Alain Castro

California-based Ener-Core recently announced that its first two 1.75 MW Power Oxidizers integrated with the Dresser-Rand business’ KG2-3G gas turbines have achieved electrical synchronization with the power grid.

Dresser Rand, part of Siemens Power and Gas Division, are deploying the Power Oxidizer technology at the Pacific Ethanol biorefinery in Stockton, California, and the expectation is for Pacific to reduce its energy purchases by $1m per quarter.

Ener-Core Power Oxidizers are designed to replace the traditional gas-fired combustion chamber within Combined Heat and Power (CHP) gas turbines. The resulting integrated CHP gas turbine solution enables industrial sites to convert their low-quality waste gases directly into useful clean power and heat and steam, which allows the Dresser-Rand business to provide industrial clients with a first-of-its-kind solution that can substantially reduce their purchases of energy from the grid while also reducing carbon and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
Alain Castro, CEO of Ener-Core
Alain Castro, CEO of Ener-Core, spoke to Decentralized Energy about his company’s confidence in their product, particularly now that that the equipment is fully available for commercial deployment under the Dresser-Rand business’ manufacturing umbrella.


“We have a technology that enables CHP plants to run on the most undesirable, useless waste gases, the gases that get flared.   It’s enabling industries to now use those gases as a source of fuel, which has all sorts of wonderful consequences, but mainly centres around providing cheap energy on-site, preventing those gases getting into the atmosphere and avoiding the emissions of NOx”

Castro says he is looking forward to wider recognition of the technology’s attributes now that the period of fine tuning has passed. The Ener-Core chief believes the product will be of strong appeal across many industries, as it performs the neat trick of being not just environmentally friendly but also profit-generating.

“To me the more we see technology like this to coming onto the market that’s financially attractive, so financially interesting that it cannot be ignored as a sound financial corporate investment, the less we will even continue to need environmental legislation for air quality. Think of environmental legislation as a stick that’s used to make companies behave in a sustainable way, it threatens them with fines and penalties in order to get overall industrial emissions down. That’s what happening at a global scale and companies are behaving in a way to reduce their emissions, to avoid fines.”

“Here we have a technology that enables a company to reduce their operating costs by millions of dollars per year and pays for itself in two and a half years, all while reducing emissions of industrial waste gases.   With investment returns this high, from the utilization (as opposed to the destruction) of waste gases, you don’t need legislation.  The financial opportunity is  is what will get companies to change.”

Ener-Core says while this technology fits the 2 MW bracket, it has applications in multiple sizes. Eventually the company plans to have a family of products to fit varying turbine sizes. Now that the Power Oxidizer is finally available in an industrial setting, Castro is eagerly looking forward to the next stage in roll-out and development. Potential clients, varying from petrochemical plants and oil refineries to wastewater treatment plants and landfills can now view the working industrial showpiece for themselves.

“This is the gate we have been waiting for to open,” says Castro. “We expect this modified gas turbine provided by Siemens and Dresser Rand to really ramp up across any industry where the flaring of gas is a common practice. Many industries that have a flare can now use that gas to generate their own energy, at a really low cost that makes a direct, positive impact on the bottom line of the operating business.”

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