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Overview

Engine drives are comprised of a reciprocating engine coupled through a gearbox to any number of pieces of open drive equipment such as a generator, chiller, pump, air compressor, fan etc. Natural gas engine drives offer important advantages over electric motors. Reciprocating engines are the most common prime mover in smaller (under 15 MW) cogeneration systems. Whether the driven equipment uses an electric motor or natural gas engine, it is designed and manufactured to the same quality standards regardless of the type of drive.

A very important feature of the engine is the inherent variable speed control of power output. Engines are designed to operate over a wide range of speeds. Reducing the capacity of the equipment being driven by slowing the shaft speed is the most efficient way to achieve maximum performance. Energy utilization efficiencies can exceed 75% by recovering heat from the engine in conjunction with driving a piece of equipment.