In recent years, clean-burning natural gas has become the go-to fuel of choice for industrial facilities thanks to availability, continuous supply without storage or spillage, and low cost (roughly 75% cheaper than crude oil). Natural gas is the second most-consumed fuel source in the United States, comprising 27% of the nation's energy consumption. Technology and equipment innovations have improved dramatically, along with gaseous fuel and system reliability. But the need still remains for backup fuel systems when natural gas supply is interrupted due to curtailment and unplanned conditions like storms, floods or extreme cold temperatures. Many facilities learn the hard way that they are unprepared when gas is suddenly unavailable: standby systems often sit dormant without proper maintenance, and either function poorly or not at all in an emergency.
A reliable alternative fuel option protects businesses from interruption and shutdown. Common backup options include:
Diesel fuel standby systems (#2 fuel oil):
Once the primary fuel for emergency backup power generation, diesel fuel still remains a viable solution form many facilities today – especially those in remote areas without a natural gas infrastructure. Diesel fuel is stored on-site in storage tanks and ensures availability, provided it is maintained and kept free of moisture and free water (#2 fuel oil is hydrophilic, and attracts moisture which can cause fuel degradation) through filtration. Integrated tank gauging systems and fuel system controllers give operations personnel the ability to manage proper fuel maintenance and ensure reliability when it’s needed most. Diesel fuel also offers a high thermal efficiency and is a proven and reliable technology for power generation applications.
Liquid propane (LPG) standby systems:
An on-site alternative to diesel fuel, vaporized, air-mixed propane has the same heat value as natural gas and can be interjected into the fuel supply on the fly without changeover or downtime. Propane-air blenders, or mixers, produce a gas (roughly 55% propane, 45% air) that performs well in natural-gas burners. And anything in the plant running on natural gas can run on propane without adjustment in most cases. Generally speaking, propane is readily available and good for long term tank storage despite temperature variances. Propane system size and configuration is based on many factors including the type of fuel (undiluted propane, propane-air, or both), load size needed, minimum/maximum flow rates and consumption, required pressure, storage volume and possible changes required (expansion), and other uses (forklifts, vehicle fuel etc.).
IB&M can help with all aspects of a standby LPG system for your facility, including system design and consulting, installation, and training of operating and maintenance personnel.