Propane generator sets produce on-site power for both off-grid and grid-connected homes and businesses.

PERC designs and demonstrates innovative generator sets (including renewable hybrid systems and combined heat and power systems) that provide backup, prime, and remote power. This research responds to rising residential and commercial demand for affordable, reliable, efficient power generation with lower emissions than conventional alternatives.

Advanced Integrated Energy System at a National Hotel Resort


An advanced integrated energy system integrates a propane-fueled combined heat and power system into a hotel’s existing electric, heating, and cooling systems. A propane-fueled CHP system was installed and demonstrated at a resort in Hawaii, during which researchers evaluated the economics of the system, conducted training, and developed an expanded laboratory program for testing high-output reciprocating engine generator sets based on fuel quality.

Advanced Premium Generator Set


Advanced Premium generator sets use Polar Power Inc.’s low-cost, efficient 8000 series alternator and standard Supra controller with one of four different engines, including the Kawasaki FD 750D, Lombardi/Kohler LGW627, and Daihatsu 950 P. Researchers have built, tested, and demonstrated the Advanced Premium generator sets, which have been produced at a small scale and evaluated for performance level and market reaction.

Advanced Propane Generator System


A heavy-duty, lean-burn, high-efficiency propane generator system produces 22 percent net kilowatt electric output with maintenance intervals of over 4,000 hours and a projected life of 40,000 hours. The system, which includes a 300-square-foot generator/battery/inverter room, was installed and demonstrated at Denali National Park Visitor Center in Alaska.

Cogeneration Demonstration at a Pennsylvania Hydroponic Greenhouse


This study demonstrated a 90 percent energy-efficient cogeneration system featuring a Marathon Ecopower propane engine with selective catalytic reduction to treat exhaust gas. The 5-kilowatt electric/14-kilowatt thermal combined heat and power system produced electricity, heated water, and fertilized crops with the carbon dioxide generated by the system at the hydroponic greenhouse.

Combined Heat and Power Systems for Residential Applications Comparison


Residential combined heat and power technology fueled by propane provides heat and power in an efficient way to homes and small businesses. An extensive review of existing CHP technology was conducted to compare the systems’ performance to electric heat pumps and conventional vapor-compression air conditioning systems using propane furnaces for heating.

Continuous-Duty Propane Generator


A continuous-duty propane generator can be incorporated into an existing electrical system to provide supplemental power. A 5-kilowatt continuous-duty propane generator at Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska was integrated into the reconstruction of its electrical system to replace its diesel generator, which has allowed it to serve as a case study for other parks.

Distributed Generation Demonstration Program

Docket:15196, 12336

The distributed generation demonstration program provides support to successful propane distributed generation demonstration projects to move them closer to commercialization and raise overall awareness of propane distributed generation equipment. Projects for Phase 1 of the program were selected through a formal solicitation process and included the following:

Climate Energy Hydronic Combined Heat and Power Climate Energy’s project demonstrated a hydronic micro-combined heat and power system using a Honda power generation unit at a Massachusetts home. 

Energy Alternatives Micro-cogeneration  The Energy Alternatives project took place in rural Alaska, where a micro-cogeneration system manufactured by Yanmar was installed and monitored over a year. 

National Park Service Micro-grid The National Park Service project replaced current diesel generators with a more efficient propane system to create a micro-grid at the Kennecott Historical Mine at Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. 

North Carolina Solar Center Propane-Solar Combined Heat and Power The project conducted by North Carolina Solar Center, based at North Carolina State University, demonstrated a hybrid propane-solar combined heat and power system at a marketer’s bulk plant facility.

The success of Phase 1 encouraged the establishment of Phase 2, which will involve the selection and promotion of an additional four to six demonstration projects focusing on products that are near commercialization.

EcoGen Premium Generator Set

Docket:16412, 15490

The 6-kilowatt premium Generac generator set has 500-hour maintenance intervals and a normal operating life of 10 years or 5,000 hours. The generator set was developed to integrate with renewable resources like wind and solar as part of a small-scale renewable hybrid power generation system. Seven of the 6-kilowatt sets are being demonstrated in partnership with the U.S. National Park Service, large specialty wholesalers/distributors serving the renewable energy space, and leading inverter manufacturers serving the off-grid space.

Ecopower Micro-CHP Conversion


The Ecopower micro-CHP remote power electric generator was originally sold in Europe and met European grid standards. This effort converted the propane-fueled Ecopower micro-CHP to the U.S. electric standard for use in homes and light commercial applications. Three units were also demonstrated in selected U.S. residences.

Freewatt Plus Micro-CHP System

Docket:15625, 12199

Freewatt Plus is a micro-CHP system that combines an advanced warm-air or hydronic furnace with a 1.2-kilowatt propane-fueled engine generator to form a unique distributed generation system. To develop the system, researchers quantified the performance, economic, and environmental benefits of similar systems and documented the installation process of the propane system as compared with conventional high-efficiency warm-air furnaces. Freewatt Plus underwent field-testing and a one-year demonstration to prepare it for market entry.

