Duke Testing Biodiesel Generator

John Davis

DukeDuke Energy is testing a blend of biodiesel in one of its power generators.

This story from the Charlotte Observer says it’s a first-of-its-kind test of biodiesel to fuel power plants:

Duke’s Mill Creek combustion-turbine plant normally runs on natural gas and diesel fuel. But this week, one of its eight units sampled blends of diesel and biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oil.

Because it comes from plants, biodiesel could help Duke produce some of its power from renewable fuels. N.C. legislators are considering a bill to require that part of the state’s electricity come from such domestically produced sources.

Duke says its tests at Mill Creek, on a unit that can produce 80 megawatts of power, were the largest U.S. trial of biodiesel on a plant of that type and size. The unit could supply about 80,000 homes if it ran constantly, but is typically used only at times of peak demand.

Three different blends of biodiesel, 20 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent, have been tested. Officials say early results are good, and they have a better handle on how good in a few months.