Natural Gas Expertise All the WayWed, 02/21/2018 - 09:40
In a rapidly changing energy environment, cogeneration is emerging as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. But Caio Zapata, Director General of Énestas says that, for some clients, natural gas is not a part of their business model so they are more reluctant to adopt the technology. Énestas is taking extra steps to convince them of its benefits by allowing these companies to focus on their activities that produce value. “We want our customers to worry only about the core activities that will make them competitive,” he says.
With lower costs and environmental impact than other fossil fuels, as well as higher generation stability than renewable sources, adoption of natural gas based cogeneration should be a no-brainer for industrial consumers to cover their energy needs. Nevertheless, in the market there are many industrial companies that are not connected to natural gas pipelines, making it an attractive market niche for Énestas to work in.
Zapata says that often companies believe that just because their installations are not close to a natural gas pipeline, cogeneration is a no-go for them. Énestas is working to make the company a leader in providing access to natural gas for all consumers. Zapata points to virtual natural gas pipelines as one of the company’s main strengths. “A virtual pipeline is a non-physical pipeline that consists of transport mediums such as automotive pipelines, train tanks or even boats that can reach the customer at any location,” he says.
These virtual pipelines are not only a benefit for customers located in remote areas but also apply to a consumer that wants to use natural gas but is not able to do so because of other restrictions. “Although an industrial customer may have a pipeline close by, regulatory or economic obstacles sometimes make delivery of the fuel to that client unviable,” he explains. He uses one of the projects the company worked on as example of such a situation, where a client located in the city center of Guadalajara could not reach the nearest natural gas pipeline because of the risks and economic costs associated with developing a connection. Énestas then helped the customer get the natural gas it needed by connecting it to a virtual pipeline.
Virtual pipelines are also suitable for seasonal consumers, such as mines and greenhouses, helping them avoid undesired expenses, Zapata explains. “If these customers are connected to a physical pipeline, they must pay for the system even during non-consumption periods due to pipeline usage rights,” he says. “With our virtual pipeline solution, customers pay only for their consumption and avoid any extra, unnecessary costs.” Being a seasoned player in the market, Zapata says Énestas can provide its customers access to natural gas in just a couple of days, completing the paperwork and permitting processes quickly and efficiently.
To help customers access virtual pipelines, Énestas offers an innovative scheme whereby customers can participate in shared-risk and even risk-free testing schemes. “In these schemes Énestas provides the investment, with the objective of showcasing to the client how the solution will work and how it will provide economic savings,” he explains. “In some cases, we can even provide the necessary infrastructure.”
Énestas does not only enable natural gas to reach operations but also converts diesel generators to allow companies to consume the resource. According to Zapata, for every unit converted, this can save 30-40 percent in fuel consumption. Énestas can distribute the natural gas to the generation units via virtual pipelines, be it to the client’s facilities or even to distribution stations. Zapata says these solutions can be tailored to suit the client’s needs or to its transportation schedules.
Another way Énestas contributes to environmental protection – and to the client’s bottom line – is through commercializing the natural gas that is usually lost during upstream gas flaring. “We can provide our clients with an integral solution that allows them to capture, process and convert natural gas, propane and other derivatives into fully usable and profitable resources,” he explains. In this way, Énestas can further help its customers to care for the environment and comply with stricter national and international regulations.