Gensets: environmentally friendly power generators
By Euan Youdale29 July 2021
Rental companies are increasingly demanding lower emissions from their gensets, with manufacturers offering a range of green solutions to meet those requirements.
The move into green power solutions for gensets is one that is being embraced by rental companies and manufacturers alike.
Whether it is adhering to European Stage V emission regulations, or expanding into new power options, including battery and hybrid-based technologies, the sector is moving quickly to meet modern demands.
One company taking power solutions to the next level is rental group Aggreko, which is accelerating its investments in hydrogen technology with the development of a 50 kVA hydrogen combustion generator.
Carsten Reincke-Collon, director of future technologies at Aggreko, says; “At Aggreko we like to think of hydrogen as having its own superpowers, given the electricity it can produce without emitting any emissions.
“However, businesses around the world are only at the start of the hydrogen journey and therefore need to be supported to find the best ways of integrating it into their operations.
The genset, which is Tier 4F/Stage V compliant without aftertreatment and offers near to no NOx emissions, has been developed in partnership with cleantech specialist CMB.TECH, based in Belgium.
The first unit has been tested and 10 further sets will be ready for customers in the second half of this year.
In addition, Aggreko has partnered with Netherlands-based fuel cell company Nedstack to build a hybrid Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery storage system, set to be tested in Aggreko’s facility in Moerdijk, the Netherlands.
Another major rental company, Loxam, is also on the hydrogen trail and has signed a deal with French hydrogen specialist Energy Observer Developments (EODev) to be the first equipment rental company to offer the manufacturer’s hydrogen-powered GEH2 generator.
Loxam says the addition of the model is part of its ongoing efforts to move away from diesel and petrol powertrain products.
The 80kW GEH2 has a footprint of less than 4m2, and is manufactured by EODev’s partner Eneria, a subsidiary of Monnoyeur Group. It uses a Toyota fuel cell and a lithium-ion phosphate battery.
The model includes a ‘peak shaving’ mode that enables it to connect to the power grid, and a 4G connection, allowing location, usage and hydrogen reserve status to be continuously monitored. It can also be used with standard power frequencies of 50Hz or 60Hz and voltages of 230V or 400V.
Users can deploy the model as a single unit or connect several of them together and set it alongside conventional diesel and gas generators.
The move away from fossil fuels
While hydrogen is making its impact on the industry, US-based manufacturer Moxion Power plans to replace what it describes as “inefficient, heavily-polluting, fossil-fuel-burning generators” with its battery-based energy storage sets, and is targeting sectors such as construction, electrified transportation, events and entertainment.
The company has raised US$10 million in financing to upgrade its manufacturing operations for these products and will launch its first related rental location in the San Francisco Bay Area in the third quarter of 2022.
It is now running pilot rental programmes with several general contractors in California. The company is planning to sell its battery technology to other manufacturers.
Hybrid generator option
In April, Atlas Copco introduced its latest hybrid energy storage range, the lithium-ion ZenergiZe ZBC. Offering 100kVA to 1000kVA and an energy storage capacity of 250kWh to 2000kWh, depending on the model.
It can be used with a generator or serve as the primary power source in island mode. In addition, it can be combined with renewable sources of energy for immediate or later use by capturing the energy from solar panels, for example.
The ZenergiZe’s intelligent control system manages the energy demand from different sources, and acts as the ‘brain’ of a microgrid, to supply power to small towns and neighbourhoods.
Portable diesel generator
Pramac is growing its portfolio with the GPW range of 9 to 760 kVA diesel-powered mobile generators.
The company, part of the Generac group since 2016, says the new GPW series is a basic specification rental solution, suiting applications where less options and features are required, and will suit both European and external markets.
The range complements Pramac’s existing ‘premium’ rental sets, the GRW series in power configurations from 20-560kVA, which is sold in particular in Europe and Australia.
Silent generator options
There are two versions of the GPW range, Silent and Extra Silent, with multiple fuel tank sizes, ranging from 8 to more than 48 hours’ use.
