as engine support expert Gen-C has assisted AD operator Green Circle Renewables to address engine downtime at their 1 MW on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Northern Ireland. By upgrading their engines and providing open access to the engines’ control panels, Gen-C has resolved a longstanding frustration for Green Circle’s Jason Rolston, who for eight years has lost valuable heat, power and revenue whilst waiting more than 24 hours each time for qualified service engineers to restart regularly failing engines.
Eager to see the performance improvements before committing to two full engine upgrades, Jason staggered the investment. “I needn’t have worried,” admits Jason, who commissioned the second
engine upgrade just days after the first. “The difference in performance was astonishing.” Payback in several months Because the overhauled engines are now fitted with components suitable for biogas, they cut out far less than before Jason estimates 90 % less frequently. Thanks to the open access control panels, he can monitor the engines from anywhere and is instantly aware if an engine stalls. Putting it into context, he explains: “If it’s because of a change in the gas, I can dial into the system from my phone, adjust the engine’s parameters to match the biogas composition and then restart the engine within seconds.” As a result of better machine availability and reliability, increased electrical output and increased income, a return on investment was produced in just a few months. And there are other benefits, too “The engines are causing me far fewer headaches, which means I can just get on with the business of running my farm and AD plant,” adds Jason.
Acknowledging the multiple benefits of upgrading both the control panel and engine, Gen C’s James says: “Engine downtime is a major source of frustration for anyone operating an AD plant, not least because of the cost implications involved. But it’s doubly frustrating when the operator knows he could easily restart the engine himself, if only he had the ability to access it. Two of Jason’s three engines were not even accessible to the service provider that had supplied them, let alone Jason himself, so we knew that unlocking them was essential.”The new Gen-C components have made the engines easier to start, as well as resulting in lower emissions, more efficient fuel use and better engine protection, thereby extending their service life. In addition to on-site fault finding, the remote dial- in facility also makes it easier for the engines to be supported by external third parties, if necessary. Service matters Describing Gen-C as easy to work with, Jason emphasised that he couldn’t fault the service support.“Both engine upgrades ran smoothly, taking just a few days. Gen -C gave me an induction into how to operate and monitor the systems, which were surprisingly easy. And if I have any questions or concerns,James is available at any time on the phone, and on one occasion he even hopped on a plane for a site visit within just 12 hours of me calling him.” “I didn’t believe the engine overhauls would be as big a success as they have been, but the difference they’ve made to my AD operation cannot be underestimated,” ends Jason.