This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 19, 2003

Microturbines Provide Onsite Power to Offshore Oil Platforms

Since emerging on the commercial market a few years ago, microturbines have proven to be an effective technology for onsite power production, provided that a fuel such as natural gas or propane is available. Because of those qualities, microturbines are now being used in a place you might not expect: offshore oil platforms. After installing a 30-kilowatt Capstone microturbine on a North Sea oil platform in 2001, Geveke Oil & Gas recently received a follow-up order from the same company, Clyde Petroleum. Geveke will install four 60-kilowatt Capstone microturbines along with a diesel generator on Clyde's new oil platform on the Dutch Continental Shelf. Geveke will also install a 30-kilowatt Capstone turbine on an offshore oil platform owned by BP Nederland Energie. All of the Geveke installations are fueled by wellhead gas and serve as the prime power sources for the oil platforms. See the press release and a related case study from Geveke Oil & Gas.

A company called Zeus Development Corporation sees a potential for such distributed power technologies to turn oil platforms into offshore power plants. Combined with high-voltage direct current (HVDC) undersea transmission cables, power plants on oil platforms could supply power to other nearby platforms or even to the mainland. Alternately, the same technology could bring onshore power to offshore platforms. Zeus is sponsoring a conference in Houston in late February to present the results of its recent study on these technologies. See the company's Web site.