Gas flares are a potent symbol of modern society’s wasteful ways, whether in oil fields, landfills, or industry, these gases are vented and burned off because they have low fuel value or the infrastructure does not exist to properly manage them. All these wasted gases form air pollution and contribute significantly to global warming.
Ener-Core is helping to address this problem of methane and waste gas emissions through the deployment of its new Power Oxidizer product line. The Power Oxidizer is a unique new technology that can utilize low-BTU gases that are usually flared or vented to produce electric power.
Gases are wasted when they have a low methane content and cannot be utilized in a conventional engine or turbine to produce heat and power. Ener-Core’s patented Power Oxidizer technology can utilize gas with very low fuel value, down to 1.5% methane, to produce power. Since these gases cannot be effectively combusted, Ener-Core uses an alternative approach, gradual oxidation, to produce heat and power. Oxidation is the natural process of molecules reacting with oxygen and breaking down that normally takes place over a period of weeks or years. The Power Oxidizer accelerates this process into a few seconds where it generates usable heat which is then used to drive a turbine and make power.
The potential applications for this new technology are enormous. Currently Ener-Core is targeting markets for digesters (including waste water treatment), landfills, coal mines, oil and gas operations, manufacturing, food processing, chemicals and ethanol plants. Anywhere there is flaring of waste gases is a potential application of the Power Oxidizer.
The EPA estimates that 480 billion cubic meters of gases are released into the atmosphere each year through flaring and venting. These gases represent a potential 65,000 MW of local, clean electricity that is going unused and wasted. Ener-Core estimates the market potential for its hardware that can utilize these gases at $75 billion.
Ener-Core’s product is engineered to achieve Lowest Achievable Emission Rate (LAER) for several major air pollutants including NOx (Nitrogen Oxides), CO (Carbon Monoxide), VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5 microns in size). The Ener-Core system is designed to avoid the formation of NOx that is typical in combustion systems and CO and VOC’s are destroyed through a long residence time in the oxidizer. The Power Oxidizer has the potential to greatly reduce emissions profiles and ease compliance and permitting for customers in the most stringent air-quality regions.
The first Power Oxidizer was installed at a landfill in Holland in 2014 with additional sites pending at a landfill in California and also at an ethanol plant in CA. The landfill in Holland was producing low quality landfill gas with methane content below 30% which is incompatible with conventional gas turbines. The 250kW Ener-Core Powerstation offered an ideal solution enabling site managers to shut down their flare and instead produce 250kW of clean electricity.
Ener-Core is helping to address the world’s environmental problems in one of the most effective ways possible, by going after waste resources and turning them into something useful. The Power Oxidizer enables today’s pollutants to be transformed into tomorrow’s assets, helping to drive energy efficiency, improve air quality, and fatten the bottom line for industry the world over.