GE Adds To FlexGas Innovations

on September 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM

In the time it takes to brew coffee, GE promises it can fire up its newest gas turbine and power a small city or university.

Within five minutes, GE’s new FlexAero LM 6000-PH can be ready to produce power to the grid, demonstrating flexibility if wind or solar energy is being used.

Unveiled in Houston on Wednesday, in time for the 40th Turbomachinery Symposium/27th International Pump Users Symposium–also being held this week in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center–the 50 MW gas turbine can operate without water or being connected to a grid.

GE says its latest model also has a ramp rate of 50 MW per minute and operates faster that its previous gas turbines.

GE has been releasing various new gas turbines in recent months that can ramp up to full power in minutes and therefore be used to effectively compensate for intermittent generators when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Read more: After The Supercycle, GE Builds Towards Renewable Energy Future.

“Several factors are driving strong interest in natural gas,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO, GE Power & Water and GE Senior Vice President. “The recent increase in production has helped to ensure reliable supply and a consistent price structure, making natural gas an economically viable, dependable option for power generation needs. It also is the cleanest fossil fuel and a strong fit for the flexible, efficient power generation that our customers need to enable the integration of more renewable resources into the power grid.”

Plant emissions can also be greatly reduced with gas turbines, according to GE executives. GE’s new turbine can lower fuel consumption by the equivalent of 33,000 barrels of oil per year and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 38,400 metric tons during an operating year.

Though many agree that natural gas produces less carbon emissions than coal plants, the method of extracting natural gas from shale rock–known has hydraluc fracturing, or “fracking”–has been hotly debated in recent months. One New Yorker started a campaign to prevent fracking in his state. Read the full story: Grass Roots Campaign Focuses On New York Fracking.

GE modifies its aviation engines to use natural gas and/or biofuels. Its aeroderivative business is headquartered in Houston. The FlexAero will be manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio and packaged in Houston.

GE Energy is comprised of GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas and generated $38 billion in revenue in 2010.

Photo Caption: (TOP) Steve Bolze, GE Senior Vice President and GE Power & Water President and CEO with GE’s new FlexAero LM 6000-PH. (ABOVE) Bolze talks to the press at a tour of the Houston-based facility.