All numbers are in US Dollars

Off the grid distributed generation can take several forms- diesel generators are one example – or it can use renewable energy such as wind, solar or biomass. Each has unique advantages and shortcomings. It is important to note that we are discussing small-scale distributed generation. The picture is different when renewable energy technologies are applied on a utility scale.

Cost

For a 20kW capacity, solar and wind are 3 to 5 times more expensive than biomass.  Small-scale wind and solar are very expensive, especially when there are no subsidies, as is the case in Africa. Of course, there are operating costs associated with obtaining biomass and maintenance. The biomass generator is not a universal solution, and it works best where there’s plenty of biomass that is a by-product of other processes, and will otherwise go to waste, such as nut shells.

High Availability

The output of solar panels varies with the amount of sunlight. Output declines under clouds and at night. Batteries can help with output fluctuations, but they make the system even more expensive. Wind is unpredictable, unless it is done in very specific locations and on a large scale.

Needless to say, if the user needs predictable power, for a cell tower or a refrigerator for example, solar and wind are not satisfactory. By contrast, the GEK generates electricity as long as it is fed with biomass, and performs like a diesel for continuous operation.

The Business Advantage

Small private enterprises are the backbone of a modern economy. Companies engaged in manufacturing, processing or retail couldn’t thrive or even survive where the electricity is very expensive and unreliable.

A business needs a reliably available source of power, at a reasonable cost. Small scale solar and wind do not meet these criteria. The GEK gasifier was designed from the ground up with the needs of small business owners in mind.

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Incumbent
Technology:
Diesel Generator

GEK Gasifier

Solar

Wind Power

System cost per watt

$0.35

$ 1-1.5

$ 3 – $7 depending on type, batteries and accessories

$5 and up
Small-scale wind very expensive.

Dependencies

Availability of
Diesel

Availability of biomass

Direct sunlight. Cloud cover interferes with output.

Lots of space
 

Wind and weather patterns.

Installed only where wind is strong and consistent (min 10mph)

Cost of electrical output

 

$0.30 – $0.50

(Even higher in remote areas)

$0.02 – $0.04

$0
(+ Min. maint.)

$0
(+ Min. maint.)

Hours of operation

Anytime

Anytime

Daytime only. Peak production about 4 hours a day

When wind blows above 10mph.

Usage

  • Motors
  • Lighting
  • Computers
  • Battery charging
  • Motors
  • Lighting
  • Computers
  • Battery charging
  • Lighting
  • Computers
  •  Battery charging

Battery charging

Footprint for 20kW output

1.5 X 0.5 m

1.5 X 1.5 m
( 6X6 feet)

1.5 X 100 m

20-30 m tower

Noise

~70db

~70db

Silent

Very Low