Gas-generated electric power – with benefits

By N Alwar, Barloworld Power


Published in:

Electricity+Control, January 2015 (pages 24 – 26)

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Standard Bank complex, Johannesburg

The new Standard Bank complex in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is considered a flagship project for Barloworld Power in which the gas power plant was completed a month ahead of schedule.

The gas-powered solution provided consists of a 1 MW Cat G3512E gas-powered generator set, heat recovery equipment and an absorption chiller. The generator set runs on natural gas supplied to the bank by Egoli Gas. The electric power produced supplies one fifth of the bank’s electric power demand, with the generator set’s thermal energy recovered for the bank’s hot water and air conditioning requirements.

Banks are data centres, requiring power supply systems that must satisfy the objectives of both reliability and energy efficiency. The bank thus has the utility (Eskom) supply, gas engine power plant supply, and diesel back-up as components of enhanced system reliability. However, unlike diesel powered gensets, which are typically used as a standby power source in cases of utility power failures, the gas generator set runs continuously to reduce the building’s requirement for utility power.

The lower cost of gas contributes to cost efficiency, but total energy efficiency is achieved with the recoverable heat from the gas engine, used for the building’s thermal energy requirements (such as hot water and air conditioning), further offsetting utility consumption


Take note

  • In the last decade, the uptime of the gas supply in South Africa has been impressive, competing with diesel.
  • Gas engine technology is a continuous operation that enables use of the recoverable heat to create further offsets in energy efficiency.
  • Local municipalities are considering gas generators using biogas produced from wastewater treatment plants to produce power.