Powering Up: Flexible Fuels Boost Sustainable Growth

Powering Up: Flexible Fuels Boost Sustainable Growth

December 18, 2012 at 12:12pm

We’ve become accustomed to seeing “flex-fuel” automobiles and SUVs that can run on both conventional gasoline and gasoline blends that include biofuels such as ethanol. In cars, this flexibility ensures that biofuels can be incorporated easily and safely into the vehicle fuel supply.

Now, this kind of fuel flexibility is coming to the massive scale of the power plant, with the development of GE’s heavy-duty gas turbines that are specially designed to accommodate a wide range of fuels.

Not only can these turbines operate on more than 50 different fuels – from fuel oil and crude oil to ethanol, hydrogen, and biodiesel – they also can be used in a range of settings, such as refineries, steel mills, and other petrochemical plant facilities.

Adding to the mix
Just as flex-fuel in SUVs promotes the use of greener fuels, GE’s turbine technology means power plants can incorporate a wide range of cutting-edge sustainable fuels, such as hydrogen and biodiesel, into its energy mix.

This technology allows oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia, which are always looking for ways to maximize the value of its oil resources, to use heavy fuel oils for power generation.

Further supporting this technology, GE has developed a special HFO (heavy fuel oil) Availability Package that helps power plant operators reduce the time offline for cleaning these turbines, and eliminates the problem of reduced power generation during the time between cleanings that traditionally affects HFO-fuelled gas turbines.

Powering up… FAST!
Flexibility and sustainability also is the theme of another GE turbine innovation that also has ideal application in Saudi Arabia. The FlexEfficiency 60 power generation portfolio gives utility companies unprecedented flexibility to deliver power quickly when it is needed and then ramp down when it is not. It can provide base-load power, but also offer utilities the flexibility to incorporate intermittent renewable power. That’s because the FlexEfficiency 60 systems help utilities balance supply and demand on the grid by ramping up or down quickly and efficiently as wind or sunlight comes and goes.

To see the full range of flexible, efficient and sustainable products in GE’s ecomagination portfolio, click here.

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