‘Off-grid’ CHP energy in Southern Patagonia, Chile

A Bowman header tank heat exchanger is cooling a CAT gas engine powered generating set and providing heat energy for a luxury hotel in this UNESCO listed national park.

Torres del Paine is a UNESCO listed national park in the southern Patagonia region of Chile.

Here glaciers, turquoise lakes, waterfalls and towering rock pinnacles combine to create a dramatic wilderness landscape that has become increasingly popular with those seeking an ‘off-grid’, outdoor type of adventure holiday.

As the region’s popularity has grown, so has the demand for tourist accommodation and currently in the region’s main town, Villa Serrano, a wide range of accommodation can be found from ‘eco-lodges’ to luxury hotels.

Average temperatures in the region are around 13 °C in summer, but fall to between 5 °C and -3 °C in winter, making heat and power provision vitally important to ensure the comfort of holiday guests as they return each day from activities such as kayaking, cycling, horse riding, or multi-day expedition hiking.

With this in mind, one of the region’s most popular hotels recently decided to upgrade their power generation system, to provide an environmentally sensitive CHP provision for its guests and staff.

Local specialists IMTB were contracted to handle the installation of the new power-gen system, which is based around a CAT G3406TA LPG fuelled engine and generator.

Working with Caterpillar Chile, IMTB needed to come up with a solution to efficiently cool the engine and recover waste heat, as this would be used to supplement the hotel’s existing heating and hot water systems.

After consulting with Bowman’s technical team, IMTB proposed a Bowman GH400 header tank heat exchanger to maintain the optimum temperature for the engine’s cooling system, as well as providing the required heat energy for the hotel.

The performance and specification of the Bowman header tank heat unit was perfectly suited to the cooling demands of the CAT engine, whilst the renowned reliability of Bowman heat exchangers was important, given the hotel’s remote location.

IMTB undertook the installation and commissioning of the CHP system and the Bowman cooled CAT generator is now providing all of the hotel’s power and much of its hot water requirements.