GE launched a new gas turbine option in Houston today.
The 50-megawatt (MW) FlexAero* LM6000-PH, that responds quickly and flexibly to fluctuations in demand without sacrificing efficiency, meaning it’s particularly well suited to work in tandem with renewable energy sources like wind and solar. How fast is the new turbine? It can ramp up to full power (and back down) in under five minutes. That ability to kick in fast when the sun stops shining or the wind stops blowing, and the fact that it doesn’t require any water to operate, has already qualified the LM6000-PH as an ecomagination product. It’s the second product in the FlexEfficiency portfolio of power conversion products, which debuted in May with the FlexEfficiency* 50 Combined Cycle Power Plant, and is manufactured by GE Energy in Cincinnati and Houston. To support the new product, GE Energy plans to add 60 to 70 new jobs at the Jacintoport manufacturing operation in Houston.
The vast majority of electricity in the US is produced with thermally driven water-cooled energy conversion cycles, but the LM6000-PH does what it does without water. And with GE’s DLE2.0 technology, NOx and CO2 emissions are low enough not to need water for dilution, as is typically required for gas turbines. “Today, 30 percent of the world’s population is water constrained,” said Steve Bolze, President and CEO of GE Power & Water. “The FlexAero LM6000-PH is the only gas turbine of its kind that combines flexibility and efficiency at these levels with zero water requirements.”
The LM6000-PH is a product of GE’s aeroderivative business, which modifies jet engines to use natural gas and biofuels. Flexibility and efficiency are the key qualities here, where balancing the power grid cost-effectively and helping to deploy a mix of renewable power resources like wind and solar are crucial. The new turbine leads the market in flexibility and efficiency.
Demand is growing for gas turbines: GE also announced today that its aeroderivative and heavy duty gas turbines lines have pulled in more than $1 billion in orders and commitments for projects throughout North America since January this year. That popularity reflects a shift toward natural gas for energy generation. According to the Financial Times, Credit Suisse analysts project that a full 25% of power generation capacity additions in the next five years will be gas power plants, a figure which would boost orders for gas turbines by 50%.
* Trademark of the General Electric Company