Juan Carlos Hernández Nájera
Industrias Energéticas
View from the Top

Creating a Reliable Energy Generation Culture

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 14:33

Q: How do you see Industrias Energéticas’ development in the new environment created by the Energy Reform?

A: The Energy Reform has seen new laws passed to address climate change and polluting emissions generated by greenhouse gases. Therefore companies from the oil and gas sector, and industry in general, will have to generate clean, safe, and reliable energy for their processes. Unfortunately, this change will not happen overnight, but it is our responsibility to affirm this new, clean and reliable energy generation culture. In the short term, this will gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of our high technology equipment for the generation of clean energy among potential clients. In the medium term, we can provide a better value proposition to companies in the oil and gas sector with the support and effective application of laws that encourage the sustainable use of energy. For example, PEMEX has issued a strict environmental action plan for itself and all its affiliates and subsidiaries. In the long run, it will allow us to develop projects for strategic primary generation, cogeneration, and trigeneration. In this way, we can strengthen the competitiveness of natural gas in this market, using the positive context created by low natural gas prices and increased energy demand. Our technologies help to replace the direct use of electricity with natural gas, offering the same benefits at a lower cost.

Industrias Energéticas and Capstone Turbine Corporation have no real competitors in the clean energy generation segment within the 30kW to 5MW range. In terms of the cost-benefit ratio, reliability and safety, and compliance with environmental regulation, we are the only ones to fulfill the industry’s demands. Our microturbines do not use lubricant oils for engines, coolants, or additives, and they do not need polluting retrofitting after every 500 hours of operation. The maintenance programs are scheduled for every 4,000 hours while specialized engineers can perform this maintenance in just four hours. Furthermore, the lifespan of our systems is approximately 20 years. Capstone micro-turbines comply with the most demanding standards required by the UL 2200 and UL 1741 certifications, and our modular generators use only one moving part, which is the shaft of the air-activated engine.

Q: How do you convince potential clients of the advantages of micro-turbines for electricity generation?

A: Our work has not been easy as we try to change the perspective of people who have done things in a certain way. Usually, potential clients within our generation capacity tend to have a short-term view about the amortization of their investment in power generation. In other words, environmental pollution and newly passed policies have not traditionally been an important matter for them. However, many of our customers are beginning to show interest in reversing these actions and are taking their time to listen to our solid arguments.

Q: What role does research and development play at Industrias Energéticas?

A: Industrias Energéticas is the technological partner of Capstone Turbine Corporation for the generation of clean energy for the industrial, automotive, commercial, or oil and gas sectors, using simple generation, cogeneration, and trigeneration schemes. Technological innovation never stops at Capstone, since it works with the most demanding customers worldwide, offering applications that constantly change from sector to sector. Its clients include NASA, Boeing, the US army, as well as the likes of Petrobras, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Shell, PEMEX, Chevron, BP, Ecopetrol, and ConocoPhillips in the oil and gas industry

Q: Which international best practices in the use of natural gas and microturbines could play a role in the development of the Mexican market?

A: The applications of Capstone microturbines are not limited only to strategic offshore power generation. In onshore operations, we can provide a highly encouraging case that can serve as a model for refineries, storage, and distribution. The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (RECOPE) proposed a strategy for the use of natural gas in Costa Rica based on the results of a study that revealed a series of economic and environmental benefits for the country using Capstone microturbines. This revolved around providing Costa Rica with a perspective on how it could use natural gas as a partial substitute for other liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Overall, LNG is becoming an  increasingly more important energy resource. Given that large investments are taking place at the international level, both to increase liquefaction and regasification capacities, its importance will continue to increase. The business strategy proposed that a reception and regasification terminal be built using state-of-the-art technologies and modular equipment that would enable eventual expansions. The scope of the project would cover a regasification terminal and the implementation of LNG storage tanks, transfer pumps, integrated vaporizer systems, control, safety, automation systems, and compression stations. In order to start the use and commercialization of natural gas in Costa Rica as a replacement for oil derivatives by 2015, the necessary administrative procedures and the contracting of the companies in charge of developing the terminal must begin as soon as possible. The level of investment per stage for the gasification terminal adds up to US$100 million for the first stage in 2015, US$25.6 million for the second stage in 2019, and US$55.6 million for the third stage in 2026. Finally, it is important to point out that the results of the study clearly shows that the use of LNG, even on a small scale, made sense when compared against fuel oil, and liquefied petroleum gas. When carrying out a full cost-benefit analysis, it will be possible to see that the potential economic benefit for Costa Rica that would be achieved with the use of LNG could be significant. Likewise, it is possible to conclude that an increase in the use of natural gas should result in fewer greenhouse gases emission and in efficiency improvements, as well as other benefits.

Q: Which recent projects developed in Mexico would you highlight as success stories?

A: We have several success stories, among which Capstone micro-turbines that are now installed on offshore rigs located in the Bay of Campeche. They are used for the generation of clean and reliable energy for PEMEX’s strategic safety systems, such as SCADA, SCD, position lights, and loudspeaker systems. In the oil and gas sector, we have been focusing on solutions for the distribution and transportation of natural gas, a priority set by SENER.

Currently, we are developing projects jointly with engineering, procurement, and construction companies such as Odebrecht, Techint, Arendal, and AOTP Pipelines, for the Los Ramones II North natural gas pipeline that will start in Los Ramones, Nuevo Leon, traverse Tamaulipas state and end in San Luis Potosi, as well as the Los Ramones I gas pipeline with entities like SENER, Bonatti, Techint, and Gasoductos de Chihuahua.