Lights on in Lomeiro
The village of San Pablo is in the Lomeiro region just seven hours away—a stone’s throw by Bolivian standards—from the country’s economic powerhouse, the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The natural-gas rich, 91-acre Santa Cruz district is the largest inland administrative area in South America, but at the same time is home to fewer than three million people spread across an area larger than Germany. What is more, most of them live in the large urban conglomeration.
The local electricity supplier, Cooperativa Rural de Electrificación (CRE), which claims to be the world’s largest power generation cooperative with over 500,000 members, saw itself facing many challenges. The equipment and power distribution lines along with the associated transformer stations must be adapted to a hot climate with high levels of air humidity. On top of that, out in the country the power lines are long but serve only a few consumers. In other words, high investment costs are countered only by small revenue streams.
Power in San Pablo
For the first time, gas-fueled generator sets from mtu were successfully installed in South America in parallel mode with other systems. Working with local distribution partner, Gerona Power, four 20V and five 12V Series 4000 L62 generator sets, plus a diesel-fueled 16V Series 4000 system, were installed at five central locations. All of these are connected to the Bolivian natural gas mains and supply the villages in their respective regions with electricity. The villages themselves are not connected to the gas grid and are reliant on gas cylinders for their supply. The mtu plants in San Ramón are routinely serviced every 1,500 hours of duty.
“The mtu generator sets are undoubtedly stateof- the-art and so much more efficient than other systems, which is why we operate them continuously,” says Dr. Fernando Haderspock, the man in charge of supply to rural areas at CRE.
New quality of life
Not far from San Pablo is Puquio. With its population of 500, it is one of the larger settlements in the region. There, the changes are even more far-reaching. The continuous supply of electricity allows for an electrically driven water pump to be installed in the village. With it, the villagers’ quality of life took an enormous step forward. They no longer have to carry buckets to and from a manual pump in the center of the village every day since they have water on tap at home. Something that is such a basic assumption for many, to the extent that they do not even give it a second thought, is understandably the pride and joy of a whole community here.
Land of opportunity
Additional Latin American installations include shopping centers in Mexico and Argentina’s biggest meat producer, Alimentos Margos in Cordoba, which installed a biogas-fueled Series 400 mtu CHP system, delivering 400 kW of power. The unit provides energy for manufacturing pork-meat products, while heat from the engine‘s exhaust is used to heat up fresh water to clean large areas of the farm, or routed through an absorption chiller and transformed into cooling energy for refrigerating the products.
Globally, developing countries continue to outpace developed countries, like the United States, when it comes to total new renewable energy investment. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s 2016 Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report, three of the top ten countries primed for clean energy investment are in Latin America—Brazil, Chile and Mexico. The countries are more inclined to continue investing in green manufacturing because it brings more jobs, public health improvements and a decrease in energy costs overall. As the global demand for reliable and efficient energy solutions continues to rise, mtu is poised to continue its ongoing commitment, and is proud to make significant impacts in farming communities across the globe.