[Reproduced from Sharp Statistics web site]

Aquafuel Research Limited has developed technology that makes it possible to run standard diesel powered combined heat and power (CHP) plants on renewable bio fuels. To be able to analyse the performance of installed CHP units and to assess the requirements to replace existing conventionally fuelled installations a certain amount of data analysis is required.

Excel files containing over a year of data are received but the values are stored in a matrix making analysis difficult. As it is possible have a data point every half an hour, each file can have over 17,000 data points, and to perform any meaningful analysis, data from several files needs to be combined.

To enable Aquafuel to quickly manage these data files Sharp Statistics has built an Excel Add In that makes handling the data quick and efficient. Several data files can now be selected and the data imported and formatted onto a single worksheet with automatic adjustment to make sure the time stamps from each file line up correctly.

Once the data is formatted the Add In allows the user to adjust the parameters of the required calculation allowing different situations to be quickly assessed. As the Add In can treat the data in memory rather than having to loop through each excel worksheet cell, calculations can be performed very quickly.

Viewing thousands of data points in a standard Excel plot is diffcult as the trend lines just look like a coloured mass. As the Add In has been built using VSTO instead of the more common VBA approach it has been easy to add and interactive time series chart for Excel that allows the user to zoom in and scroll through the whole period allowing periods of interest to be examined. Paul Day, Aquafuel’s CEO said

"Sharp Statistics has allowed us to analyse our data in an efficient and timely manner that was previously impossible."

For more information on how to make your data analysis simpler and quicker contact Sharp Statistics.

 
 
Professor Patricia Harvey of Greenwich University explains how her team has been working with Aquafuel Research, the UK company that has worked-out how to burn glycerine as a clean fuel in diesel CHP engines.
Glycerine is in abundant supply as an unwanted byproduct of biodiesel production, but much more interesting is the production of glycerine by salt-water algae.  Unlike other biofuels which can compete with agricultural land, algae can be grown around the unutilised coastal land of Africa and the Middle East.  Algae does not consume any drinking water and produces up to 80% glycerine by volume.
 
 

UK Company Unveils Method for Harnessing Nature to Unlock a Future Free of Fossil Fuel Dependency

Kent, UK. 27th July, 2011 - Aquafuel, the UK pioneer in renewable combined heat and power (CHP) technology, today announced an innovative new way to fuel diesel engines, using Glycerine. The patented technology makes Glycerine the perfect fuel, burning with higher efficiency than diesel and with incredibly low emissions[1]. It is also non-toxic, water soluble and nearly impossible to ignite accidentally. Glycerine is already available in large volumes as a by-product of biodiesel production and is naturally produced by algae, commonly found in highly saline waters such as the Dead Sea. Glycerine production does not compete with food for land and fresh water. It is estimated that an algal field the size of Switzerland could supply the world's energy needs, potentially ending the world's dependency on fossil fuels.

"To reach a fossil free future we need to replace a world of large inefficient power stations with local, high efficiency combined heat and power plants, running on clean, sustainable, renewable fuel," said Paul Day, CEO and Founder, Aquafuel. "The same applies to transport; we cannot continue indefinitely with petrol and diesel. I have a vision of fossil free energy where hybrid cars and trucks plug into a glycerine fuelled local grid and then use their onboard glycerine generator to extend their range. The technology is here right now; we are delivering the first ultraclean glycerine CHP to power 28 eco-homes in Essex this month. The new generation of series hybrids like Boris Johnson's New Bus for London are perfect for glycerine, and cars like the Chevy Volt are bringing the series hybrid to the mass market."

Glycerine emissions are low because it is a single compound and not a complex blend like diesel, resulting in exceptionally clean combustion. It also already contains 55% oxygen by weight and burns with the virtual absence of any particulate emissions. The clean exhaust means operation of oxidation and deNOx catalysts is more efficient and final emissions are extraordinarily low, easily beating even the Californian Tier 4 regulations.

