LPP Combustion converts ethanol into gas

By Luke Geiver | May 21, 2010
June 7, 2010

LPP Combustion LLC, a Maryland-based liquid fuel technology provider, has created a system that converts liquid ethanol into a substitute natural gas called LPP gas (Lean Premixed PreVaporized). The system combines heat, nitrogen and a 90 percent ethanol and ten percent water mix, within a customized vaporizer. The result is an "on-demand" fuel source capable of powering a micro turbine up to a mega turbine, according to Chris Broemmelsiek, vice president of sales and marketing for LPP Combustion.

The company is currently supplying power to the Baltimore Gas & Electric grid through a net metering agreement and has also successfully demonstrated power generation in a 30 kilowatt Capstone C30 gas turbine. Emissions from the C30 gas turbine, when operating at full load on LPP gas derived from ethanol, are 3 parts per million (ppm) NOx and 18 ppm carbon monoxide (CO), an improvement on baseline natural gas emissions of 3 ppm NOx and 30 ppm CO. Caseus Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Dubay Biofuels-Greenwood LLC, a Wisconsin-based fuel ethanol producer that converts whey permeate, will implement LLP's combustion system to power the plant.

Broemmelsiek said the company grew from a sister affiliation that dealt specifically with combustion technology. LPP is now in the final stages of obtaining patents for the technology, including the hardware and the methodology. "We thought we would find a vaporizer with the heat transfer we wanted on the commercial market but we didn't." said Broemmelsiek. The customized LPP vaporizer allows for a varied amount of nitrogen and heat to match desired characteristics.

The technology is already in use but there is still testing and research taking place. "We are still testing the system and accumulating the hours of research to generate more and more data," Broemmelsiek said. "We think we have the technology to help provide power by ethanol." Places that don't have an adequate amount of natural gas to supply power represent natural markets for the LPP system, said Broemmelsiek. Along with the Middle East where natural gas use is actually low, Broemmelsiek said, "Brazil is a large hope for our market."

Besides ethanol, the system can also run on biodiesel, No. 2 diesel fuel and heating oil, kerosene, and JP8 aviation fuel. "People who are interested in burning green fuels and reducing carbon footprints, those are the people that we think are interested in what we are doing," Broemmelsiek said. "We can make power on demand instead of waiting for the sun to shine or the wind to blow."