Gas 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.
Jason relies on the heat and power produced by the on-site AD plant to run his farm and feed mill, converting biogas generated through the anaerobic digestion of slurry, dairy waste and energy crops. Each time his engines went down, he was forced to import electricity at a cost.
Although he had access to remote monitoring for one of the plant’s three gas engines (an MWM model), for the two eight-year-old Cogenco/MAN engines, a Cogenco engineer had to be called and dispatched every time the engines went down. Unfortunately, this was becoming a regular occurrence due to the composition of the biogas.
Jason explains: “Biogas is more variable than natural gas, due to the varied feedstocks supplied to the digester. When the methane levels increase due to a slight change in feedstock, the engines can’t handle it and the system shuts down. As the system had a closed control panel, I couldn’t access it myself to restart it, and neither could my service provider.”