Enhancing Efficiency in the Oil and Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry continues to strive for operational efficiency. This article will examine the EPOD’s unique efficiency benefits and explain how the latest efficiency enhancements are achieved.

Electrical Efficiency of Different Engines

The efficiency of a power generator can be expressed in many ways. One way to measure it is the overall electrical efficiency. This is the ratio of useful electrical energy outputted to potential chemical energy inputted in the form of fuel.

To appreciate the variations in efficiency, it’s essential to compare the overall electrical efficiency of two common engine types used in power generation units: Stirling engines and spark ignition internal combustion engines. Stirling engines, known for long maintenance intervals and their historical significance in early steam engines, typically have electrical efficiency that ranges from 5% to 15%. In contrast, spark ignition internal combustion engines excel in electrical efficiency, with most units boasting efficiency rates between 17% and 35%. This distinct contrast in electrical efficiency plays an important role in elevating the overall system efficiency.

The significance of electrical efficiency lies in its direct impact on emissions. Engines with higher electrical efficiency, like spark ignition engines used within the EPOD, produce more electricity per unit of fuel consumed. This efficiency translates into reduced carbon emissions for the same energy output, contributing significantly to environmental sustainability.

Increased Efficiency with Hybrid Systems:

Electrical load on small power generation units is not typically constant. As electrical load increases or decreases, a generator ramps up and down with the load. However, generators usually operate at their peak efficiency when they are close to fully loaded. When only partially loaded, a generator’s efficiency can be significantly impacted.

Hybrid systems, included as part of the EPOD AP Series, ensure that the generator consistently operates at its peak efficiency. This is achieved by using any surplus capacity available from the generator to charge the hybrid system’s batteries. Once the batteries are sufficiently charged, the generator or both the generator ceases operation.  While the generator is not operating, power to run the air compressors and client electrical loads is drawn from batteries. This hybrid system effectively reduces engine runtime and maintenance  and creates a meaningful reduction in emissions.

Maximizing Efficiency with Solar Systems

Solar hybrid systems harness the natural power of the sun to offset fuel consumption. When the sun is shining, solar panels generate electricity, which can be used directly or stored for later use. This reduces the reliance on conventional generators and significantly increases overall electrical efficiency.

Important Notes: 

  • Efficiency can be calculated in many ways using different underlying assumptions. It is important to note what type of efficiency is being calculated and what it assumes.

  • Efficiency gains through waste heat recovery should only be considered if all the recovered heat is being used consistently in your application.

  • Efficiency changes with turn-down. Some technologies lack significant turn-down capabilities or may react slowly, making turn-up and turn-down with changing loads impractical. It’s crucial to understand how much fuel is combusted at zero load, partial load, and full load. If your application doesn’t fully load the generator at all times, it’s likely that the actual efficiency may be lower than advertised.

The EPOD’s innovative system, backed by a patent on its solar hybrid technology, is a powerful solution for engineers and operators. By acknowledging these key considerations, you can confidently pursue efficiency and emissions reduction goals while maintaining a realistic perspective on the true performance of your system.

Stay Informed with our next blog post where we review the emissions of various power solutions – signup here to be notified.

More Insights