The algae (Dunaliella salina) can accumulate up to 85% of glycerine by dry weight, which it produces to protect itself from the osmotic pressure created by high salt concentration. There are hundreds of square kilometres of saline ponds in places like Namibia which produce salt by solar evaporation and are naturally full of glycerine rich Dunaliella. Cultivation is best achieved in these hot sunny locations using salt water - the exact conditions where vital food crops are not grown.

Energy conservation has become a key consideration as the earth's resources are depleting. The United Nations declared 2012 as the 'International Year of Sustainable Energy for All,' calling for governments, private companies, academic institutions, international organisations and local communities to join forces and develop low-to-zero carbon emission initiatives. In a fossil fuel dependant world, harnessing the clean fuel potential of by-products such as glycerine, tallow and used cooking oil has never been more important. Aquafuel technology is making clean fuel combustion a reality, enabling energy-intensive industries to become net producers of power.

About Aquafuel
Aquafuel Research was formed to develop new technologies and techniques to help companies to reduce their energy costs, unlock new revenues and to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Aquafuel is a venture-backed UK company with a set of patented technologies for renewable combined heat and power (CHP). It has a number of commercial CHP projects in development, the first of which started running in 2010. Investors include EEA, an environmental investment firm with over $1.7bn under management. http://www.aquafuelresearch.com/

(1) NOx emissions measure 20 mg/m3 and particulate emission is near zero at 0.93 mg/m3, compared with 20 mg/m3  diesel particulate and 215 mg/m3 diesel NOx, using the same standard catalyst abatement equipment.
 
 
UK inventor of Glycerine CHP points to the real future of renewable power

Kent Science Park, UK - Aquafuel, the leading developer of renewable Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology, has been named as Renewable Energy Innovator 2010 at the British Renewable Energy Awards.  The company was acknowledged for its breakthrough glycerine CHP technology. Developed with Greenergy, Aquafuel’s technology converts existing CHP equipment, which normally runs on fossil fuels, and enables it to run cleanly and reliably on glycerine, the by-product of biodiesel production.  Other companies shortlisted for awards included Centric, Senergy, and National Grid.

Organisations from supermarkets to hospitals have fossil-fuelled heat and power systems, and have targets to reduce their carbon footprint.  Aquafuel’s innovation provides for these needs with exceptionally clean and efficient renewable CHP. Developed and tested over several years, the first of these systems are already in commercial operation, with a growing number about to start.

‘Glycerine makes renewable CHP practical, reliable and mainstream.  The emissions are remarkably low, and the fuel is non-toxic, biodegradable and non-flammable – perfect for commercial premises’ said Aquafuel CEO Paul Day ‘We are delighted to have received this recognition from the Renewable Energy Association and are excited to see our technology enter the mass market over the next twelve months.”

One barrel of glycerine is produced for with every nine barrels of biodiesel, so there is plenty of it available. Glycerine is also produced naturally by algae, and projections indicate that glycerine from large algae farms could one day replace fossil fuels for heat and power.

Aquafuel’s CHP technology is as flexible as it is innovative.  As well as glycerine, Aquafuel’s CHP technology enables easy switching between several renewable by-products that have clean fuel potential.  One is used cooking oil, and another is tallow, a by-product of the energy-intensive meat industry.

Aquafuel Research is based at Kent Science Park, which has a longstanding reputation for the development of environmental technologies. Aquafuel’s success is further evidence of the groundbreaking science being undertaken in this part of the UK.
 
 
There are a host of potential benefits to companies installing renewable generation, from financial incentives to great corporate PR.  Its very much a new market, but I meet companies who have already had disapointing experiences.  This seems particularly true for engine-driven CHP, where poor advice about equipment and fuels has led some projects to fail, financially and technically.

So what are the pitfalls?  Well the biggest has been to assume that fuels such as Used Cooking Oil (UCO) and animal fats such as tallow can be used directly in diesel engines.  In fact they cause severe operating problems if not processed and managed properly. This typically follows the pattern of:
 - loss of injection control
 - poor combustion and atomisation
 - lube oil destruction
 - piston and liner failure.

