Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

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BB.
BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
Jaykat7 , December 27th, 2011 at 11:27 PST
I am in the process of designing a system for a mid sized home in northern PA...

I have a natural gas well that has LIMITED volume and pressure...

I am connected to the grid, and would like to be able to produce the majority of my electricity needs...

Ideally, I would be interested in a hydrogen fuel cell generator that can provide hot water and electricity...does such a thing exist?

If anyone can provide guidance and advice, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Note, I and Jaykat7 have exchanged a few PM's about his requirements... Basically, he uses around 3kWH per day at his off-grid home and he is looking for suggestions on how to implement (cost effectively) electric power generation from a natural gas well producing "wet gas".

He has looked at Fuel Cells and and other technologies. He is also very interested if he can do this without a battery bank.

I have suggested that he probably will need a battery bank and an appropriately sized piston engine generator converted to Wet Gas usage is probably the "best way" of doing this...

However, I do not have any experience in this area--So I have suggested that he post his questions on the forum for others to comment/make suggestions about.

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset

Comments

  • icarus
    icarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Why not avoid the " middle man" and just use the gas directly,, for either heating, or to run a genny? Seems like a solution in search of a problem. It would sort of depend on how many BTUs net you can draw per day.


    One question is can you store the gas so that you can use it in larger volume/pressure for peak demand?
    Tony
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    In our PM discussions, I forgot one other major type of generator that could work. TEG or Thermal Electric Generators. Here is one vendor:

    www.globalte.com/index.php?pageId=2&sId=31

    I don't know anything about their product or the costs... TEG's are not particularily efficient (something like 12%). But they are quiet and have no moving parts:

    Thermoelectric generator


    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solarvic
    solarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,071 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Need more info about the gas well. If a gas co drilled the well they usually pay you a royality and In Pennsylvania they allow you a set amount that you can use free. If you use more than allowed you then have to start paying for it. I talked with someone one time that thought all he had to do was run a generator continuesly and used up his allottment and got a big bill from the gas co. The generator didn,t last very long either. I am in the middle of doing something so I can use more of my free gas but you still need a battery, inverter and generator. With an inverter that has a battery charger he probably could run the generator part time and not use all his gas and wear out the generator prematurely. I also am going to charge battery some with solar. :Dsolarvic:D I see that he is grid connected. Unless he has a big bill it might be better to stay connected. I am in northwest pa and if he doesn,t live too far from me I could show him what I did or am doing.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Sorry--You are correct. The Original poster is on grid.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Maybe he can get a grid tie agreement for one of these.

    http://www.bloomenergy.com/products/data-sheet-5400/
  • solarvic
    solarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,071 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Solar dave. He has a low output well that probably wouldn,t supply enough narural gas. In Pa. you can,t be gridtied with a generator. The limit for gridtie is a 10 kwh system. Farmers can use methane gas but would have to go big and negotiate with power co. There is a cheese factort in my area that uses methane gas to power a 2 megawatt generator and sell thier excess to power co. The methane gas comes from the whey which has to be disposed with. Other cheese plants pay them to take thier whey and they get the methane from it. They have a small sewerplant that takes the solids from the whey and all that is left is the water that is put into a small stream that goes thru thier property. A farmer gets the solids and uses it for fertilizer to grow switchgrass which is used to make bio diesel or alchohol. So everything from the dairy farm gets used except the MOO :Dsolarvic:D
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    From Jaykat7;
    Thank you for this information...its very helpful, and I'm getting closer to deciding the best design for my application...

    You mentioned the idea of storing natural gas from my natural gas well...so that I would have an adequate amount of volume and pressure during times of higher demand...I believe that this is going to be the key to the potential success of my application...if I can can adequate volume and pressure all the time, I believe that I could go with almost any size generator...

    May I ask if you or anyone knows of the best method of doing this...you mentioned a "rubber bladder"...could you (or anyone who might read this) provide any additional ideas...I really need specifics regarding how to go about purchasing something like a "rubber bladder" for natural gas storage...

    Thanks...

    Please post this however it can be seen by the most people...

    James

    James,

    To be honest, I don't know what is the "legal" solution to store natural gas on site:
    • Saw rancher storing methane from manure in large heavy rubber bladder (perhaps you can contact the farmers at www.cowpots.com and see if they can tell you more about their methane storage setup).
    • Used to see Natural Gas tank farms in SF Bay Area. Open Bottom tank that would float in water (with framework) to store natural gas
    • High pressure storage (over 3,000 PSI?)--Pumps are not cheap, use a fair amount of power, and pumps need rebuilding every few years.
    Problem with any gaseous fuel storage. You doing this in an open area with a couple hundred gallons of storage--mistakes are survivable.

    Problems with larger storage installations (leaks into buildings/basements/etc.)--Mistakes are frequently not survivable.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solarvic
    solarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,071 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    I have talked to jaykat on the phone. He has ng waterheater, gas heat and gas cloths dryer and sometimes has to shut off his apliances to let the gas pressure rebuild.as they can use more gas than the well outputs now. If it was me I wouldn,t want to add the load of a generator to the well. Could be the straw that breaks the camels back. I recomended solar panels battery and inverter system with a trifuel generator. With the trifuel I recomended the yamaha as Yamaha warranty is still good right thru yamaha at any yamaha dealer. Honda is good too but I don,t think honda will honor the warranty with ng as the fuel. I know of one kit company that warrants the honda on thier own according to thier website. I encouraged jaycat to read and participate here on the forum and ask his questions here as I think he has lots to learn same as most of the rest of us. :Dsolarvic:D
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,477 admin
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions

    Thank you Vic for helping James.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • SolarLurker
    SolarLurker Solar Expert Posts: 122 ✭✭
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    Re: Off Grid Natural Gas Well--Looking for Residential Power suggestions
    
    
    This might be a neat application for a freewatt or Freewatt plus, the CHP unit would be much more efficient running a generator and a heat source.