GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business has shipped its 33,000th gas engine since first production 90 years ago. The milestone was celebrated Oct. 8 in conjunction with the High Horsepower Summit in New Orleans.
The company’s product portfolio includes Waukesha and Jenbacher gas engines for distributed power applications. Recently, GE announced it signed a contract to provide Texas-based Sky Global Partners with its most efficient gas engine, the J920 FleXtra, marking the largest order in North America for the company’s latest reciprocating engine technology.
GE’s history with natural gas began in 1899 when employee Charles Gordon Curtis patented the first gas turbine in the United States. The company began working with reciprocating gas engines 25 years later at the Waukesha Motor Company in Waukesha, WI. That business expanded for decades, with current models continuing to be used in oilfield and drill rig applications for gas compression and displacing older diesel-fueled generators in North America. The current engine portfolio ranges in output from 160 brake horsepower (bhp) to 4,835 bhp.
Jenbacher gas engines date back more than 50 years to the town of Jenbach, Austria. In 1957, the first Jenbacher gas engine was manufactured, and the portfolio grew throughout the 20th century. Jenbacher gas engines range in power output from 0.3 megawatts (MW) to 10 MW and can be found in combined heat and power applications (CHP), biomass gasification plants, and throughout the oil and gas sector.
“Our gas engine technology has been successful in a wide range of applications,” Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE’s Distributed Power business, told the summit audience during her keynote speech. “We are always looking to pursue the right opportunities based on what our customers want and need.”
The Distributed Power business was launched in February 2014 with a $1.4 billion investment from GE. The company expects the distributed power sector to grow 40% faster than global electricity demand between now and 2020.