This can happen in the space of weeks, and is accompanied by drastically rising emissions during failure.   The hoped- for green solution can quickly disapoint.

I recently met a snack food manufacturer who installed an engine to use their own UCO.  They have had to rebuild it twice and managed only 12% availability in the two years since it was installed.

Fortunately there are solutions to these problems.  Aquafuel offers processing and mangement of the fuel and combustion, with full service contacts backed by engine guarantees.  We can do this becuase we operate our own diesel engine test facility, and can test a  customer's potential fuels before they invest in new plant.

Companies with the drive and vision to invest in renewable generation deserve vendors who really understand how to deliver effective solutions and service, and I am sure companies that do will be the ones to prosper as the market matures.

Paul Day, Founder and CEO, Aquafuel.
 
 
I set up Aquafuel to make better use of industrial by-products as renewable fuels, so I was inevitably struck by a recent paper from a team of Belgian scientists. 

The team reviewed the by-products produced in refining vegetable oils and considered how they could best be used in developing a low carbon economy.  They estimate the annual worldwide total of acid oils from food oil refining at 10 million tones per anum.

These materials are not part of the food supply chain, and the authors point out that:

"Too many times in the past, the biological material was used for a very low value application or discarded as waste after the valorization of one component."

The Belgian team recommend that they are used to make biodiesel, as conventional wisdom says they cannot be used in engines. 

Aquafuel technology means acid oils can be used as fuel for combined heat and power (CHP) plants, which are dramatically more efficient. As the authors say, bioenergy is the best use; but Aquafuel CHP is even better -  up to four times more carbon efficient than biodiesel.

The article was published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, in Energy and Environmental Science.

Paul Day, Founder and CEO, Aquafuel.
 
 
Commercial trial delivers operational cost savings of 39%

SITTINGBOURNE, England - 12th August 2009 - Aquafuel Research Limited, the specialist in renewable power innovation, today published an independent study by Diesel Consult Ltd on its new “Acid Inhibit” Solution.  Based on a commercial trial at a landfill site in Ireland, the study covered Aquafuel’s technology for operating electricity generators burning high acid forming gas fuels. The trial involved Deutz 620B 16 cylinder 1,250kWe spark ignition engines running on gas containing typically 28,000 mg/Nm3 H2S, many times more than the manufacturer’s limit of 3,000 mg/Nm3 at 100% methane levels.  Despite this, the trial ran successfully for over 3,000 hours, during which the lube oil life was almost doubled.  The results gave gross operating cost savings of 39% with no detrimental effect on engines or components.

Landfill gas, like sewage gas and bio gas, contains corrosive hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which shortens the life of the lubricating oil in the engines used for electricity generation. Aquafuel’s technology works by assisting the oil to combat these acid forming gasses, resulting in less downtime and substantial reductions in operational costs and lube oil consumption.

Acid Inhibit technology delivers cost-effective assistance to lube oils in standard reciprocating engines and works by treating only the vital 5% of gas which enters the crankcase, and does so for less than 1/10 of the capital and running cost of conventional scrubbing systems. Aquafuel’s technology also senses and remotely monitors the H2S levels in the incoming gas, and automatically adapts its treatment levels to match.  This means optimum control with no waste of consumables through fixed rate over-dosing.

“As an expert with extensive experience of aggressive gas and liquid fuel burning power generation schemes, I was impressed by the  benefits demonstrated by Aquafuel’s Acid Inhibit”, said John Blowes, Senior Partner at Diesel Consult. “Such technology is often categorised by engine makers as too much of a diversion from normal production, although systems like this can move commercially borderline projects into profit, and as such, are welcomed by the industry as a whole”.

“Acid Inhibit” technology is now commercially available and Aquafuel is looking for partners and distributors to licence it worldwide.