The Extra Silent version reduces noise levels by up to -4dB(A) LWA, compared to the Silent model, thanks to new sound attenuation modules, comprised of soundproof material and a silencer.
Pramac has also been focusing on Stage V with the launch of reduced emission models throughout this year and next; while a new hybrid range, available with Stage V engines, will start to become available by the end of 2021.
In addition, the manufacturer’s new 1MW GQW TwinGen will be available as a Stage V version for Europe, combining two 500KVA engines in a 20-foot container.
Heavy duty site generators
On the subject of tough environments, JCB has introduced its first Rental Series (RS) generator to meet Stage V regulations.
The G40RS replaces the existing Stage 3a G36RS model and delivers 40kVA at a 50Hz frequency.
Its key features include an electronically-controlled ‘JCB by Kohler’ 42.4kW engine, combined Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) with no requirement for Selective Catalytic Reduction. It also produces 87% less NOx and 96% lower particulate matter.
The JCB G40RS has single-side service access for ease of maintenance and aftertreatment mounted in front of the radiator, JCB said.
To serve challenging environments, it is built on an over-gauge base frame, with a 2mm thick Galvtec steel canopy.
Large genset units
On the largest side of the genset market, Himoinsa has developed a compact 1MW gas-powered unit. The emissions-busting HGS-1030 NG/LPG is built into a 40ft HC ISO container and can be transported on an approved trailer.
To ease maintenance it has large book-style side access doors allowing access to the entire generator set and to the hydraulic kit. The unit’s wide maintenance intervals of up to 1,500 hours is also a significant feature, says Himoinsa.
Either natural gas or LPG can be used as fuel and the unit can adapted to various gas qualities.
E-Power’s zero-emission hydrogen generator a first in Europe
E-Power, previously known as Europower, has launched a zero emissions hydrogen generator, the first achievement of CEO Kurt Van Dal since he he took over late last year.
In late 2020, Belgian genset manufacturer Europower Generators changed ownership.
Previous owners Yves and Luc Heylands, who established Europower in 1990, sold the company to Van Dal, a former executive in the medical and pharmaceuticals industry and founder of Red Apple Investments.
The company also rebranded as e-power, reflecting a focus on new power technologies to complement its existing range of gensets.
The new hydrogen generator from E-Power is a variant with a combustion engine running on hydrogen, a first in Europe.
The company says this is often a better solution than using hydrogen in a fuel cell. “Combustion engines have been a proven technology for decades. A specific adjustment of the engine makes it emission free, also no complex after-treatment system needs to be used for this, only water vapour comes out of the exhaust.”
Currently, the hydrogen generator, developed in collaboration with startup Ziero, carries a relatively high price tag, “20 percent more expensive, 100 percent more environmentally friendly” but this is expected to change next year.
“In 2022, Europe’s new environmental and emission standards will come into effect,” says Van Dal. “Classic petrol and diesel generators will therefore become more expensive by half.
The price difference will then be barely 20 per cent, but our hydrogen generator is 100 per cent more environmentally friendly. In the coming years, for that matter, conventional generators will be banned in many regions. So a green alternative is a must.”
Generac has acquired Deep Sea Electronics, an advanced controls manufacturer.
The UK-based 40-year-old company provides a range of products for generators, automatic transfer switches, battery charging, and off-highway vehicles.
“The technical and engineering expertise of the team at Deep Sea Electronics is second to none and will help us accelerate our product roadmap for the future”; says Aaron Jagdfeld, President and CEO of Generac.
With the acquisition Generac will advance its products, notably in natural gas power generation for microgrid applications.
Meanwhile, Czech Republic-based ComAp is celebrating three decades in business. Since its foundation in 1991, the company has grown to include 13 subsidiaries, more than 400 employees, and 60 distributors.
Its continuous product development has seen several new products this year, including the InteliDrive 400 range; a family of customisable engine controllers for the stationary engine market, the new generation of InteliLite controllers – InteliLite 4, for the single genset market with a high focus on cyber-security, and the new monitoring and management software InteliSCADA.