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Reciprocating engines are a widespread, well-known, and mature DER technology. They currently offer low capital cost, rapid start-up, proven reliability, good load-following characteristics, and heat recovery potential. Significant research and development efforts are underway to continue to improve the efficiency and reduce the emissions of reciprocating engines. Two significant programs are the Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems (ARES) and the Advanced Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (ARICE) programs.
The mission of the ARES program (sponsored by the Department of Energy) is to lead a national effort to design, develop, test and demonstrate a new generation of reciprocating engine systems for DER applications that is cleaner, more reliable, and efficient than products that are commercially available today.
Planned activities for this program focus on the following performance targets for the next generation of reciprocating engines:
- High Efficiency - The target for fuel-to-electricity (low heating value) is 50 percent by 2010.
- Environment - Engine improvements in efficiency, combustion, strategy and emissions reduction will substantially reduce overall emission to the environment. The NOx target for the Advanced Natural Gas Reciprocating Engine is 0.1g/hp-hr (0.134 g/kwh).
- Fuel Flexibility - Natural gas-fired engines are to be adaptable to future firing with dual fuel capabilities.
- Cost of Power - The target for busbar energy costs, including operating and maintenance costs, is 10 percent less than current state-of-the-art engine systems while meeting projected environmental requirements.
- Availability, Reliability, and Maintainability - The goal is to maintain levels equivalent to current state-of-the-art systems.
The California Energy Commission is also sponsoring IC engine development work under the ARICE Collaborative. The goal is to seek solutions for reducing emissions so that the engine generator sets can be used for reliable, inexpensive, energy-efficient, and environmentally clean distributed generation in California.
For more information about the California ARICE Collaborative contact:
Avtar Bining, Ph.D.
Advanced Reciprocating IC Engine Systems