Nationwide Propane Distributed Generation (DG) Demonstration Program Launched

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Washington, DC (July 15, 2008) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) recently launched its Propane Distributed Generation Demonstration Program (Docket 12336), which aims to successfully demonstrate propane distributed generation (DG) systems and move those products closer to commercialization.

Rising energy prices and unreasonably unreliable electric power grids are driving consumers to seek cost-effective alternative sources for heat and power. Distributed generation systems fueled by clean, efficient propane can offer those benefits by providing consumers and businesses with reliable supplemental and backup power.

“Distributed generation is growing in popularity as an alternative heat and power source for many businesses and residences,” said PERC President and CEO Roy Willis. “This program is an opportunity to show that propane is a fuel that can significantly cut costs, increase reliability, and reduce emissions in distributed generation systems.”

Propane-fueled DG systems open up a vast new market for the propane industry. As consumers and businesses look for cleaner, more reliable, and more efficient energy solutions to power their homes and businesses, distributed generation will become increasingly popular. Successfully demonstrating propane-fueled DG systems now will enable propane to take part in that growing market in the future.

Through this program, the propane industry has partnered with Climate Energy and Energy Alternatives, the National Park Service of the Wrangell–Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, and the North Carolina Solar Center located at North Carolina State University.

Hydronic Micro CHP System, Climate Energy. This project will demonstrate Climate Energy’s hydronic micro-combined heat and power (CHP) system at a Massachusetts residence. The unit combines a high-efficiency boiler and a Honda engine, producing 1.2 kW of electric power and capturing the resulting heat. A similar unit is already commercially available in Japan. This installation will allow researchers to evaluate the many features and benefits of this technology, including efficiency, energy performance, and reliability.

Propane Distributed Generation Demonstration Program for Rural Alaska, Energy Alternatives. The project team will install a Yanmar micro-cogeneration system, offering a 5 kW electrical output and 10 kW thermal output, at a manufacturing facility in rural Alaska and monitor it for one year. The team will evaluate run times, efficiency, actual fuel usage, and on- and off-grid applications. Co-funding from the Department of Energy is provided through the University of Alaska’s Arctic Energy Technology Development Laboratory, which will independently evaluate system analysis.

Replace Kennecott Power Generation with Battery/Propane Hybrid at Wrangell–Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, National Park Service. The Wrangell–Saint Elias national park is off-grid and currently powered by diesel generators. This project will provide a clean-burning fuel source by installing a 25 kW and a 10 kW battery/propane hybrid generator in a micro-grid application. The generators will run at capacity to charge the batteries as needed, reducing generator run time and fuel usage.

Solar Augmented Propane Combined Heat and Power Demonstration Project, North Carolina Solar Center. The project will demonstrate the technical and economic viability of incorporating photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal, and propane CHP into an integrated DG system at a marketer’s bulk plant facility. The units will be visible to the public and used as an educational demonstration and marketing showcase for the capabilities of existing technologies to create a high-efficiency system.

The vision of the propane industry is that by 2010, the industry will establish propane as the fuel of choice where clean, affordable, safe, and reliable energy is required. Customers will recognize propane for its excellent portability, low environmental impact, high safety standards, and outstanding value.

For more information on PERC's research and development efforts, contact PERC's Greg Kerr at (202) 452-8975 or