy location, or even small scale hydro. Then the fuel is 'free', though the capital costs of recovering the energy and the practical problems associated with it may still be prohibitive. Few people are that lucky to have wind or hydro of any sort, too.
--Damon
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It's useful for heating one house and its hot water, or a small neighborhood. It's harder to distribute heat to 100,000 houses from a large power plant in the boonies :-)

Intelligen's $10K 11 HP Lister-Petter diesel cogen system did exactly that, with a 93.5% combined heat and power efficiency.

It ran less during summertime, merely supplying hot water.

It's close to 100% vs 30% efficient. There's no need for cooling towers nor transmission lines. Nor HR departments...
Nick
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<snip>

So completely disconnect from the power grid. That would cause you some problems in the summer when you don't need heat but want electricity.
Charles Perry P.E.
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Surely you realize that staying hooked up is more economical.
Nick
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wrote:

Yes, I was pointing that out for you, using sarcasm. You are the one who was extolling the higher efficiency.
Charles Perry P.E.
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wrote:

There are "district heating" schemes where hot water from a power plant is circulated to provide space heating. At least one Northern Ontario community I visited a few years ago used waste heat from the diesel plant to heat the local store - fuel had to brought in over winter roads or by air, so there was a lot of incentive to maximize efficiency. There used to be a district heating plant in Winnipeg that used waste heat from a steam electrical generation station to heat downtown buildings, but it was torn down decades ago. I believe there's a lot of geothermal-source district heating in Iceland, where one hot-water well provides heat for many buildings (but this isn't really waste heat from electric power production).
Of course if you have a district heating scheme then you have *two* grids, one for electricity, one for hot water - and it's a little harder to turn the latter into air conditioning, which is a bigger load in most U.S. cities.
Bill
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