GE: Italy’s AB orders 115 Jenbacher engines for biogas projects

By GE | June 21, 2016

GE’s Distributed Power business recently announced that AB, a globally leading combined-heat-and-power and biogas project developer based in Italy, has purchased 115 of GE’s high-efficiency Jenbacher Type 3 and Type 4 biogas engines. AB will offer the units to agricultural sector customers as a cost-effective alternative to upgrading existing engines at their sites.

Following a 2012 boom in agricultural biogas projects driven by government incentives, industry demand for new biogas development began to slow down. In response to this industry development, the new engine order illustrates AB’s new service strategy to give agricultural customers a cost-effective new option to repower their existing biogas energy facilities.

“We purchased the 115 Jenbacher biogas engines from GE to provide an attractive and reliable service option to our customers in Italy during the minor overhauls for their installed gas engines,” said Angelo Baronchelli, AB’s president. “Instead of overhauling a customer’s installed engine on-site, potentially causing several costly days of downtime, we now have the ability to immediately provide an alternative solution to replace the existing engine with a new ‘premium long block’ powered by one our latest Jenbacher units.”

Time-saving engine replacement procedures are an attractive solution, helping customers reduce their downtimes and costs. High levels of plant reliability after such major service activities also provide additional economic benefits.

AB is offering the attractive replacement program for Jenbacher gas engines when they reach their recommended operating hours schedule for a minor overhaul. To save the customer time and money, AB offers on-site replacements with overhauled engines, including upfront delivery for engines that needs to be changed out. The customer receives an original Jenbacher engine that meets the latest technology standards and is aligned with the end user’s business needs. Meanwhile, the operator’s first engine will be overhauled at Orzinuovi and later will be returned to service during the next scheduled engine overhaul.

The long block option provides an extended scope of supply that is precisely adjusted to the customer’s requirements and contains a comprehensive engine test run at the Jenbacher test bench facilities. Benefits of this approach include technical upgrades and short delivery times.

Installing a Jenbacher J320 long block engine under the replacement program will allow AB to offer an agricultural biogas plant operator 2,000 additional operating hours of power production in downtime savings, an estimated 2,700 tons of biomass savings and approximately €600,000 ($674,970) in additional income over 15 years. Meanwhile, the new long block engine offering continues to improve local air quality by helping the operator reduce the need to flare off biogas during the overhaul.

AB ordered 115 of GE’s Jenbacher J312, J316, J320 and J416 gas engines. The engines will supply a combined 115-megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to AB’s customers.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship with AB by supporting their innovative way to continue developing cost-effective biogas projects throughout Italy in support of Europe’s efforts to expand renewable energy production,” said Margherita Adragna, general manager—services for GE’s Distributed Power business. “Increasing the long-term reliability of existing biogas facilities throughout the region will play an important role in supporting the region’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”

All of the 115 units will be delivered by GE’s Overhaul Technology Center for Jenbacher gas engines in Austria, where GE’s Distributed Power business also is headquartered.

The new order follows a multiyear agreement announced in 2011 between GE and AB for the Italian company to deploy Jenbacher engines for agricultural biogas projects throughout Europe. In all, AB now owns an estimated 1,100 Jenbacher engines that are being used for various on-site power projects.