Alternative source of energy does not come cheap. And what contributes to its high cost is the transportation from its source to a site where it’s needed. African Mining Brief speaks to Andrew Brink, an expert from Gas at Site, on-site gas generation as a viable alternative.
On-site gas generation brings about the level of convenience to a business that is not experienced with other gas supply methods, says Andrew Brink, an expert from Gas at Site. He points out the main facts why gas offers more bang for customers buck.
- Fast pay-back
Depending on the volume, purity, distance from a cryogenic plant, fluctuation in demand and extent of the competition, the payback for purchasing an on-site gas generation plant from outside the industrial gas industry is between 6 months and 4 years.
- Increased reliability
Particularly in remote areas the reliability of a modern on-site gas plant prevents out of stock situations logistics problems and administration issues that tend to occur with vendor supplied gases.
- Paying for what you need
Representatives of the industrial gas companies are prone to specify gas purities substantially higher than what are actually needed in many applications. They also tend to exaggerate the sophistication required to support the equipment associated with on site gas generation which is often no more than what is required for a standard air compressor.
- Avoid the red tape
If you are already contracted to an industrial gas supplier beware the expiry terms (minor maintenance on their equipment can extend the contract automatically) and the ever green clauses. Often the contract is automatically extended if not cancelled (commonly with a years notice period) prior to the expiry date. Planning is probably the best way to get out of a long term contract and if you cancel early and wish to resign with the same supplier it can normally be done at an improved price point.
- Getting the best of two worlds
If your gas demand is variable with short term fluctuations the most cost effective solution can be “peak shaving”. This system uses liquid gases supplied from an on-site tank in combination with an on-site generator. The base load is supplied by the on site generator and the peak loads are supplied by cryogenic liquid from an on site tank.
Large users of industrial gases from refineries to aluminium smelters to fruit storage specialists are increasingly adopting on-site generation to meet their gas demand. Compared to the often complex logistics for trucking or shipping in gases, the benefits of on-site generation are recognized not only for the improved supply reliability, but also for the significantly lower cost.
There is no secret that in most situations on-site gas generation is significantly cheaper than delivered gas from capital intensive cryogenic plants owned and operated by the major industrial gas companies.
In general the majors offer the same deal no matter who you talk to. And although they too will supply on-site gas generators, due to their substantial investment in their cryogenic plants they are usually committed to supplying on-site gas at the same price as their liquid or cylinder offer.