Compañia Española de Petróleos (CEPSA), a Spanish petrochemical companies, has adopted General Electric gas turbine technology at its Gibraltar-San Roque refinery to meet environmental emissions restrictions without reducing efficiency or increasing operational cost.
Developed by GE’s Power Generation Services business, the fuel-flexible high hydrogen fuel DLN1 technology increased the gas turbine’s efficiency by enabling it to use recycled refinery fuel gas (RFG) without needing additional water to generate power.
Refinery gases are used as fuel for CEPSA’s internal processes with excess gas flared. GE’s turbine configuration recaptures and reduces waste gas that otherwise must be flared or burned off. The gas, known as RFG, is a typical byproduct of the refining process and contains hydrogen and hydrocarbons, which contribute to greenhouse gases.
This is the first time a refinery has adopted a process that uses RFG to power turbines for generating electricity without using water and reflects the fuel flexibility of GE’s 6B DLN1 heavy-duty gas turbine design that blends startup fuel (natural gas) with RFG fuel. The flexible fuel configuration caps GE’s three-year research and development effort.
GE completed the conversion process more than a year ago and since then, the unit has increased the power plant’s efficiency and lowered the release of gaseous emissions. The use of waste (RFG) gas has decreased the need to purchase natural gas resulting in a 7 percent heat rate improvement. CEPSA also has realized a 90 percent reduction in NOx emission with GE’s DLN1 combustion system.
Since the upgrade, the new combustion system hardware’s condition has exceeded CEPSA’s expectations as the unit has accumulated 10,000 hours of operation on RFG. In addition, the new configuration of the combustion system has 24,000 hours inspection intervals, which is three time longer than the previous combustion system. This extension will reduce the plant’s operating costs.
In March, GE announced its big-data driven insights saved its power plant customers about $70 million in 2014, up from $53.9 million in 2013.