GE “flange-to-flange” gas turbine upgrade boosts efficiency at Spanish cogeneration plant

Source: GE

In only seven weeks, GE (NYSE: GE) has completed a major “flange-to-flange” upgrade of a Frame 6B gas turbine at an industrial recycling paper mill in El Burgo de Ebro (Zaragoza), Spain. Replacing the key components of the gas turbine with new, advanced design parts has resulted in increased operating efficiency, a significant reduction in emissions and a considerable life extension for the plant. The project marked the world’s first flange-to-flange replacement for a GE 6B gas turbine.

The paper mill is owned by S.A. Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa (SAICA), an international company that specializes in the production of corrugated cardboard boxes. The gas turbine upgrade will enable the SAICA plant to continue to receive the total feed-in tariff from the Spanish government. According to the Spanish legislation, cogeneration plants under 50 megawatts no longer qualify for the total feed-in tariff after 15 years of operation unless they adopt more efficient and environmentally responsible technologies as specified in the legislation.

"SAICA is fully committed to supplying sustainable quality products to the industry," said Antonio Pérez Palacio, energy and services director of SAICA Group. "The agreement with GE reinforces SAICA's position as a European leader both in efficiency and sustainability—key factors critical to the success in the global paper industry. GE’s capacity to comply with the tight schedule was critical in order to restart operation of the plant as early as possible.”

The upgraded Frame 6B at the SAICA cogeneration plant delivers approximately 38 megawatts of power, which is then sold to the national power grid, and produces steam for use in the paper production process. The project included the installation of GE’s dry low NOx (DLN) combustion technology to reduce NOx emissions from around 150ppm to less than 15ppm without steam injection.

“Offering increased efficiency, higher performance and emissions control, this gas turbine upgrade program supports our commitment to deliver solutions that allow our customers to operate their plants in a cleaner, smarter and more efficient way,” said Corinne de Bilbao, general manager of GE Energy Services, Western Europe and North West Africa. “The SAICA project is our first 6B flange-to-flange replacement project in the world and will serve as a model for future applications throughout the region. This type of upgrade brings significant results in a much shorter time than replacing the old gas turbine with a new unit would require.”

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