This New Breed of Generator Can Run on Almost Any Fuel

This New Breed of Generator Can Run on Almost Any Fuel:

It doesn’t matter that it’s been raining for two weeks because your utility is tapping into ammonia produced with last summer’s sunshine. It’s consuming that ammonia in a linear generator.

The linear generator can quickly switch between different types of green (and not-so-green, if need be) fuel, including biogas, ammonia, and hydrogen. It has the potential to make the decarbonized power system available, reliable, and resilient against the vagaries of weather and of fuel supplies. And it’s not a fantasy; it’s been developed, tested, and deployed commercially.

The cofounders of Mainspring Energy, of which I am one, spent 14 years developing this technology, and in 2020 we began rolling it out commercially. It is currently installed at tens of sites, producing 230 to 460 kilowatts at each. We expect linear generators at many more locations to come on line within the next year.