Dual-Fuel Technology: Reduce Costs and Maintain Power in Mobile Applications

by Visitor gillskd on ‎11-24-2014 08:46 AM - last edited on ‎03-10-2015 03:53 PM by Visitor Deb_EP

Kenton Gills CATRP47752-blogheader.jpg

With natural gas production at an all-time high and natural gas prices falling, it would be prudent to consider this fossil fuel as an alternative source to traditional diesel-fueled power generation applications.  When it comes to productivity, however, the power and torque generated by diesel engines far surpasses that of similar sized natural gas engines.  One increasingly attractive solution that comprises the best of both worlds is dual-fuel technology, which allows one engine to run on two fuels.  


In today’s oil and gas industry, expensive fuel can often drive up the cost of doing business, but a record-setting natural gas boom in the United States has led to significantly lower prices.  Power systems that traditionally burn diesel can now integrate dual-fuel engines to burn natural gas while maintaining performance.  Additionally, most dual-fuel engines are capable of running exclusively on diesel or on a combination of diesel and natural gas, resulting in lower fuel costs.  Other major natural gas producing regions, like the Middle East and northern Africa, are especially benefiting from this technology trend.


The two fuels work together to power the engine.  First, the engine starts purely on diesel and as the inlet air temperature rises, natural gas is injected into the cylinders through additional intake piping.  The diesel acts as an igniter to light the gas inside the combustion chamber, causing the natural gas to burn.  Then, as natural gas fills the cylinder, the amount of diesel being consumed is reduced, which extends the engine’s run time, curtails exhaust emissions and reduces the amount of on-site diesel necessary to get the job done.


In applications like land drilling, land production and well service, containerized mobile generator sets may be useful in regions where the natural gas supply is abundant, maybe even free-flowing, making its use extremely cost effective.  Whether meeting short or long-term power demands, it’s possible to use natural gas and consistently maintain traditional diesel power and transient performance. 

The advantages of dual-fuel technology are pretty remarkable: 

  • Significantly lower fuel costs compared to 100 percent diesel usage
  • Utilization of a reliable fuel supply strategy, reducing risk and eliminating the need for excessive fuel storage
  • Ability to maintain diesel power and traditional transient response and torque, even when in substitution mode
  • Maintains, even improves emissions levels


At the forefront of this trend is Caterpillar Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) technology.  Using existing gas engine hardware to allow Cat® diesel engines to burn natural gas, owners save significantly on fuel costs while maintaining diesel engine performance levels with the security of a warranty from the OEM.  Full system integration provides a significant advantage compared to the current aftermarket options.  Parameters such as natural gas substitution rate, fuel flexibility range (methane number), and the ability to maintain emissions compliance are uniquely considered.


The mobile/temporary power sector, in particular, can profit from this dual fuel technology as it allows the end user to utilize natural gas while automatically modulating gas substitution based on fuel quality, pressure, type and variety.  An automated fuel system, with common protections and controls, achieves optimal performance through continuous monitoring and adjustment.  Additionally, retesting, readjusting and re-commissioning from site to site are unnecessary, further amplifying the benefits for mobile and temporary power applications where setup time is key, up-time is “prime-time” and downtime is unacceptable.


Caterpillar offers many resources on the various DGB products across all segments, including field kits for oil and gas.  Visit us online for specific power systems product details in mobile, rental and temporary applications.


We’d like to hear about your experience with dual-fuel technology, specifically in the mobile power space.  Please leave your questions and comments below.

  • What are you interested in that is not yet available in the market place or in typical product offerings?
  • What specific regions of the world and their respective market segments find dual-fuel products particularly attractive for temporary power applications?
  • Are there power nodes where dual-fuel engines are more or less attractive in a mobile solution?

by Abdul Rehman Khaliq
on ‎11-25-2014 01:59 AM
Kindly send me the quotation for the following item before 01 of December because it is the last day of closing bid. I will be waiting for your kind response.




