Many parts of the world are facing the triple challenge of providing secure energy to fuel economic growth at an affordable cost while minimizing the impact of energy production on the environment. Island nations especially struggle to address this trilemma, as renewable resources are usually limited and fossil fuels imported.
Traditionally such distributed power plants have relied on liquid fuels and multiple open cycle reciprocating engines to provide both redundancy and the ability to load follow across a broad load range to maximize efficiency. This approach has created high electricity prices and significant negative environmental impact, especially that attributed to CO2, NOx, and SOx.
With increasing natural gas production, the availability of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has grown, and costs have fallen, allowing the potential to switch from fuel oils to LPG to reduce environmental impacts. Energy costs and environmental impact can be further reduced by using high efficiency Gas Turbine Combined Cycle plants with dry low emissions combustion technology. However, a further hurdle facing many locations is lack of the fresh water required for combined cycle operations.
LPG-fuelled Gas Turbine Combined Cycle using Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology can address all aspects of this energy trilemma. This paper reviews the conceptual design of a proposed 100MW distributed power plant for an island location, based on multiple LPG-fuelled gas turbines to follow load demand, with an ORC bottoming cycle to maximize efficiency.