About Aquafuel Research:
Aquafuel Research was formed to develop new technologies and techniques to help companies to reduce their energy costs, unlock new revenues and to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.  Aquafuel is a venture-backed UK company with a set of patented technologies for renewable combined heat and power (CHP). It has a number of commercial projects in development, the first of which started running in July 2009.  Investors include EEA, an environmental investment firm with over $1.7bn under management.

About John Blowes, Senior Partner at Diesel Consult
(Eur Ing J. H. Blowes C Eng FIMarE M I Mech I, FIDGTE) 
John Blowes is an independent consulting engineer with a reciprocating engine design and field service background, for engines burning a variety of fuels at marine and industrial installations. He held senior positions in the industry before starting his own consultancy in1990.

John is a Past President of the Institution of Diesel and Gas Turbine Engineers and has recently completed a 5 year term as the Institution’s CEO.

For a copy of the report, please apply to:
Doug Chaplin
Commercial Manager
Aquafuel Research Limited
dougchaplin@aquafuel.co.uk
+44 7590 442272
 
 

New article by Susanne Retka Schill:

A new biogas cleanup technology has successfully passed first-phase trials conducted by United Kingdom-based Aquafuel Research Ltd.  The technology offers a low-cost treatment for landfill gas used in diesel engine electricity generators.

Landfill gas, like sewage gas and other biogases, contains corrosive hydrogen sulfide which shortens the life of the lubrication oil in the engines used for electricity generation. Aquafuel’s technology doubles the life of the engine’s lubrication oil resulting in reduced oil consumption while reducing downtime and operational costs.

Paul Day, Aquafuel CEO, explained that the company’s system reduces costs by treating only the portion of acidic sulfur gases that ends up in the crankcase – or about 5 percent of the total gas. “It’s [in the crankcase] that the vital damage is done by degrading the lube oil,” Day said. “This is where we protect, rather than scrubbing the whole incoming fuel.”

The company estimates the process will work for one-tenth the capital and operational cost of conventional biogas scrubbing systems. Aquafuel’s technology also senses and remotely monitors hydrogen sulfide levels in incoming gas, and automatically matches the dosing.

Aquafuel has run over 1,000 hours of trials at a European site with very high levels of hydrogen sulfide in the incoming gas flow. Lube oil consumption was reduced 57 percent in the trials. The engine was independently examined after the trials to verify no adverse effects occurred. Due to longer gaps between oil changes, the associated engine downtime was reduced by about 50 percent.

Aquafuel is continuing second-phase trials on the same site to validate its automatic system monitoring the doses of consumables used to cleanup the gas.
Detailed running costs will be calculated at the end of the full trial, but preliminary results indicate the final total savings will be around 30 percent, Day said. All phases of the trial are being monitored and verified by an independent consultant, and a full report will be available on completion. The company expects its technology to be commercially available in the third quarter of 2009.

“Landfill gas is an important energy source worldwide. Unlike natural gas its electricity is renewable, and it prevents emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas,” Day said. “Our cost effective technology makes electricity from landfill gas, bio gas and sewage gas more competitive by dramatically lowering operational costs.”

Read the full article [here] and the original press release below.

 
 

Independent commercial trial indicates operational cost savings of 30%

SITTINGBOURNE, England - 30th April 2009 - Aquafuel Research Limited, the specialist in renewable power innovation, today announced the completion of successful first-phase trials of new technology for low-cost treatment of polluted gas in diesel engine electricity generators running on landfill gas.
 
Landfill gas, like sewage gas and bio gas, contains corrosive hydrogen sulphide (H2S), which shortens the life of the lubricating oil in the engines used for electricity generation.  Aquafuel’s technology works by doubling the life of the engine’s lubrication oil, resulting in lower downtime, plus substantial reductions in operational costs and lube oil consumption.

Aquafuel has developed and field-tested the new solution, which delivers cost-effective protection to lube oils in standard diesel generators. It works by treating only the vital 5% of gas which enters the crankcase, and does so for less than 1/10 of the capital and running cost of conventional scrubbing systems.

Aquafuel’s technology also senses and remotely monitors the H2S levels in the incoming gas, and automatically adapts its dosing to match.  This means no waste of consumables through fixed rate over-dosing, and no lube oil degradation.

