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Business

May 20, 2017

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General Electric pursues efficient, reliable power generation

General Electric pursues efficient, reliable power generation

BADEN, Switzerland: With world energy demand expected to rise 100 percent by 2050, the need to increase generation capacity has forced power producers like General Electric to pursue more efficient, flexible, and reliable technologies with a focus on sustainable use of resources.

In this regard, GE arranged a three-day media tour to its turbine manufacturing facility in Belfort, France and headquarter in Baden. The media group included journalists from the MENAT region, including Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Turkey, and Pakistan, where GE has a large footprint in terms of gas, fluid, and steam generating units.

At the turbine manufacturing facility, engineers gave an overview of the history of the plant and acquisition of Alstom power in 2016, which helped GE enhance its capabilities from turbines to entire power plants.

As falling oil prices have taken a toll on the resources, GE is now consciously focusing not only on upgrading existing units, but also on units that can generate more electricity in the same amount of fuel.

“The world has, in the last five to six years changed significantly,” said Paul A McElhinney, president and CEO Power Services. “Capital is now scarce, and therefore, our customers are very focused on getting the most out of their existing assets, and trying to increase efficiency with as little investment as possible.”

McElhinney said GE has been in Pakistan for over 40 years, and supports more than 80 percent of the gas and fluid power generation.  On energy crisis in Pakistan, Abdulrahman Khalid, head of engineering Power Services, said Pakistan has load shedding hours of 6-12 hours, depending on the area and GE considers the country an important partner.

Pakistan has an installed base of more than 20 9e turbines manufactured by GE, including three K-Electric turbines, and more in Guddu, Uch, Kapok, Engro Power, Foundation Power and Nandipur.

Khalid said GE has forged with Hubco for plant digitisation and Engro for its partnership on their digital platform PREDIX. GE and Engro are collaborating partners developing new applications that can be designed and sold to customers in Pakistan.

“We want to reach 65 percent efficiency, which is a dream for engineers all over the world for a long time,” he said.

Manuel Volverde, global projects leader Gas Power Systems said, GE is proud of its 9HA Bhikki plant as it is breaking a lot of global records. “It achieved first fire in record time...90 days, saving us 70 days.”

An official, however, attributed this success to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government, which pursued the company to finish the works on time.  Various turbines and generating capacities were explained by engineers and technicians at the Belfort facility with a special focus on the 9HA and 9EMax turbines.

The 9HA.01/.02 accommodates both gas and liquid fuels with wide gas variables like ethane, with generation capacities of up to 429 megawatt and 519MW respectively, a GE’s statement said.

Robert Cowell, senior product manager, Gas Turbine Technology Power Services said the 9EMax is currently being run successfully for an Asian country, however details could not be shared due to commercial concerns. Around six turbine upgrades would be in Asia, two in Eastern Europe, and one new plant would be installed in Africa.

The 9EMax turbine can upgrade existing 9e turbines, by replacements, boosting efficiency by around four percentage points with an output of up to 143MW.  “In simple terms, the 9EMax has been developed in sections, which means the component can easily be added to existing 9e turbines to generate an added 25 megawatt of energy, which can be translated to 25,000 houses,” Colwell added.

GE is not only looking for opportunities to increase its presence in Pakistan, but is already working with various partners.  An official said GE is being approached by three public and private entities, which are looking to upgrade their 9e turbines installed in various provinces of the country. K-Electric has also invited GE to visit its facilities.

The company has a presence in 24 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region and has a one-third share in the global energy production. GE’s wind, gas, and steam-based installations produce 25 percent of Pakistan’s electricity. With the rising number of partnerships, GE’s employee count in the country has increased from 100 to 450.

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