HAdeer Learns Why the Upcoming Bhikki Power Plant Will Soon Be ‘Famous’
HAdeer is the newest member of the GE family in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. He is GE’s HA gas turbine technology in the region – the world’s largest, most efficient heavy-duty gas turbine – and he’s settling into his new home at the Bhikki Power Plant in Pakistan. The plant will be powered by two 9HA turbines, and once configured in combined cycle, will deliver up to 1,180 megawatts (MW) of power to Pakistan’s grid.
With only days to go before final commissioning at the Bhikki plant, HAdeer caught up with Michel Ghazal, Projects Leader for GE’s Gas Power Systems business in the East Mediterranean and Pakistan region, who also looks over the Bhikki project.
HAdeer: Hi Michel! Thanks for taking a moment to speak with me.
Michel: It’s my pleasure! It’s not every day that I get to speak with somebody famous.
Michel: Sure! You’re an exciting new cutting-edge technology that produces electricity in an extremely efficient manner.
HAdeer: That’s true. I know higher efficiency means better environmental results – as the world’s most efficient heavy-duty gas turbine, I offer the lowest air emissions (NOx, CO2) across all forms of fossil fuel-based power generation. But tell us, Michel, why else is efficiency important?
Michel: Because it also means that Pakistan, which currently has a shortage of electricity generating capacity, will soon have an additional 1,100-plus MW of electricity that will be produced using the least possible amount of natural gas. That means lower fuel imports and an extremely cost-effective electricity generation solution.
HAdeer: You said “new” technology, but Bhikki’s not the first place that’s used HA gas turbines.
Michel: That’s right. The first facility in the world equipped with the technology was the 605 MW combined-cycle Bouchain Power Plant in France.
HAdeer: It’s famous too, isn’t it?
Michel: Yes. It holds the record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant with an efficiency of 62.22%..
HAdeer: Does that mean Bhikki will also be one of the most efficient gas power plants in the world?
Michel: Absolutely! Your HA technology is the result of decades of GE turbine expertise and literally thousands of hours of testing – so we’re confident that once you start running in Bhikki and the facility commences combined cycle operations, you’ll help turn it into one of the most efficient gas power plants in the world.
HAdeer: So I should expect to be in the spotlight?
Michel: Definitely! You see, when people want to build a new power plant, they like to see the technology in action. Right now, they can go see the plant in Bouchain, but once you’re operational in Bhikki, they can come see you in operation in Pakistan as well.
HAdeer: Why is that important?
Michel: Well, the environment in Pakistan is quite different from that in France. Once you are operational in Pakistan, people will be able to see how GE’s H-class technology performs in different climates, geographies and operating conditions, which will show that the turbines can deliver industry-leading efficiency in many different environments.
HAdeer: Sounds like it’s a big deal that Pakistan sought to be among the first few pioneers in the adoption of this technology?
Michel: Yes, it is! It demonstrates the country’s determination to meet growing power demand in a visionary and proactive manner. It also reflects something else we found that greatly assisted the fast, high-quality implementation of this project.
HAdeer: What’s that?
Michel: In Pakistan, there were tremendously positive interactions among everyone involved, something that helped facilitate the fast-track development of the plant. We had great support from the end user [provincial-government owned Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Ltd.] and the client [Harbin Electric].
HAdeer: Where else is my technology being adopted?
Michel: Customers all over the world are recognizing your worth and adopting GE’s HA technology, including those in the UK, USA, Japan, Korea, Germany and other countries.
HAdeer: As an engineer yourself, what are some of the things you’ve found most interesting about my HA technology?
Michel: Aah, there are so many fascinating features! The first is your size. At about 400 tons, you’re the world’s largest heavy-weight gas turbine; add on your generator, and that’s about 800 tons. What makes it more noteworthy, though, is that despite that size, when you spin at your full speed of 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), you vibrate by just about 4.5 mm per second. And you’ve been built to endure extreme conditions. Your exhaust temperature is about 650 0C and your combustion temperature is more than 1,500 0C, even more than hot volcanic lava. To me, you’re a true super hero – immense, strong and powering the world!
HAdeer: Thanks, Michel! We’re almost out of time now so let’s go back to the Bhikki project – can you tell us something else that’s noteworthy about it.
Michel: How about this: about 2,000 people from GE and Harbin Electric came together from all over the world to make this plant a reality, including China (where Harbin Electric is based), the UAE, France and the United States … not to mention Pakistan.
HAdeer: Wow! No wonder I’ve been hearing so many different languages over the past year and a half. Thank you, Michel for your time. We’ve learned a lot.
Michel: It’s been a pleasure!
HAdeer: For our readers, stay tuned and follow me on #HAdeer for more stories and updates from Bhikki in Pakistan and beyond.