GE chief challenges CHP industry to overcome weaknesses

The cogeneration industry needs to become more solutions-driven and do more to engage its end users if it wishes to achieve its undoubted potential.

That’s the verdict of Shonodeep Modak, GE Power and Water’s Chief Marketing Officer, GE Gas Engines, who spoke to COSPP at COGEN Europe last week in Brussels.
Shonodeep Modak Modak is new to the European cogeneration industry but says the issues holding the industry back are global.

“I have been involved in the American CHP industry for some time and the two regions are very similar in that there is much talk within the industry about the issues and challenges but less discussion on the solution side. I think we as an industry are still fragmented in how we face the problems.”

“There were only a few examples of solutions presented today. As a cogeneration industry we have to collectively develop innovative business models, and I think only then will we see a revitalisation happen.”

Some of the industries, who have found the value in deploying cogeneration technology had speakers’ representatives at the annual European industry event. Modak says cogeneration interests need to focus more on engaging end users in spreading the message.

“End users of cogeneration play a critical role in the solution. When I look at many cogeneration associations, they are mainly comprised of equipment manufacturers, consultants and developers. You have got to get the ExxonMobils (NYSE: XOM), automotive manufacturers, food processors, and healthcare associations into these organisations. It’s the end users that will have to drive this as they are the ones who are going to ultimately benefit the most by being more competitive with the efficiency benefits that cogeneration brings.”

Mr Modak is especially keen that the industry makes the most of its connection with what is a thriving gas power sector at the moment. He provided the audience with much insight in his presentation, entitled, “Cogeneration, globalisation in the golden age of gas and what it means to the EU industry.”

GE has noted that gas is often flowing in areas where power is expensive and is generated by mainstream liquid fuels such as diesel.

“If you look at the economics it’s very attractive to look at gas as an alternative to diesel and that provides a significant amount of margin and opportunity to leverage the great expertise that we generate here in Europe. We know cogeneration applications really well and work with the distribution side to bring solutions to bridge the gaps with these consumers that have been using diesel. There is a lot of money to be made in the industry in that regard.”

“Certainly CHP may be a viable solution for customers who have very high costs in power, in markets where there was never an incentive that existed.”

GE is ideally placed to see the synergies that can arise. Its oil and gas enterprise is its fastest growing business and Modak espouses the tremendous new technologies the company is developing, such as CNG In A Box and LNG In A Box.

“These technologies allow us to mobilise these fuelling and re-fuelling technologies that we can work closely with. So we have not only a very good understanding of the demand side, we also have a very good understanding of the supply side of the fuels and the electrons.”

Earlier this month GE celebrated the commissioning of the Rosenheim J920 project in Bavaria, Germany. The almost 10 MW engine, with an efficiency rate of 48.7 per cent boasts the highest efficiency in that class representing a $3bn segment for GE.

All in all, Modak is greatly enthused by what he is seeing on both sides of the Atlantic in terms of innovative CHP-related projects.

“(The Rosenheim Project) is a great example of a district heating project . Similarly there are pioneering efforts being made with greenhouses and nurseries in the US such as the Houweling Nurseries, which is the  first US greenhouse combined heat and power project with carbon dioxide fertilization.”

“This is nothing new in Europe but a first in the US, when commissioned in 2012. We are seeing tough markets like the US move without major incentives. That’s an example of innovation and a business solution coming together.”

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