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Combined Heat and Power with built-in Carbon Sequestration (CHP-CS)

All Power Labs invites you to join us for a special Launch Party on Friday, June 29th in Berkeley, CA where we will debut the new Gen 2 Power Pallet.  The event will be a formal presentation by APL Founder/CEO Jim Mason on the new concepts and features of the PP30 Cogen-CS, as well as run demonstrations with several machines on site.
As many of you have noticed, APL has been rather quiet for the last two years in terms of new announcements and deployments.  The pause has been enabled by significant grant funding from the California Energy Commission and US National Science Foundation, which has enabled us to do a full redesign and generation change of the Power Pallet.  

After nearly a decade of on-the-ground work around the world–starting with the GEK DIY kits and continuing through the grid tie Power Cube–we’ve been blessed to have a funded pause where we could redevelop our core product from scratch, in relation to the totality of our learning to date.  The result is the new PP30 Cogen-CS.  We believe it represents a major step change beyond anything offered in the industry to date.  We’re excited to show you all that we’ve been able to achieve.

During the Launch Event we’ll demonstrate a variety of new capabilities on the PP30 Cogen-CS including; higher power output, high efficiency CHP utilizing both engine and gasifier waste heat, optimized biochar output, quiet run enclosure, and operations and maintenance refinements across all systems.  We plan to put the CHP heat output to good use making a hot tub human habitable, as well as driving an absorption chiller we’re currently testing for refrigeration and air conditioning uses.  The absorption chiller is not quite yet a regular sales offering, but it is something we plan to offer as an add-on in the very near future.

As usual, the point of APL events is for you to put your hands on the details of the machines, meet the people that develop them, and discuss how we might collaborate on projects in your region.  We invite you to join us for this and more.  The event is free, but those interesting in attending need to register here

PP30 Cogen-CS:  New FeaturesIn the coming weeks we’ll explore the new concepts, features and functions of the PP30 Cogen-CS in detail through a series of APL News posts.  Today let’s get started with a high level summary of the main points of interest.  

Higher Power output: ~25kWThe Gen 2 Power Pallet uses a new 4.0L 4cyl engine at 12:1 compression ratio, in combination with a new high efficiency genhead to produce a continuous 25kW at 60hz, and 23kW at 50hz.  The system will support temporary loads above this, but for continuous rating we are confident at 25/23kW for 60/50hz markets.  The limitation in the 60hz market is now the gasmaking system capacity, not the engine, thus the 50hz rating is not derated by raw rpm/hz%.

After a large survey of value optimized engines of the world, we have exited the previous GM, and selected the Ashok Leyland H4 from India– an engine based on and further developed from the Hino/Toyota W04.  This engine was the workhorse HIno medium duty diesel truck engine in the 80s and 90s.  More recently, it is the engine that powers 100s of thousands of CNG buses in India, and equally proven over extensive powergen deployments globally.  The engine is a heavy duty industrial power plant, with a long list of features that result in quiet operation, high efficiency, extreme longevity, and ease of rebuild via removable cylinder liners and in frame rebuild kits.  Also, most importantly, the factory delivers it painted fire engine red, so it goes extra fast!

Ashok Leyland is a major new strategic partner for APL and the Gen 2 Power Pallet.  We’re highly excited by the new capacities they’re bringing to the APL effort, both in engine supply, as well as more broad manufacturing services for the genset part of the Power Pallet.


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Standard

The best and highest use case for our machines has always pointed toward CHP.  The problem has been adding the extra CHP related components without destroying the price point for the total machine.  After a long cycle of value engineering, we’ve figured out how to offer multistage CHP–utilizing gasifier waste heat, engine cooling water, and engine exhaust–without the typical 2x or 3x price multiple on the raw genset.  We’ve been able to reduce the cost far enough that we’ve decided to just make the CHP native to the machine.  Cogen standard highlights the unique value a biomass based genset can offer beyond an electricity only renewable; extending renewables to solve typical heating needs without the typical fossil based solutions.