The European trial site has very high levels of H2S in the incoming gas flow. The trial ran successfully for over 1,000 hours, during which the lube oil consumption was reduced by 57%.  The engine was completely stripped and independently examined, verifying no adverse effects from the technology. Due to longer gaps between oil changes, the associated engine downtime was also reduced by about 50%, giving further operating cost benefits.
 
“Landfill gas is an important energy source worldwide. Unlike natural gas its electricity is renewable, and it prevents emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas,” said Paul Day, CEO and Founder of Aquafuel Research.  “Our cost effective technology makes electricity from landfill gas, bio gas and sewage gas more competitive by dramatically lowering operational costs.”

Aquafuel is now continuing second-phase trials on the same site to validate the automatic dosing system. Consumables used to treat the gas will be automatically monitored. All signals will be uplinked to the web, so that the remote site monitoring system can be validated.

The detailed running costs will be calculated at the end of the full trial, but results indicate savings for the operator in the region of 30%. All phases of the trial are being independently monitored and verified by an independent consultant, and a full report will be available on completion. The solution will be commercially available in the third quarter of 2009.

 
 

Since the announcement of our breakthrough technology for glycerin CHP we have been inundated with commercial enquiries and technical questions.

On behalf of the whole team I'd like to thank you for your interest in our work.  I have compiled the most popular questions into the following Q&A, but if you have a specific enquiry please get in touch.

Paul Day
CEO and Founder

What is the amount of glycerin consumed per kwh generated?
Glycerin has a lower calorific value than diesel or biodiesel.  Specific fuel consumption is
~570 Kg/MWh or 0.57Kg/KWh


What kind of glycerin is it possible to use?
Glycerin from any source can be used.  The technology is tolerant of water, methanol and organic contaminants.  The technology was developed over two years, in cooperation with Greenergy, who operate a large scale biodiesel plant in the UK, so it was designed from the outset to use biodiesel production glycerin.

Is it possible to use crude glycerin or refined glycerin without humidity?
It is possible to use crude glycerin.  However the inorganic salts (biodiesel catalysts) must be removed.  This is achieved by distillation, the proven technology for this, using standard off-the-shelf equipment.  The heat required for distillation comes from the combined heat and power combustion of the glycerin, so it has no cost.


What level of impurities concentration in glycerin is tolerable?
The combustion is remarkably tolerant of water and organic impurities, but inorganic salts need to be controlled down to the limits for heavy fuel oil – this is simply achieved by distillation.

Is your company already selling the diesel generator itself or it will just sell the technology?
Aquafuel is a technology licencing company, but we do provide consultancy in the design and integration of CHP plants into client’s businesses. The technology uses standard diesel generators, standard waste heat boilers, and standard glycerin distillation kit.  Aquafuel provides access to its patented technology and the know-how to implement it successfully.

How this technology will be commercialised?
We are seeking licensing agreements directly with large biodiesel producers (plants of 50,000 mt per annum and upwards).

There is also possible demand for CHP energy from small biodiesel producers who may not have the investment capital or scale to justify their own distillation plant. So we will seek supply-chain solutions with investors who could process (desalinate) the crude glycerin centrally then distribute it to our licensees.

When and how might this technology be commercialised?
We have proven the technology on our fully instrumented diesel engine test bed, verifying everything from full spectrum emissions measurements to lube oil compatibility. Additionally, Aquafuel is already engaging with potential partners around the world, and would expect the technology to be introduced this year, with several plants in 2010.

What will be the cost to apply/implement this technology on a biodiesel plant?
There is capital cost associated with the implementation, for the diesel engine CHP plant, but these are in line with the costs of standard diesel-fuelled generators.  The overall cost depends on the size of plant, where it is sited, and how the heat and power are used.  Because glycerin CHP can provide all the electricity needed for biodiesel production, with excess to sell, and can provide a significant proportion of the plant’s process heating, the payback times are compelling.