By Ed Porras
When "more power" means "more money," increasing power without increasing costs makes good business sense. And that’s just what Caterpillar's "Ambient-Base Rated" G3600 series does: simply deliver more power. The Ambient-Based Rating (ABR) capability, optional on all G3600 A4 platforms, operates in real-time, measuring temperatures and reacts accordingly, allowing for up to a 7% power increase, regardless of location. While the engine is taking advantage of higher charge densities and dynamically making adjustments without calibration, you’re making money.
How it Works
The G3600 carries an "Ambient Based Rating" (ABR) because its sensors detect when oxygen levels fluctuate and adjust fuel ratios accordingly. They do this by sensing when ambient temperatures drop. Lower temperatures mean denser air and more oxygen molecules per volume, so there is more oxygen available for combustion. More charge density in combustion means more power.
Automated technology built into the engine manages the process of sensing the temperature change and redirecting systems to respond. Automation means there is no need for costly operations stoppages to reset processes in order to capture the temperature-change opportunity. The power output of the G3600 series automatically flexes as temperatures change, whether that happens between morning and night, as weather systems pass through, or on a seasonal basis.
Most notably, these engines are calibrated to achieve a high BHP rating without the ABR enhancement, so they produce optimal power even in hot conditions and at higher altitudes. The ABR rating, however, means that they can produce additional power - greater than the maximum fixed BHP rating - at those times when air temperatures are lower.
What Does This Mean for You?
When it comes to gas compression packages, engines represent approximately 1/3 of the package cost; installed horsepower is subsequently worth twice as much as the total package. Once the system is delivered and installed at a station, it is valued at over 6 times the cost of the engine. The central point here: minimal changes to the engine can reap significant capital and operating benefits at the station level. For example, take into account the G3606 A4, which is rated at 1875. With the ABR option, the engine can deliver an additional horsepower at 7%, which is a 135 HP increase. For the purpose of this article, let’s make the value of a horsepower equal to $2000/hp. Using basic math, $2000/hp x 135 hp = $270,000, which represents the substantial capital benefit the ABR capability can contribute at the station level.
Where Does It Work?
Every gas compression application can benefit from the ABR capability, regardless of location. To evaluate the estimated ABR value for varied application locales, Caterpillar has a method of examining historical weather data and utilizing weighted averages to determine annual average HP gains on a site-by-site basis. Even sites in Houston, Texas can realize the full benefits of the ABR capability. Interested in bringing ABR capabilities to your gas compression site? Contact your local Cat dealer.
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