GE has announced its latest contribution to natural gas-driven power generation in the FlexAero* LM6000-PH, a highly efficient 50-megawatt (MW) gas turbine.
The FlexAero was unveiled in Houston as the solution for businesses and communities around the globe that need power, fast. Coupled with breakthrough flexibility and efficiency, GE’s FlexAero is distinguished by its ability to operate with no need for water, which helps to conserve a global resource under increasing pressure.
The multimillion-dollar investment in research and development to create the FlexAero highlights GE’s focus on creating advanced technologies to harness the increased availability of natural gas for power generation.
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 offers rapid response to power demands anywhere around the world through the industry’s fastest deployment and installation. Once on site, it is expected to reach full power in just five minutes.
“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.
“We developed the FlexAero to give those customers advanced technology, leading in flexibility and efficiency, which can be shipped and installed faster than any technology in its class and can operate independent from the power grid.”
The FlexAero is the industry’s most flexible aeroderivative gas turbine, with 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%.
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 CO-2 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 FlexAero gives our customers energy certainty in a rapidly changing world.”
The ecomagination-qualified FlexAero is fueled by natural gas, enabling businesses and communities with growing power needs to meet demand more sustainably. With natural gas prices well below $5 per Mcf 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 includes GE’s 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 CO-2 and NOx emissions in a gas turbine.
“Today, 30% of the world’s population is water-constrained. By 2025, the number will reach 60%,” 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. The FlexAero is the only gas turbine of its kind that combines flexibility and efficiency at these levels with zero water requirements. We see this combination as critical to meeting growing energy demand in a sustainable way.”
Like all of GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines, the FlexAero will be manufactured in Cincinnati, OH and packaged in Houston.
In other news, GE also announced that it has received more than $1 billion in orders for heavy duty and aeroderivative gas turbines for projects throughout North America since year end.
“Several factors are driving strong interest in natural gas,” said Bolze.
“The recent increase in production has helped to ensure a reliable supply and a consistent price structure, making natural gas an economically viable, dependable option for power generation needs. It is also the cleanest burning fuel and a strong fir for the flexible, efficient power generation that our customers need to enable the integration of more renewable resources into the power grid.”