1520 MM ID X 1590 MM OD X 2 MM TH;
DIN 28091-4;
KKS # MAC10;


Qty - 03

by Visitor gillskd
on ‎11-27-2014 12:03 PM



Thank you for your interest!  I encourage you to work with your local CAT dealer to inquire and generate a quote.  Try this link http://www.cat.com/en_US/support/dealerlocator.html.  Good luck!

by Richard Chrysler
on ‎12-10-2014 12:04 AM

We have a priority system that will supply large quanities of hydrogen gas on demand. Do you have a generator that will run on a mixture of 66% hydrogen and 33% oxygen. Or can your engineers build one. We have a demand for several thousand generators ranging from 350 Kw to 8.3 mega watts. We would like to team up with a generator manufacture to supply us with units. Will someone please contact me at 954 229 4040 or at dickchrysler@comcast.net

by Visitor Progen904
on ‎12-10-2014 04:17 PM

It is very amusing when today's manufacturers re-name century old technology, and even with all of their new and improved expertise the new moniker usually is incorrect. A dual-fuel system maintains two independent paths for fuels to travel. Two types of fuel are available for the engine, but only one is delivered to the engine at any given time. A bi-fuel system, on the other hand, makes use of two fuels simultaneously. A diesel engine that supplements diesel fuel with natural gas is a bi-fuel engine. I personally have a 1928 International Harvester engine that arrived from the factory with the ability to start and run only on gasoline or supplement the gasoline with kerosene and heated water injection from the engine cooling system. This is a bi-fuel engine. During WWII many river fishing boat owners would wind copper tubing around the exhaust pipes of their engines to heat kerosene which would take the place of precious gasoline after the engine reached operating temperature. These were dual fuel engines. Caterpillar manufactured G series engines that would operate on either natural gas or propane separately but not both at one time. These were dual fuel engines as were the ONAN gasoline engines with the LP or natural gas carburetor stacked on top of the gasoline carburetor. Many of a long haul trucker with diesel engines and even early motor home owners with gasoline engines were infamous for DIY or aftermarket systems to supliment the primary fuel with untaxed LP. These were bi-fuel engines. Today's dual fuel or bi-fuel engine may be computer controlled with anti-knock, oxygen sensors and communcations with the engine ECU but a new idea? "Na" not this time.  

by Visitor gillskd
‎12-11-2014 03:15 PM - edited ‎12-11-2014 03:34 PM

Hello Richard!  The best thing to do is to work with and funnel your specific requests through your local CAT dealer (again you can use the following link to access the dealer locator tool http://www.cat.com/en_US/support/dealer-locator.html).


I'm sure you've reviewed www.cat.com, but we currently only offer products utizling diesel, natural gas, and in some cases propane.  Thanks for your interest.

by Visitor gillskd
on ‎12-11-2014 03:33 PM

Progen904, I appreciate the history of innovation and inventive nature that you point out in people.  I think the point to take is that the world is changing faster than it ever has, particurlarly with respect to the energy sector--politically, financially, availability, infrastructure--you name it.  The dual fuel vs. bi-fuel term is definitely debatable, but in context of the DGB product, the idea of a system that automatially controls the blending of natural gas and diesel w/o the need for adjustment or recalibration, is attractive and not available in all solutions.  Therefore, to take advantage of a product that can utilize a fuel w/a reduced price tag, but still utilize a tried and true fuel such as diesel, but in an innovative, dependable way, follows a trend.  It allows one the ability to change and adjust along with the sector.

by Madan Lal Sachdeva
on ‎09-16-2015 05:33 PM

Dear Sir,


We intend installation of 2 units of 2 MW Duel Fuel generating sets. The duel fuel is CNG and Diesel. What is the minimum CNG and Diesel  storagecapacity / unit for 12 hours daily running.

What is the range of generating voltage ( 400V, 3.3kV, 6.6kV) fuel consumption per KWH 


Please mail me technical details and your contact in India particularly Delhi ( India) 

by Visitor gillskd
on ‎09-17-2015 12:01 PM

Hi Madan.  If you're referring to the XQ2000 DGB product, the 3516B engine with DGB has no on-board capacity for CNG.  There is an on board 1250gal day tank for housing diesel fuel.  As for generating voltage, the unit is configured for 50 Hz, 400V only.  Other voltages can be achieved of course with a transformer.


There are technical data sheets available at your local CAT dealer.  You can try the following link http://www.cat.com/en_US/support/dealer-locator.html to access the dealer locator tool.  It looks like there are several dealers in the Delhi area.  Thanks for your inquiry!

by Alfonso Prim
on ‎04-20-2016 01:19 PM

Very good article Kenton. Happy to discover it. Thanks for the information.

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