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Firm Seeks to Soak Up Methane Emissions, Profits

An Irvine, CA-based company is touting a licensing agreement with a Dresser-Rand Group unit that makes small turbines as opening the door for smaller, decentralized power generation using otherwise unusable waste gas.

Ener-Core Inc., formerly part of New Hampshire-based FlexEnergy, which has been promoting solutions for associated gas flaring in the Bakken Shale, said it plans to combine its patented oxidation technology with Dresser-Rand Co.'s 2 MW gas turbines (KG2-3GEF). Management claims the technology may provide industry an economic and environmentally beneficial way to capture and use otherwise wasted supplies of methane.

"We have deployed the only technology in the world that enables industry to cease burning [flaring] of waste gases by converting these unusable waste gases directly into profit via baseload clean power and preventing greenhouse gas emissions [GHG]," an Ener-Core spokesperson told NGI's Shale Daily.

The company would not disclose the operators with which it is working.

"We are under non-disclosure agreements [NDA] and are not at liberty to share their names as we are currently in advanced negotiations," the spokesperson said. "We have garnered a great deal of interest within the sector, given the urgency of the [GHG] emission rules."

Ener-Core's gradual oxidization technology is said to be complementary to small turbine manufacturers, such as Capstone Turbine Corp., which for more than a decade has been producing small distributed generation turbines that run on unprocessed and cleaned-up natural gas (see Daily GPI, Aug. 27, 1999).

"We are not combusting gases at all, and hence we can convert low-Btu gases and/or highly contaminated gases that combustion simply does not work on," the spokesperson said. "It is precisely for this reason that 65,000 MW worth of waste gases are flared or vented into the atmosphere around the world since turbines and engines will not work on these waste gases."

While the waste gases that turbines like Capstone makes are non-pipeline-quality gases, the ones that Ener-Core's technology enables the use of waste gases that the company defines as supplies that are not feasible for conversion to power combustion.

"Ener-Core never competes with any turbines," the spokesperson said. "Quite the opposite, we are a replacement to the combustor within the turbines."

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