Is is just me, or is an internal combustion engine (even with gas) incredibly inefficient for making power? I know most gas engines have a 25-30% efficiency rating.
Is not most of the energy going to go out the exhaust pipe?
And 7 grand a year? What does the average household pay for heat, hot water and electricity in one year?
I think this technology is a great idea if the government wants to get away from nuclear and coal, and they want a distributed system that allows them to keep the existing power grid without upgrades.
16th September, 2009 @ 5:12 a.m. (California Time)
The 7K is to install the system, not the annual operating costs. However that does raise the question of what the annual operating costs will be per household. There will be some efficiency benefits in that the waste heat from the engines will provide for the hot water and heat for the houses. Less of an issue in some countries and areas, but where I live, what about AC?
Natural gas requires a gas engine, with biogas, would the engine be able to be diesel? Diesel is more efficient for power creation but at increased pollutants.
16th September, 2009 @ 7:37 a.m. (California Time)
Dennis, where are you reading 7 grand a year?
The article says USD$7,250 in order to have a generator installed :)
16th September, 2009 @ 7:52 a.m. (California Time)
I think it's 7 grand to install it...but they go on to say that this thing runs off of bio-gas...Uh, what is that and where do I get it? I don't have a "bio-gas" nozzle at my local gas station. And if I can get it, will it be under 4 bucks a gallon? And what does this generator get in kw/gallon of bio-gas? And where is it stored? Do I have to have this huge tank to store it in? I remember at my grandmothers house in Germany, once or twice each winter, this truck would drive around the neighborhood and deposit coal into the basement coal-chute under the house so that the furnace would have enough coal to run the heating...sure, you had to go down there every day to stoke the furnace, but this idea seems alot like that...a truck will have to drive around the neighborhoods and top-off the biogas for the generators...I'm sure THAT won't add into the carbon footprint of this generator!
16th September, 2009 @ 2:46 p.m. (California Time)
I have a few points to make.
1) Efficiency: Outside of an automobile, ICE\'s achieve very good thermal efficiencies-especially if the waste heat is used to heat water & heat/cool homes. Efficiencies of around 50%-70% are quite realistic.
2) Cost: I confess the start price is a bit steep-but higher prices don\'t dissuade people from buying cars, solar panels or-in some cases-even large screen TV\'s. That said, the ability to sell excess electricity to the grid, coupled with cost reductions as economies of scale are achieved, will probably see these systems become very affordable in the coming decade.
3) Bio-gas: Ed, it\'s just a fancy word for methane. An increasing number of landfill sites & sewerage treatment plants collect it, & can pipe it to homes via the existing natural gas infrastructure. Additionally, if homes could be fitted with an Anaerobic Digester, then they could produce their own bio-gas from household organic wastes (food, garden waste, grey water etc). What\'s left behind is also great fertilizer!
Ultimately, I think this technology will have most immediate use in high-rise blocs of offices and apartments-where the cost can be defrayed over multiple users. From there it could spread to nearly every house. I\'m guessing that\'s something the big electricity producers are very afraid of (and the real reason they spread anti-Global Warming propaganda).
16th September, 2009 @ 9:20 p.m. (California Time)
When I installed a NG generator at my home in Florida, the cost of the generator (15kw) was the cheap part. Electrician labor was actually MORE than the generator.
The generator was $3200 after rebate (Generac)
and electrician's fees, switchboxes, wiring, etc. ran another $3500.
I can't imagine the cost to the homeowner where a big generator was running 24/7, let along the noise and smell of NG fumes billowing out. This thing sucks gas at a huge rate... I'm sure much more inefficient than a large-scale NG powerplant, where they have the efficiency of scale.
When my generator started, there was no ignoring the raucous noise, and exhaust (typical NG exhaust smell).
Nuclear FTW... and solar, and wave, and win FTW*10.
16th September, 2009 @ 9:36 p.m. (California Time)
Can you see how they (Oil Corps) are doing anything, in conjunction with their greatest allies (Car Manufacturers) to keep the use of ICEs high.
In this day, we have so many alternative, cleaner, quieter, less costly (Annually) ways to produce energy for the home.
If the governments actually had the balls to MAKE the energy companies use alternative and clean forms of energy production, they would HAVE to step up to the plate, or you can be assured a competitor would do so.
Why oh why would anyone want to use ICE technology when we have so many other alternatives??? Think about and discuss.
The average home, with Roof Solar PV panels, plus water heating tubes, a couple of wind fan systems for the nightime top up of batteries, etc etc. In a couple of minutes I bet I could check around and come up with a cheaper and more efficient system than someone as huge as VW. This is absolute rubbish.
18th September, 2009 @ 3:05 p.m. (California Time)
Methane, is what Natural gas mostly is, anything that can run on natural gas can run on \"bio gas\", cow farts, or however else you wish to make it. (hydrogen too, as natural gas is also partly hydrogen (in random quantities))
ICE what an idea, have these people not heard that there are these solid oxide fuel cells that are more efficient (and expensive, though production will reduce costs, and the power company can get you to sign a 100 year contract anyhow (in Germany especially) so who cares about the capital cost.
Distributed power has come of age. About time too. Shut the high voltage (energy waste) Grid down, local low voltage power grids only please.
The average household doesn\'t really use \"that much\" power, we are used to running car engines which produce 100 times the household need, at 1/4 the efficiency achievable with an optimised stationary generator.
7th October, 2011 @ 2:16 a.m. (California Time)