September 2005

Transportable power plants uses locomotive engine to generate electricity

Roanoke, VA— ARE-Energy, a division of American Railroad Equipment (ARE), introduced a new transportable power plant that uses refurbished locomotive engines and parts to generate continuous, dependable and affordable electricity anywhere in the world.

The Series 3000 unit, developed over the past four years, is ideal for customers in remote regions and developing nations, where power generation remains a challenge, and as supplemental power in the U.S.

Encased in three easily transportable, patent-pending containers that serve as permanent, on-site housing, the power plant can operate on both natural gas and diesel fuel, a combination that reduces total installation and operating costs, especially in regions rich in natural gas.

The unit can support or supplement the electrical needs of large towns, including water treatment facilities, electrical utilities, food processing plants and other industries at one-third less than the standard industry cost for continuous power generation.

The power plant, created by a company dedicated to recycling, is environmentally friendly. Most major components, including the engines, are recycled or re-manufactured, with new parts and features added to increase fuel efficiency. Its dual fuel capabilities help to reduce emissions while the containers offer sound-proofing panels. In addition, exhaust and engine heat can be recaptured to produce hot water.

The power plant also will be tested to operate with renewable fuels, such as bio-diesel, landfill gas and coal-bed methane.

ARE-Energy currently is marketing the unit to potential customers and hopes to sell 10 to 12 of the power plants in 2006. Commercial production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005, initially creating 15-20 jobs in Roanoke, where the units will be assembled using parts from suppliers throughout Virginia and across the U.S.

“The power of the locomotive roars on,” said Jay Brenner, president of American Railroad Equipment and its parent company, Cycle Systems Inc. “Unlike typical portable generating systems, the heart of our power plant is a re-manufactured, 16-cylinder General Electric locomotive engine that can run on two fuel sources 24 hours a day. Locomotive engines are built to be rugged and reliable. In fact, some railways run their locomotives all day, every day of the year. It is this kind of power, durability and efficiency we are harnessing for our new product.

“Another benefit over competing systems is the size of our power plant,” Brenner added. “It can conveniently be carried in three 9-foot-6-inch high, 20-foot-long containers by road, rail, sea or air anywhere in the world and can be placed on a 12-foot by 70-foot concrete slab. This is an advantage for the growing on-site power segment of the electric power industry. In addition, the combination of recycling parts and re-manufacturing core railroad components offers a lower total installation cost to potential customers.”

A locomotive’s power system generates electricity to power the traction motors and drive the wheels. ARE Energy has modified and transferred these systems into a power plant made up of three parts a cooling module, housing a radiator system and fans; the engine module housing the engine, turbocharger and lubrication subsystems; and the electrical module containing all switchgear and controls.

Each unit can provide up to 3 megawatts of continuous power — enough to meet the needs of 10,000 to 15,000 people daily in the developing world or 2,000 to 3,000 people in the U.S.

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