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All right, so I am also a diesel basher. But like all others like me, I am a closet diesel user – psst, let it be between us. The sad fact is, I know that I cannot completely avoid diesel. For my transport, yes – well, make that may be. But for backup power? Not possible.
Diesel based backup power generation is widespread. And its use if highest at industrial and commercial level, where one company alone could use tens of thousands of liters of diesel per day. While the diesel to renewables, which we at EAI fondly call D2R, is an ambitious goal, it is going to take a while. Quite a while. Until then, well, you live with it.
But here’s what we can do while living with it to make our life a bit more guilt-free. Get more out of diesel. How is this possible?
Through what in industry parlance is known as CHP, or combined heat and power. Essentially, what you do is that you capture the exhaust heat that comes out of a diesel genset and utilize this heat either for industrial heating or drying purposes, or, through a vapour absorption machine (VAM), convert this heat to cold for air-conditioning or cold storage or whatever.
CHP is today a mature sector. The machineries and equipments are stable and efficient. And payback periods could be as low as 2 years. Established companies such as Thermax sell these systems (for VAM especially), so there is little to worry about technology performance. Some estimates suggest that use of CHP could increase the efficiency by as much as 30%.
Look at it this way. You get 30% more energy for the same amount of pollution you create. And your accountant is quite pleased too – now isn’t that a picture you rarely, if ever, see?