Over this past summer, the team at Cat Electric Power, including myself, has had the opportunity to participate in many different events and conferences that have been billed as places to get the experts together to solve global energy problems. In my opinion, the solution to meeting the rising electric power demand of a growing global middle class has to be met not with a single magic bullet or technology but via a diversified power generation strategy that includes both traditional technologies along with new and renewable power generation technologies. Today, Caterpillar may be well known as a manufacturer of traditional engine and turbine power generation systems, but we've also been working hard to develop products and services tailored toward the renewable space – specifically biogas power generation.
Ask the average guy or gal on the street to name a renewable power technology and they would immediate think of wind, solar, hydro, or geothermal. I think public perception has a lot to do with visibility, marketing, and PR. Very few people would know that there is enough landfill biogas power generation already operating in the United States to power millions of homes. Even fewer are probably aware of the carbon reductions that are possible if every major farm in the world started funneling agricultural and animal waste into an anaerobic digester, which is an extremely mature technology, for the production of biogas. When you start to look at capacity factors (analogous to the percentage of time the energy is available over a year) of the different renewable technologies available, it’s evident that electricity production from biogas is probably the most consistent and reliable renewable energy type in the world. That being said, Caterpillar has an obvious vested interested in biogas production given that we produce small and large engines, turbines, and generator sets capable of using biogas as a fuel source... and we've been hard at work to get the message out there.
This summer, our own Ben Mathews became a board member of the American Biogas Council. Our own Dr. John Lee presented at the 2012 Biogas Asia Pacific Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. We'll also sponsor and attend the Green Expo in Mexico City this month, as well as the Biocycle Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. We recently hosted a webcast that covered the unique challenges of developing biogas projects, which you can find at https://www.catelectricpowerinfo.com/gas/webcasts.
I'd also like to invite any financial analyst, project developer, farmer, consulting engineering firm, or other interested party to meet Jon Best of Cat Financial as he presents at an upcoming webcast sponsored by the American Biogas Council. You can register to participate at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/315003738.
I'm a firm believer in the economics and viability of renewable power generation for a variety of reasons. Again, I feel that all renewable technologies should have a seat at the global energy table. I'm also very interested to get your opinion.
- What is your experience with biogas power generation?
- What do you see as the largest barrier to realizing the world’s potential for biogas fuels or any renewable fuel?
- What would you propose for a sound global energy policy?
Please share your thoughts by posting below.
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