APR Energy is seeing growing interest in fast-track projects using natural gas and other clean-burning and readily available fuels such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG) across the African continent. The company believes this is an interesting development in a market that traditionally has been served by diesel power modules and HFO engines.
As the world’s largest provider of mobile turbine power, APR Energy offers advanced GE 2500+ aeroderivative turbines that can not only run on natural gas, but also can switch seamlessly between natural gas and diesel, or burn abundant, clean-burning LPG. The company says this is significant because experts are forecasting an increase in the price of diesel fuel and HFO during the next few years, while natural gas and LPG prices are expected to remain stable.
“Since fuel constitutes about 70 percent of the cost of power generation, a customer could save millions of dollars a year on fuel by opting for fuel-flexible generating technology. The turbines also offer environmental benefits such as significantly lower NOx emissions, 20 percent less noise and a two-thirds less space than a comparable solution using diesel power modules,” says a press statement from the company.
Significant gas reserves, abundant opportunities
Much of Africa has significant indigenous gas reserves, including West Africa and the Mozambique/Tanzania region. Even in areas where domestic gas is not available, the abundance and mobility of LNG – and LPG – should result in more opportunities for gas-fired generation throughout Africa. That said, Benin specifically wanted the fuel-flexible turbines because of their ability to switch to diesel or other fuels in the event of natural gas shortages or pipeline disruptions in the region.
A number of coastal countries – including Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Ghana – are at various stages in the development of developing LNG import terminals and gas-to-power infrastructure. APR Energy believes this is a promising development for several reasons. First, natural gas supplies are abundant and prices are forecast to remain stable for the foreseeable future. In addition, natural gas is clean-burning, which makes it increasingly attractive in a world that is pursuing environmentally friendly power solutions.
APR Energy believes that the greatest opportunity related to these gas-to-power programs is cross-border power. “Using gas-to-power to create regional generation hubs would be a win-win proposition in places like the Southern African Power Pool and West African Power Pool. The host country would increase its power supply and generate export revenues, and the importing countries would gain much-needed electricity without needing to invest the years and millions of dollars required to build their own power plants,” the company says.