Gas-Fired Residential Combined Heat and Power Feasibility Study and System Specification


This study evaluated the feasibility of a gas-fired residential combined heat and power system in terms of consumer cost of purchased power versus "home generated" power (i.e., cost of fuel, utilized heat energy from on-site generation, grid-friendliness of the system, cost of owning the system).

Heavy-Duty Residential and Commercial Hybrid Generator


Kohler’s heavy-duty generator produces a 6-kilowatt direct current output for use with renewable energy sources and 14- to 18-kilowatt alternating current output for accommodating large loads in residential and commercial off-grid hybrid applications. The system is currently under development and will be commercialized upon completion.

Hybrid Power Systems for Rural Tribal Communities


Hybrid power systems combine a propane generator set and solar or wind energy to provide reliable, on-site power. Areas such as remote tribal communities stand to benefit from this type of system. To assess the technical and economic viability of using this system in a tribal community, researchers documented the service and installation requirements in a typical tribal community and developed the necessary elements for an on-site technology demonstration.

Hybrid Propane-Solar Generator System Engines


Propane-fueled engines provide supplemental power to hybrid systems. Researchers developed and demonstrated durable, economically priced engines for use in hybrid solar energy generating systems.

Hybrid Propane-Solar Power Station Demonstration and Display

Docket:12337, 11796

A commercial micro-power plant integrating a propane generator, solar cells, battery storage, and a power control system was demonstrated in an edge-of-grid application. A propane-solar hybrid generator set was also displayed at the 2007 World LP Gas Association Forum. The displayed generator set operated at 10 kilowatt-hours per day with approximately 2-kilowatt extended output capacity, 4 kilowatts of peak power for five minutes every hour, and surge capability sufficient to start a small well pump.

Hybrid Propane-Solar Project for Urban/Municipal Applications


A propane-solar hybrid backup power system is a 2-kilowatt system composed of several solar photovoltaic panels, a propane-fueled generator, several standard-sized batteries, and a propane cylinder. Researchers evaluated the technical feasibility of installing this system for use in urban/municipal applications.

Marathon Propane Engine and Generators

Docket:10646, 10122

Marathon adapted its natural gas engine to run on propane for air conditioning and electric power generation applications. The propane-fueled engine was performance tested and evaluated to determine the engine design configurations most suitable for reliable operation when used in air conditioning and electric power generation applications. Using this engine, Marathon developed and commercialized an engine systems generator and micro-cogeneration product line that is optimized to provide electric power to remote locations.

Market Assessment: Propane Distributed Generation


The Propane Distributed Generation Market Assessment is an evaluation of the technologies, markets, and trends for propane-fueled distributed generation applications of less than 1 megawatt. The study estimated the market and propane volume potential for the different distributed generation market segments. This research provides the basis for the development of a commercialization plan to help the propane industry realize the potential market for propane-fueled distributed generation.

Micro-CHP Systems for Residential Applications


A residential micro-CHP system provides on-site heat and power for homes and small businesses. This system was developed along with a commercialization strategy for market entry that included identifying the market potential and market requirements of micro-CHP systems, assessing the technology, and developing a proof-of-principle system design for a micro-CHP system.

Midsize Extended-Run Generator


Generac’s midsize extended-run generator is an air-cooled 11-kilowatt generator set with a 5,000-hour life expectancy and 500-hour maintenance intervals. Currently under development, the generator will be commercialized for use in grid-tied green homes, telecommunications, and utility demand response.

Mobile Propane-Powered Surveillance Unit


A mobile propane-powered surveillance system can be used in border security, civilian police use, and temporary private security applications. The unit was constructed and underwent unattended operation testing for two months with one refueling cycle.

Portable Propane Generator Line


Generac’s line of 1.6- to 5.0-kilowatt portable generators integrate Department of Transportation-approved propane cylinders into the design of the generator, eliminating the need for an external generator. The line is currently being designed and will undergo testing and eventual commercialization.

Reciprocating Propane Engine Combined Heat and Power System


A reciprocating propane engine combined heat and power system captures thermal energy for water and space heating. This system was demonstrated at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to evaluate the system’s ability to provide continuous power to coffee roasting and packaging operations.

Yanmar Micro-CHP System

Docket:16245, 11866

The Yanmar Micro-CHP system is a propane-fueled micro-cogeneration system for use in small rural facilities where power line extension and electric reliability come at a premium. Based on the work researchers did to accelerate the commercialization of this system, Yanmar is developing a 10-kilowatt version that uses better emissions controls, incorporates an off-grid inverter to enable uninterrupted power supply, and has a web-based access control system. The 10-kilowatt system will undergo testing, demonstration, and emissions testing and verification.