The base CHP system is 2 stage (gasifier Hx and engine cooling water).  The engine exhaust gas Hx is an optional add-on that completes the full 3 stage system. 

If using all 3 CHP stages, each 1kW electricity generated will produce 2kW of thermal output.  Total system efficiency with the 3 stage system is ~70% calculated from raw biomass, or ~80% if calculated from input syngas.  

Built-in Carbon Sequestration (CS)

Our climate trajectory requires carbon drawdown, not just carbon emission reduction.  Gasification + Biochar is one of the very few pathways for carbon drawdown that is currently accessible and ready to engage with current technology and products.  And it’s already built-in with a biomass gasifier engine system–no extra carbon capture and sequestration machinery required!

The new PP30 Cogen-CS enables deployments of this solution with a dedicated biochar collection system, larger collection bins on both reactor and cyclone, and temperature controlled collection environments that prevent PAH condensation on the char.  Default biochar mass yield rate is 5% of biomass in.

Genset Enclosure Standard

The gen 2 Power Pallet comes standard with a new half enclosure solution: the genset side is enclosed, but the gas making side is left exposed for ease of access.  Previously we found the full enclosure of the Power Cube to be a liability for operation and maintenance, and have decided on this half and half solution as a better optimization of protection vs access.  The resulting enclosure is smaller and thus less expensive to make, so we’ve decided to also make it standard with the product.  Now, all Power Pallets are quiet running, and genset enclosed.  No more exposed engines on open skid!


Grid-tie and Paralleling Standard

Most users have tended towards ordering the Power Pallet with grid tie and paralleling capability, so we’ve decided to make it standard on the new generation machine.  Now all machines arrive ready to sync to typical global grid configurations, as well as enable multiple Power Pallets to parallel together.  The machines can still run off-grid with the same Deep Sea multifunction genset controller / synchronizer that is used for grid-tie, but now with the added benefit of full power meters and configurable run parameters and safety settings.

Operations and Maintenance Refinements

The rub for high uptime gasifier projects is always the real O&M rate.  If there has been a core design challenge and development priority for the new Gen machine, it has been to transform the reality of O&M rates typically experienced in a biomass gasifier-engine system.  Driving this O&M rate down has been our main engineering, test and documentation focus for the last two years at APL.  In the process, a long list of items have been reconceived or refined across all Power Pallet systems: gasifier, filtration, heat exchangers, genset, and automation.  The details are many and will be the main focus of coming APL News posts.

Low Price Point Maintained

The price point for the new full featured PP30 Cogen-CS system is approximately $2/watt.  The base machine includes the new enclosure, grid tie, and CHP as standard, with emissions catalyst and continuous feed system as add-on options.  This base machine is more expensive than the previous base PP 20 Power Pallet, but about the same as the full featured version of the PP20 with all the add-ons.  It is also a bit less expensive than the previous Power Cube (which it replaces), though with much more delivered.

We have decided to standardize on this more full featured configuration, as this is how most people have wanted the machine.  We realize this will be less attractive for some simple off-grid uses, where a less featured machine is desired.  We plan to offer these lower feature machines in the near future, but are starting with the full featured configuration as standard as this is how the majority of customers want it.  If your use case argues for the less featured form of the machine, do write us and we’ll keep you informed about the timeline for these later releases.

What’s next?

More info, pictures and technical specs will continue in weekly APL News posts for the next month.  If you can’t wait and want a full spec sheet now, or more specific pricing and availability info, please write  Yes, we are already taking orders for and delivering the new machine as of June, 2018.

We hope you will join us for the launch party in 2 weeks on June 29th.  The event is free.  The food and drink are free.  The hot tub and music are free.  But remember you do need to RSVP.  You can do so at the link here:

Hope you see you soon,

Jim Mason
All Power Labs

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