No Water Needed for GE’s Natural Gas Technology

September 14, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

GE’s (NYSE: GE) latest energy innovation to enable growth and development everywhere with fast, flexible, natural gas-driven power generation has been rolled out to the market.

No Water Needed for GE’s Natural Gas Technology

The new FlexAero LM6000-PH, a highly-efficient 50-megawatt (MW) gas turbine, was unveiled in Houston, dubbed as the solution for businesses and communities around the globe who need power fast.

The multimillion dollar investment in research and development to create the FlexAero marks GE’s focus to create advanced technologies that harness the increased availability of natural gas for power generation. In fact, GE has received more than $1 billion in orders for heavy duty and aeroderivative gas turbines for projects throughout North America since year-end.

Coupled with breakthrough flexibility and efficiency, GE’s FlexAero is distinguished by its ability to operate with no need for water, helping to conserve a global resource under increasing pressure.

“Over the past 10 years, we have seen our customer base rapidly change and expand to include industrial businesses and remote communities that need reliable, independent power to grow,” said Darryl Wilson, president and CEO—aeroderivative gas turbines for GE Power & Water.

GE said FlexAero was created to meet the needs of power generators who must adapt to fast-changing energy demands. Leveraging flexible, cleaner-burning natural gas, GE’s new ecomagination-qualified technology is said to offer rapid response to power demands anywhere around the globe through the industry’s fastest deployment and installation. Once on site, it is expected to reach full power in just five minutes—less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.

The FlexAero has a ramp-up rate of 50 MW per minute, allowing it to meet fluctuations in demand in near-real time. The technology also is engineered to provide industry-leading efficiency for an aeroderivative turbine operating in a combined-cycle capacity and can reach ultra-high efficiency through cogeneration at rates above 80 percent.

The FlexAero connects energy independence and speed of delivery with world-class flexibility and efficiency, enabling businesses and communities to create the power they need to thrive, while reducing CO₂ emissions by 38,400 metric tons per gas turbine, per year—equivalent to removing 7,400 cars from U.S. roads.

“This unmatched combination of speed, reliability and efficiency gives independence to an expanding world of non-traditional power generators who want to plan for fast-changing energy demands,” added Wilson.

The ecomagination-qualified FlexAero is fueled by cleaner-burning natural gas, enabling businesses and communities with growing power needs to meet demand more sustainably. With current natural gas prices well below $5 per thousand cubic feet and projected to remain in that range for the next 25 years, high efficiency gas turbines like the FlexAero offer electricity at a significantly lower cost than other fuel alternatives, as well as energy stability by harnessing abundant natural gas supplies.

The FlexAero joins GE Energy’s FlexEfficiency portfolio of power conversion products, designed to provide sustainable, efficient power to the grid and enable the uptake of renewables by addressing the issues of intermittency and reliability.

GE launched the first product in this portfolio, the 510-MW FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant, in May 2011. The FlexAero LM6000-PH also is part of GE’s ecomagination commitment to drive clean energy technology through innovation and R&D investment.

The FlexAero includes GE’s innovative DLE2.0 technology, which reduces NOx emissions to just 15 ppm without the need for water. The technology allows customers to save more than 26 million gallons of water per turbine, per year, which is typically used to dilute CO₂ and NOx emissions in a gas turbine.

“Today, 30 percent of the world’s population is water constrained. By 2025, the number will reach 60 percent,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water.

“As global energy demand increases, so does the stress on our water supply—a reality that we take very seriously when we develop new technologies across our portfolio.”

GE’s aeroderivative business, headquartered in Houston, modifies highly reliable GE aviation engines to burn natural gas and/or biofuels for efficient, reliable energy. These jet engine-based power generation units, which range from 18-100 MW, help energy companies to take advantage of the growing trend to use abundant, cleaner-burning natural gas to power a cleaner, more productive world.

GE’s LM6000 family of aeroderivative gas turbines have a product heritage of more than 1,000 units shipped and 21+ million operating hours with more than 99 percent reliability. Like all of GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines, the FlexAero will be manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio, and packaged in Houston.

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