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Propane & Natural Gas: Interchangable?

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by (PeteCresswell), Mar 11, 2008.

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  1. If an engine will run on propane, will it run on natural gas
    without modification?

    "Natural Gas" = the stuff they pipe into people's houses
    underground from a central distribution point.

    Pressure considerations?
     
  2. Vaughn Simon

    Vaughn Simon Guest

    My Onan generator happily runs off of either fuel. I only need to make a
    slight mixture adjustment for most efficient operation. It requires the same
    fuel pressure for either fuel, though it naturally takes different regulators to
    supply that pressure. By the way, the pressures involved are very low. If I
    remember correctly, it only takes 11" water column (less than 1 PSI).

    Vaughn
     
  3. Per Vaughn Simon:
    I've got my little EU2000 and about 200 feet of heavy-duty
    extension cords.... and that certainly fills the bill of what I
    wanted a generator to accomplish.


    But the more I read, the more I think that for anything larger
    the only sensible route for somebody who has natural gas piped
    into their property and doesn't need to run the gennie at other
    locations... and doesn't anticipate earthquakes... is a natural
    gas installation.

    Bolt the gennie to a poured concrete pad somewhere in the yard
    far enough from the house to avoid exhaust fume issues, put a
    little dog house over the gennie (or maybe build a garden shed
    around it), run the gas to the gennie, run an electrical cable
    from the gennie to a cutover panel in the house.


    To wit:
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    - No worries about "feeding the beast" when gas stations may
    be shut down due to the same power outage you're using
    the generator for.

    - No fuel storage issues.

    - Cheaper per-hour running given no road-fuel taxes on nat gas

    - No issues with going outside in the dark in freezing rain
    to refuel.

    - Greatly-reduced theft issues if the thing is bolted to the
    pad thoroughly enough.
     
  4.  
  5. The gen head and engine both produce heat that must be dissipated. Even if
    the engine is liquid cooled and the cooling loop extends outside the shed
    the block, exhaust manifold, and gen head will still heat up the air inside
    the shed so it still must have some ventilation.
     
  6. Guest

    An EU2000 generator head that's 90% efficient would produce 160 watts,
    ie 546 Btu/h, which would only raise the temperature of an 8' R1 cube
    by 546xR1/(6x8'x8') = 1.4 degrees F.
    If it burns 1.08 gallons of gas with a high heating value of 135K Btu
    in 4 hours at the 1600 W rated load and makes 6.4 kWh (21.8K Btu) of
    electricity and 113.2K Btu of heat (another 33.2 kWh, ie 39.6 kWh total),
    it's only 16% efficient, ie the heat output is 6 times the electrical
    output, ie 28.3K Btu/h. Why waste it?

    An EU2000 might depressurize a plastic film room in a basement with
    the exhaust bubbling through some water, then leaving the house. If
    a 1000 Btu/h-F auto radiator and its 20 watt series-connected fans
    remove 15K Btu/h, the room will be 15 F warmer than the basement.

    Can we plug the EU2000 into an active wall socket and make the meter
    go backwards? This doesn't seem economical compared to grid power,
    with $4/gallon gasoline. If the EU2000 lasts 10,000 hours, it costs
    about $0.09/hour to run, with a combined energy output costing about
    16 cents/kWh, or 11 cents, with natural gas at $1.50/therm.

    Nick
     
  7. You

    You Guest

    snipped for brevity
    How would you exchange the COOLING Air inside the enclosure??????
     
  8. How small an enclosure are you going to make it? Anything big enough to
    walk in to service the beast
    should be fine.
     
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