GE announces new additions to Power FlexEfficiency portfolio

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General Electric (GE) chose the POWER-GEN International trade conference in Orlando on Wednesday to launch two new technologies, aimed at the gas-fired power generation sector.

The innovations are focused on expanding the capabilities of the company’s 7F gas turbines as the gas power industry adapts to its forecasted role as the chief means of power generation for the US by 2035.
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Part of GE’s (NYSE: GE) Power FlexEfficiency portfolio of upgrade solutions, the Dry Low NOx (DLN) 2.6+ Combustion package is aimed at increasing the reliability of the turbine and helping to lower overall costs.

Innovations to existing hardware, advanced software and data analytics capabilities have enabled the turbine with the capability to burn up to 25 per cent ethane or propane from shale gas. This solution also provides customers with the option to burn up to 20 per cent hydrogen, and all three fuel sources can be used while continuing to maintain low emissions.

The technology also enables GE customers to reduce their NOx emissions up to 40 per cent and operate as low as sub 5 ppm NOx and in general plants operating with this technology have more options to purchase fuel based on composition, as well as price, to help them save on fuel costs.

Meanwhile the company’s Advanced Compressor upgrade promises to allow existing GE 7F units to breach new performance barriers in output, efficiency and operational. The company says this technology better positions customers to meet future commitments with their existing assets.

The overall hardware-software combination, operating under the same conditions, can save over $300,000 a year in fuel costs at an average natural gas price of $4 per MMBTU, according to a statement by GE and the company is promoting its OpFlex controls software as an option in terms of further reducing both emissions and fuel costs.

The new compressor technology, which features component innovations, including 3-D aero airfoils and variable stator vanes, can increase output by 12 per cent and improve operational efficiency by up to 2 per cent, allowing users to utilise the additional capacity to generate new revenue streams, as well as deliver more power during peak periods.

Guy DeLeonardo, General Manager of High-Efficiency Gas Turbines told Power Engineering International that there was ‘great acceptance’ of this GE product line throughout the world

“We have had 13 orders and over 30 selections across the US, UK Brazil, Europe and Asia. The success is twofold – one is down to economics –it brings economies of scale and succeeds in driving lower- fuel productivity and secondly there is acceptance of the technology.

“We’ve used the compressor we validated back in 2011 for the compressor of the HA gas turbines, we are then building on the Dry Low NOx  2.6 plusplus system currently operating in the 9f fleet and finally using our 50 million hours of experience in turbine design to complete and wrap that with OpFlex software. We expect great continued growth in the US due to coal retirement, but also in the Middle East, Brazil and Asia.”

Stefan Maier, Product Manager F-Class Service for GE told Pei that the latest expansion of the company’s FlexEfficiency portfolio, is an anticipatory move at what they project to be a growing F-Class market over the next two decades.

“There is 350+ GW of new US generating capacity needed by 2040. In addition to that the emerging markets are showing a greater growth rate. Of particular interest to us are the Middle East, northern Asia and South America. As you can see our 60 Hz F-class products are going to need some additional options so the addition of these two options shows our commitment to the long term needs of our customers.”

“(The DLN 2.6 fuel flexibility capability advantage) is huge (the company has also run the first ever successful field tests of superlight crude oil) as markets both inside and outside the US begin to see greater variation in the fuel content.”

The upgrade will also see  the maintenance intervals for F-class turbines expanding to 32,000 hours and 1250 starts, allowing the company’s customers to align their combustion and hot  gas path airloads together, achieving more availability.

Nathan Race, F-Class Marketing Program Manager provided some information on how the company brought about its latest innovation, telling PEi: “This compressor brings about 25 year of technology development back to the 7F and the main points I’d highlight is we have 3D aerodynamics, due to a big push for additional efficiency and reduced compressor working function, which translates into more output. We also have variable stators for better start-up and better part-load efficiency and it’s a larger compressor which fundamentally enables the 12 per cent output increase.”

GE is constantly challenged by the industry to help it adapt to the regulatory environment and the general demands of the market, and the latest addition to the stable means GE now possesses the most comprehensive portfolio currently available for gas-power generators.

“We look at the product portfolio and it’s all about flexibility so that portfolio can meet different needs, whether regulatory, whether market-driven or whether just part of a customer’s long-term planning,” says Nathan Race. “So our PowerFlex Efficiency offering is really all about working with customers to tailor that to their needs. Combining OpFlex, Advanced Gas Path and DLN 2.6 plus in different packages allows us to address many, many combinations of regulatory market needs in the world today.”

GE Opflex Control Software entails the provision of combustion dynamics monitoring, a real time measurement of the gas turbine, containing around 100 sensors that are real time operating within the gas turbine and another 300 that are virtual. The sensors work in tandem with a control system enabling GE to work with the customer to tailor a software solution to better fit requirements.



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