Promoting the Benefits of Thermal EnergyWed, 02/19/2014 - 15:36
Having been involved in the electrical industry for a long time, it was a natural move for Ambar Electroingeniería to enter the cogeneration game. “The time is right for many industries to invest in this technology,” says Daniel Salazar, Director General of Ambar Electroingeniería. His company always looks at its projects from a thermal capacity viewpoint and has specialized in the low and medium voltage fields, because of opportunities spotted in these areas over 20 years ago. After taking a chance and succeeding in the medium voltage market, introducing new technology for air insulated switching systems into the market in cooperation with a Spanish partner, the medium voltage market proved to be the right choice. Salazar believes that cogeneration and renewable energy sources should complement each other rather than compete, and concentrates on medium voltage actions that can be taken for both cogeneration and renewable energy projects. Today, Ambar Electroingeniería is mainly focused on the private sector, covering anything from 10KW up to 30MW projects. The company can also install cogeneration systems starting from 5KW, which consist of a small engine that can be used in a large household to produce electricity or to heat water. However, Ambar Electroingeniería does most of its work in industrial settings, offering EPC projects with optional operating services.
Since wind and solar power are not markets that Ambar Electroingeniería is interested in, the company is currently focusing its renewable energy activities on biogas projects. The biogas industry is complex, which motivated the company to enter this market through urban solid waste where it saw several opportunities to succeed. As a biogas plant requires thermal energy, Ambar Electroingeniería uses a system that generates electricity and thermal energy, which is re-used in the biogas cycle. It works with a partner, a former biogas industry advisor for the Mexican government, and recently signed an engineering contract to manage around 30 tonnes of organic waste daily and start a joint bio-condensing program. “We have over 30 mechanical, electrical and control engineers, as well as information technology specialists, working full-time on cogeneration and biogas projects, supported by in-house legal expertise. Ambar Electroingeniería can count on its own services to provide better delivery times than the competition,” states Salazar. “This translates into quality service. For example, our technicians have European certifications for working with an international brand of combustion engines, adding quality to our after-sale services. “When you invest in a cogeneration project, you will deal with your supplier for more than 10 years, making after-sale service crucial.”
Salazar highlights the attractive rate of return for cogeneration plants. “Considering the current electricity and natural gas prices, amortization takes between 2.5 and 3.5 years. That is a very good deal for our customers,” says Salazar. If the customer has electrical problems such as outages, installing cogeneration equipment will solve these issues. It is similar to having an emergency power plant working 24 hours a day. “A few years ago, nobody talked about cogeneration, but Ambar Electroingeniería has been a very enthusiastic proponent of cogeneration for the past six years,” says Salazar. “I would like to see industries that use thermal energy using cogeneration systems to fulfill their power needs. Paybacks and quality of electricity are the most attractive features that can improve a company’s financial health.” The company forecasts an increase of 300MW in installed capacity in the next four years, which is equivalent to 30-35 projects, and implies a significant amount of potential work.