A gas engine means an engine running on gas, such as coal gas, producer gas biogas, landfill gas, or natural gas. In the UK, the term is unambiguous. In the US, due to the widespread use of “gas” as an abbreviation for gasoline, such an engine might also be called a gaseous fuelled engine or a spark ignited engine.
Generally the term gas engine refers to a heavy duty, slow revving industrial engine capable of running continuously at full output for periods approaching a high fraction of 8,760 hours per year, for many years, with indefinite lifetime, unlike say a gasoline automobile which is lightweight, high revving and typically runs for no more than 4,000 hours in its entire life. Typical power ranges from 10 kW to 4,000 kW.
One of the prominent supplier of gas engines in India is GE, through its Jenbacher engines. Other prominent players include Cummins India, Guascor India, Waukesha Engine and more.
Though a number of industries today use gas engines to generate electricity, the precise growth rate for this segment and the usage pattern of gas engines in India across industries is not well publicised. Some of the industries that are already using these are primarily in the manufacturing sector.
Industries such as the sugar mills, pulp and paper and food processing units, which already generate biogas from their organic waste have excellent potential to start using these engines – and many companies in these sectors have already started using them. Another important segment is the sewage and wastewater treatment industry which also already generates biogas from the solid waste from their facilities.