Hybrid system offers new on-site generation

Tulsa, Okla.

Williams Distributed Power Services, a unit of Williams, has developed and successfully tested an integrated power generation and management storage package called the Williams Energy Conversion Unit (WILLIAMS ECU).

WILLIAMS ECU is used for generating, storing, conditioning and delivering high quality electricity with simplicity and minimal environmental impact to commercial and industrial users. The system provides many of the benefits offered by fuel cells, but is significantly less complicated and more economical, said Mory Houshmand, managing director of Williams Distributed Power Services.

“We are generating, storing and dispatching electricity in a way that has never been done before,” Houshmand said. “The technology imbedded in the power storage and management component used in this hybrid system is not unlike fuel cells. Therefore, the WILLIAMS ECU may be considered a practical and proven stationary fuel cell, but without the complexities and expenses of adding and operating a fuel reformer. Moreover, the system offers power storage, conditioning and peak-shaving options not available in any fuel cell technology today.”

Most fuel cells require a reformer to convert hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen, which then is combined with oxygen to create electricity. But with the WILLIAMS ECU, fuel is directly converted into electricity in an ultra-low emissions microturbine and then delivered to a state-of-the-art energy management device for storage and conditioning and subsequent delivery to the end user as high quality and extremely reliable electricity, Houshmand said.

Utilizing a Capstone microturbine and Powercell Corp.`s Powerblock storage device, the package is currently offered in 100 kW modules, but can be scaled up to several megawatts.

“Successful development of this unique system is in line with our long-term product strategy of combining individual cutting-edge products and technologies developed by others to create proprietary hybrid packages for our distributed power customers,” Houshmand said. “The WILLIAMS ECU is simple, affordable, incorporates commercially proven products, produces less than 9.0 parts per million nitrous oxides, offers 100 percent reliability and is available today.” Williams Distributed Power Services has been operating its first system near Denver for the past several months. At this location, untreated gas from a wellhead is transferred to the WILLIAMS ECU and then converted into stored electricity, providing reliable power to a pump-jack.

Additional systems are scheduled for installation in the United States and select international markets in the next few months.

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