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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider

Re: Convert from gasoline to tri-fuel

said by SwedishRider:

Your NG setup would be similar to my propane setup, and trust me... it'll be awesome to have virtually limitless fuel right on site when you need it.

meh I wish I could do it too. Then again, so far I don't see the NG line upgrade cost amortize itself vs. price of fuel anytime soon

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
said by alkizmo:

said by SwedishRider:

Your NG setup would be similar to my propane setup, and trust me... it'll be awesome to have virtually limitless fuel right on site when you need it.

meh I wish I could do it too. Then again, so far I don't see the NG line upgrade cost amortize itself vs. price of fuel anytime soon

I'm curious -- how do you quantify this? If you look at what happened after Sandy, the actual cost of fuel after a disaster appears to be the smallest part of the equation.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter

2 edits
Just to throw this out, which would be ultimately cheaper to run, gasoline or NG?? Not counting having to run the pipe or added expense of either converting to a "tri/bi-fuel" add-on or added cost to buy it new that way??

Another thought, would you derate the output when fueled with NG??


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to robbin
well by my calculations of what i pay for ng and gasoline, a 72h outage, running at 50% average capacity of the generator, i'd spend 110$ more on gasoline.

Problem is, for me i probably wont average more than 12h to 24h a year (my location is super calm). It would take me about 3-6 years to recoup just the cost of the tri-fuel kit.
Then there is the cost of running at least 30 feet of additional piping for ng in the house and buy a 40 feet flex hose for outside.

Of course, that's just for my situation.


ITICharlie1
Premium
join:2003-01-22
St. Louis MO
I know the prices in this are not current, but this will give some idea what it would cost to run a generator on gasoline, NG and propane...

The Relative Efficiency of Gasoline, Natural Gas, and Propane Fuels For Back-Up Generators
By Bruce Dishongh

When purchasing a generator as a back-up power supply for your home, one thing to consider is which type of fuel you will be using. While there are several other important factors when buying a generator, this article is only concerned with the method of comparing the relative efficiency between gasoline, natural gas and propane.

The first thing to understand is the equivalent ratio of energy output for the three fuels as expressed in BTUs, the commonly used unit of energy. The following table will demonstrate:

· Gasoline 1 gallon = 125,000 BTUs

· Natural Gas 1 CCF = 100,015 BTUs (CCF=100 cubic feet)

· Propane 1 gallon = 91,700 BTUs

You can see from above that 1 gallon of gasoline is more efficient than 100 cubic feet of natural gas or 1 gallon or propane. In fact, the ratio is approximately:

· 1 gasoline = 1.25 CCF natural gas = 1.36 gallons propane

In other words, you would need 1.36 gallons of propane to produce the equivalent BTUs of 1 gallon of gasoline; or, 1.25 CCF of natural gas.

As a practical example let's say that gasoline is currently $2.85 a gallon, natural gas $.95 per CCF, and propane $4.00 a gallon (these are today's prices where I live). Next, my generator uses 10 gallons of gasoline a day if run continuously for 24 hours. Therefore, for one day's usage I need:

· 10 gallons of gasoline, or

· 10 x 1.25 CCF of gas, or

· 10 x 1.36 gallons of propane

· 10 gallons of gasoline, or

· 12.5 CCF of gas, or

· 13.6 gallons of propane

If we then enter the prices:

· ($2.65) x (10) for gasoline; ($.95) x (12.5) for natural gas; or, ($4.00) x (13.6) for propane

The cost for running the generator 24 hours is:

· $26.50 for gasoline; $11.88 for natural gas; or, $54.40 for propane

As you can see, once you know the relative efficiency of the three fuels you can just plug in the current prices of the fuels to calculate the daily cost of running your generator for each fuel. However, in the case of propane, the cost per gallon can vary widely depending on the number of gallons purchased. In the example above, $4.00 a gallon was for filling up a small 4-5 gallon container; for larger purchases the price can decrease substantially.

If you are thinking of buying a generator it is best to consider more than just the initial purchase price. If you will be using it for extended periods of time it could be cheaper in the long run to buy a generator capable of running on alternative fuels.

Propane approximations
1 gallon = 91,500 BTU
1 cubic foot = 2,500 BTU
1 pound = 21,500 BTU
4.24 lbs = 1 gallon
36.39 cubic feet = 1 gallon
--
Don't let my reality hinder your imagination!


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to kherr
said by kherr:

Just to throw this out, which would be ultimately cheaper to run, gasoline or NG??

The energy content of the three fuels:
1 gallon gasoline = ~1.25 CCF natural gas = ~1.36 gallons propane

National average price for gasoline is $3.46/gallon, natural gas is 1.45/CCF, and residential propane is $2.40/gallon.

So if we used 1 gallon of gas at 3.46, it would take $1.45*1.25 or $1.81 worth of natural gas, or $2.40*1.36 or $3.26 worth of propane.

Natural gas is by far the cheaper of the 3 fuels, but the least portable. Gas often has supply shortages during large scale natural disasters, but is most portable and usually fairly easy to get. Propane may already be stored in large volumes on site if there is a propane appliances or HVAC, so may be easier than gas for longer term use.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
Reviews:
·Charter

2 edits
OK, I found the info on the conversion kit site and they basically said the same thing. I went back on my power bill and after you figure fixed costs such as meter fees and ........ My 10 therm of ng cost me $3.00/therm. But $21.00 of that was a meter charge soo... I payed $0.90/therm + a fixed $21.00, at the CURRENT price. They may have a higher rate in the winter.

