The FlexEfficiency 50, unveiled today in Paris, is a 510 MW combined cycle plant that offers fuel efficiency greater than 61 percent. GE says the plant’s biggest breakthrough lies in its ability to offer both flexibility and efficiency, while most power plants today offer one or the other. This ability is essential to large-scale, cost-effective integration of renewables into the grid, GE says.
“With global energy demand expected to double by 2030 and electricity generation accounting for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, utilities and government bodies are taking a hard look at how to produce power more efficiently,” said Ricardo Cordoba, president of GE Energy for Western Europe and North Africa.
“This innovation can have a dramatic effect on CO2 emissions and offers a nimble, efficient and cost-effective way for us to help E.U. countries in their pursuit of 20-20-20 energy goals,” Cordoba added. “20-20-20 calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas levels by 20 percent, an increased share of renewables to 20 percent and a reduction of energy consumption by 20 percent all by the year 2020.”
GE drew from the company’s jet engine expertise to engineer the plant, which it says can ramp up at a rate of more than 50 megawatts per minute, twice the rate of today’s industry benchmarks. The FlexEfficiency 50 uses a next-generation 9FB Gas Turbine that operates at 50 Hz, the most-used power frequency around the world; a 109D-14 Steam Turbine, which runs on the waste heat produced by the gas turbine; a GE W28 Generator; a GE Mark VIe integrated control system that links all of the technologies; and a heat recovery steam generator.
GE says the plant is the result of more than $500 million of research and development investment. It is the first product in GE’s new FlexEfficiency portfolio and part of GE’s ecomagination commitment to R&D investment in clean energy technology.
Other recent clean tech announcements by GE have included the unveiling of what it calls the world’s most efficient wind turbine, the highest reported efficiency for thin film solar and $11 billion in natural gas and power transmission acquisitions.
Last week GE Aviation announced that 16 energy reduction projects at two Rutland, Vt., facilities had reduced annual electrical usage by more than 15 million kWh, and reduced CO2 emission by close to 8,000 tons.