GE’s new platforms boost efficiency of installed gas turbines

November 18, 2013

  • Portfolios Blend Hardware, Software and Data Analytics to Improve Performance, Asset Life
  • Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) Orders First LifeMax* Advantage Solutions for GE 9E Gas Turbine Fleet
  • GE Surpasses 100 Million Hours of Captured Operating Data on the World’s Largest Gas Turbine Fleet
  • Platforms Support GE’s Predictivity* Portfolio of Solutions That Enable Better Operational Forecasting, Decision-Making

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—Nov. 18, 2013—Two new GE (NYSE: GE) solutions platforms are applying the collective power of hardware innovations, advanced software and data analytics in ways that enable GE customers to unleash the full performance and value of their existing gas turbine assets.

GE’s LifeMax* Advantage (LMA) and FlexEfficiency* Advantage (FEA) portfolios deliver technologies blended through a collaborative process between GE and its customers to identify the solutions that best help them achieve their desired outcomes. GE made the announcement today at its Powering Efficiency Forum, a thought leadership summit focused on meeting future energy efficiency needs in the Middle East. Attendees included key power generation representatives, industry leaders and government officials from across the Gulf region.

“Through our LMA and FEA platforms we’re really tapping into a three-way collaboration among our customers, connected machines around the world and our dedicated team at work,” said Steve Hartman, general manager of life cycle engineering for GE’s Power Generation Services business. “This powerful combination of experience and information can lead our energy industry into a new era of efficiency, cost savings, environmental responsibility and smarter decision-making. The solutions we continue to introduce to our customers are demonstrating how information really can be transformed into tremendous power.”

LMA solutions help GE customers with installed B/E-Class gas turbines reset the clock on their aging assets with custom-fit upgrade packages. The installation of GE’s most advanced hardware and software offerings on this fleet of units, which averages more than 17 years in operation, can significantly extend their life cycle of operation. GE customers also can realize improvements in output, efficiency and reliability with a suite of upgrades that enable B/E-Class units to recapture lost performance and lower operating costs.

GE’s Advanced Gas Path (AGP) solution exemplifies the LifeMax* Advantage in action. This upgrade blends advancements in hot gas path components with OpFlex* model-based control software to deliver industry-leading increases in megawatt (MW) output, fuel efficiency and maintenance intervals. GE’s LMA portfolio also includes a Dry Low NOx1+ (DLN1+) combustion solution, which allows operators to run their gas turbines up to 32,000 hours between scheduled maintenance intervals; a broader suite of OpFlex advanced controls, which help expand operating profiles across all modes of power plant operation; and Flange-to-Flange replacements of core engine components including the compressor and combustion systems to rejuvenate installed gas turbine assets.

Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL), which powers one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters with a 2,350-MW power station, marks the first GE customer to integrate AGP technology into its installed 9E gas turbines. In April 2013, DUBAL installed AGP, along with DLN1+ and OpFlex advanced controls solutions on one GE 9E unit to help expand the performance of its power station’s output, efficiency and maintenance intervals. Since completion of the upgrades, the gas turbine’s output has increased by 3.4 percent, generating an additional 5.88 MW while improving fuel efficiency by approximately 1.5 percent.

Under the same order with GE, DUBAL will upgrade two additional 9E units with these LMA technologies. Across all three units, the site expects to increase its output capacity by 17.64 MW, reduce its fuel use by 1.5 percent and extend its maintenance intervals out to 32,000 hours, the equivalent of approximately an additional year of operation. These performance advancements will help DUBAL increase its aluminium production while also reducing its operating costs.

“Incorporating these new technologies into our power station is central to our long-term strategy of producing aluminium products as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible for our customers,” said Tayeb Al Awadhi, vice president, Power & Desalination. “With a global oversupply of aluminium leading to nearly 20 percent of the industry’s total production sold for little or no profit, our success going forward will depend on increasing our production levels while lowering our operational costs. The solutions GE has customized for our unique power demands will allow us to achieve such levels of efficiency.”

DUBAL also ordered software upgrades including GE’s OpFlex AutoRecover and Peak Fire technologies, along with a Mark* VIe controls upgrade, to drive further output and efficiency improvements while holding down the site’s overall maintenance costs. Installation of all five LMA solutions on DUBAL’s second 9E gas turbine is scheduled for November 2013, with installations on the remaining unit scheduled for 2014.

DUBAL produces more than 1 million metric tons of aluminium products per year in three main forms, namely, foundry alloy for automotive applications, extrusion billet for construction, industrial, forging and transportation and high purity aluminium for the electronics and aerospace industries. The company delivers products to more than 300 customers in at least 57 countries.

To view a video on how DUBAL is expanding the performance and life of its power station with GE’s LMA solutions, please click here.

Other GE customers benefitting from LMA solutions around the globe include Thaioil Energy, in Thailand; S.A. Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa, in Spain; and Great River Energy, in the U.S.

FEA solutions for GE F-Class gas turbine customers are configured to expand performance including output, efficiency and operating windows. GE customers also can benefit from an extension of maintenance intervals, asset and parts life through more durable hardware components and software technology that automate operational adjustments to reduce stresses on parts.

GE’s FEA portfolio includes the AGP solution, which delivers industry-leading increases in MW output, fuel efficiency and maintenance intervals; Dry Low NOx (DLN) combustion technologies and a broader OpFlex suite of solutions, both of which expand the operational flexibility of F-Class gas turbines. GE customers benefitting from FEA solutions include Korea Southern Power Company, Ltd., in South Korea; TransCanada, in Canada; IBERDROLA, in Mexico; and Duke Energy, in the U.S.

Solutions delivered through the LMA and FEA platforms are part of GE’s Predictivity* portfolio. GE Predictivity solutions tap into the power of the Industrial Internet, a combination of mind and machine assets that collectively bring industrial-strength capabilities to GE customers. Predictivity solutions for GE’s power generation customers harness massive volumes of data analyzed from the world’s largest monitored gas turbine fleet to develop solutions that allow them to make more informed operational and business decisions.

In September 2013, GE eclipsed 100 million hours of operational data documented on its globally monitored gas turbine fleet of more than 1,600 units. The insights derived from analysis of this “big data” are being applied to help customers expand their earning power while reducing operational costs and risk. Armed with data-driven insights taken from 100+ physical sensors and 300+ virtual sensors on each gas turbine unit, GE customers can more effectively identify potential barriers before they occur, treat minor issues before they lead to catastrophic events and dynamically adjust performance to improve efficiency and reduce parts wear and tear.

GE is tapping into knowledge gained from this data analysis to develop new technology breakthroughs, both hardware- and software-based, that enable customers to unleash more potential from their existing gas turbine and balance of plant assets. Unlocking the full capacity of a 500-MW power plant could be worth more than $500,000 annually in increased revenue, while a public utility that could reduce its heat rate efficiency curve by 1 percent could save up to $1.25 million dollars annually in fuel costs.

GE’s Predictivity solutions and data-driven insights also are playing an integral role in the development of technology for new gas turbine units. Performance advancements based, in part, on extensive data analytics of GE’s global installed gas turbine fleet are being integrated into GE 9F-3 and 9E new gas turbines units. This process enables GE customers around the world to expand their fleets with new, high-performing gas turbine assets driven by proven technology.

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