So if I used 100 therms to run the generator it would be $90 + $21 m/f or $1.11/therm. So I would make out pretty darn good and would only have to scrounge for gas if my NG failed. I can see this happening. Since I haven't bought the genny yet, I'll certainly get a tri fuel one so the warranty will stay in effect.

Running a gas line would be ultra easy( 10' of pipe + fittings), but I don't have a threader/cutter/tri-pod pipe vise or any vise at all. Maybe the plumbing supply house might have a set to lend. The most expensive fitting would be valves. I'd have one in the basement and one at the drop. I'm glad I ran 1" the length of the house when I installed new gas lines way back when.


SwedishRider
Rider on the Storm
Premium
join:2006-01-11
not Sweden
kudos:1
reply to alkizmo
said by alkizmo:

said by SwedishRider:

Your NG setup would be similar to my propane setup, and trust me... it'll be awesome to have virtually limitless fuel right on site when you need it.

meh I wish I could do it too. Then again, so far I don't see the NG line upgrade cost amortize itself vs. price of fuel anytime soon

This is a situation where return on investment can't be measured purely in monetary value. You may not realize that return in lower fuel costs.... but ask those folks down in NY and Jersey about cost and they'd tell you they don't care about price per gallon of gasoline, they can't buy any gallons of it to save their souls and keep warm in these freezing temperatures. Their generator setups are worthless without fuel to run them. Nobody could have predicted that their setups would not yield the intended result, but in their case... it happened. How many of them would have gladly spent the money for a NG or propane hookup if available to them to do so... my guess is quite a few. And this could go on for weeks more for them..

Sometimes you spend money knowing you may never get a monetary return on it, but use trumps return... and IMHO, this is one of those cases. I'd rather have my propane setup over a pure gasoline setup when the you-know-what hits the fan.

rjgogo

join:2003-10-22
reply to cdru
said by cdru:

said by kherr:

Just to throw this out, which would be ultimately cheaper to run, gasoline or NG??

National average price for gasoline is $3.46/gallon, natural gas is 1.45/CCF, and residential propane is $2.40/gallon.

I must be way below national average as I just paid about a dollar less than what you are quoting for propane.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by rjgogo:

I must be way below national average as I just paid about a dollar less than what you are quoting for propane.

Taken from the EIA website for Propane prices. That's residential price. Wholesale is $1/gallon. It's probably going to depend a lot on where you're at, how much you are buying, pricing contracts, etc. Even at a dollar less natural gas is still cheaper per equivalent unit of energy.

rjgogo

join:2003-10-22
said by cdru:

said by rjgogo:

I must be way below national average as I just paid about a dollar less than what you are quoting for propane.

Taken from the EIA website for Propane prices. That's residential price. Wholesale is $1/gallon. It's probably going to depend a lot on where you're at, how much you are buying, pricing contracts, etc. Even at a dollar less natural gas is still cheaper per equivalent unit of energy.

I just paid 1.38 delivered to my 500 gallon tank in IL. So that is a residential price. I don't have access to NG.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to robbin
said by robbin:

said by alkizmo:

said by SwedishRider:

Your NG setup would be similar to my propane setup, and trust me... it'll be awesome to have virtually limitless fuel right on site when you need it.

meh I wish I could do it too. Then again, so far I don't see the NG line upgrade cost amortize itself vs. price of fuel anytime soon

I'm curious -- how do you quantify this? If you look at what happened after Sandy, the actual cost of fuel after a disaster appears to be the smallest part of the equation.

this this this this this this this
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to SwedishRider
said by SwedishRider:

said by alkizmo:

said by SwedishRider:

Your NG setup would be similar to my propane setup, and trust me... it'll be awesome to have virtually limitless fuel right on site when you need it.

meh I wish I could do it too. Then again, so far I don't see the NG line upgrade cost amortize itself vs. price of fuel anytime soon

This is a situation where return on investment can't be measured purely in monetary value. You may not realize that return in lower fuel costs.... but ask those folks down in NY and Jersey about cost and they'd tell you they don't care about price per gallon of gasoline, they can't buy any gallons of it to save their souls and keep warm in these freezing temperatures. Their generator setups are worthless without fuel to run them. Nobody could have predicted that their setups would not yield the intended result, but in their case... it happened. How many of them would have gladly spent the money for a NG or propane hookup if available to them to do so... my guess is quite a few. And this could go on for weeks more for them..

Sometimes you spend money knowing you may never get a monetary return on it, but use trumps return... and IMHO, this is one of those cases. I'd rather have my propane setup over a pure gasoline setup when the you-know-what hits the fan.

you nedd a bcak up to the back up and a backup to the backup backup.
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to rjgogo
said by rjgogo:

said by cdru:

said by rjgogo:

I must be way below national average as I just paid about a dollar less than what you are quoting for propane.

Taken from the EIA website for Propane prices. That's residential price. Wholesale is $1/gallon. It's probably going to depend a lot on where you're at, how much you are buying, pricing contracts, etc. Even at a dollar less natural gas is still cheaper per equivalent unit of energy.

I just paid 1.38 delivered to my 500 gallon tank in IL. So that is a residential price. I don't have access to NG.

Called my supplier today. Price for 100 gal tank is $3.28/gal, alternate supplier Americagas $3.21/gal.

The last I heard those with 500 gal tanks were paying over $2/gal.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to AVD
So I heard you like backups.
So I put a backup house in your house's backup generator's backup generator.

bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
reply to ITICharlie1
Where do you like that petrol is 2.85 / gallon?

The *ethanol that they sell in the midwest is a lot lower power producing that standard E10 IIRC