In the summer heat of the Texas panhandle, farmers rely on irrigation to keep their fields fertile. And, while this is one of the foremost wind energy regions in America, area farmers can now rely on an additional power source to help meet their growing irrigation needs: the air-cooled 7F.05 gas turbine from GE (NYSE: GE).
“We need tremendous amounts of energy to run the irrigation pumps and add reserve power to the grid to support wind generation in the region,” said J. Jolly Hayden, chief operating officer of Golden Spread Electric Cooperative Inc. “GE’s 7F.05 really delivers—we affectionately refer to it as ‘The Beast.’ It’s big and it’s fast. The 7F.05 provides the efficient, flexible and reliable power we need, right when we need it.”
Golden Spread Electric Cooperative Inc. began using the 7F.05 in commercial operation at its Elk Station power plant in June 2015. The plant, near Lubbock, Texas, marks the first 7F.05 startup in the United States and the first 7F unit to operate on GE’s advanced DLN2.6+ combustion system. This system allows for even lower emissions compared to GE’s previous combustion technology.
According to the results, this “Beast” is proving to be a “Beauty.” Due to its flexibility, the Elk Station 7F.05 unit can integrate with wind energy by providing over 75 percent of full load capacity within 10 minutes. This means that when the wind’s not blowing, power can be replaced on the grid quickly to help meet the energy needs of consumers.
“Emissions typically go up as utilities increase or reduce output. Fortunately, the 7F.05 remains emissions compliant while it ramps up at 40 megawatts (MW) per minute and turns down to 38 percent of maximum output,” said Monte Atwell, general manager of power generation product management at GE Power & Water. “As the wind fluctuates, the 7F.05 gas turbine can quickly provide the power needed while being cleaner and better for the environment as compared to previous GE technology. “
In addition to its flexibility, the 7F.05 gas turbine has a rated ISO simple-cycle output of 231 MW at nearly 40 percent efficiency, higher than previous F-class models. This can translate into a lower cost of electricity and increased revenue across a wide range of operating conditions.
During testing at Elk Station, the 7F.05 with the new DLN2.6+ combustion system achieved 4.8 ppm NOx at site baseload—the first time to achieve this low level. This represents a 46 percent reduction in NOx emissions at the then current base load conditions. The 7F.05 continues to demonstrate NOx at the rated performance below 5.0 ppm.
GE’s advanced DLN2.6+ combustion system not only reaches low NOx levels, but also provides for greater performance at higher NOx limits and is available for upgrade across the GE 7F fleet of gas turbines.
GE’s has an operating fleet of more than 4,500 air-cooled heavy-duty gas turbines with accumulated operation of more than 180 million hours. GE F-class technology advancements are fueled through the long history of its Aviation business and innovations from its Global Research Center.