Laser melting, or 3D printing, along with the Industrial Internet allows GE to get better products into the market faster through rapid prototyping and iterative development – "that's what we call the Build-Measure-Learn cycle," Eric Gebhardt, CTO/VP Engineering GE Oil & Gas told Gas to Power Journal.
High-temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are under development by Sunfire which can offer highly efficient, low-emission power production using natural gas. “The electrical efficiency is between 35 and 50% depending on the surrounding system design but when off-heat is used as well, overall efficiency can be as much as 85%,” Nils Aldag, founder of Sunfire told Gas to Power Journal.
Hybrid cooling technology that allows gas turbines to operate under more consistent conditions with greater efficiency is being developed by U.S. manufacturer Everest Sciences to target the large scale gas-fired power plants. “Our technology can increase gas turbine hot day available power by up to 30%, while reducing heat rate by up to 10% compared to un-cooled gas turbines,” Eric Warren, director at Everest Sciences told Gas to Power Journal.
Improving the reliability of the combustion process in gas turbines (GT) can potentially save operators tens of millions of euros. "Although failure due to flame instability is extremely rare, a single event can cost in excess of €10 million - so research to improve reliability is vital" Professor Jim Kok, project co-ordinator for the Limousine group told Gas to Power Journal.
Turbine cooling specialist Everest Sciences has announced an order for two of its ECOChill hybrid turbine inlet chilling solutions from energy firm, Kinder Morgan. The company will provide units to chill inlet air on a Solar Taurus 70 and Centaur 40 gas turbine, used as the drivers for a pipeline compression station.
Flexible technology developed by Alstom gives combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants the ability to operate at highest efficiency when at 95% output, allowing for a 5% base load power reserve at times of greater demand. "Our sequential combustion system allows the efficiency peak to be tuned to output, giving operators access to an extra power reserve within the plant base load range in periods of peak load demand or when ancillary services are asked by the electric grid system operator," Arno Stein, Head of Product Promotion at Alstom's gas business told Gas to Power Journal.
The announcement this week that the Peterhead CCS project will share £100 million of funding has paved the way for testing of the first commercial scale gas-fired power plant with CCS in the world. “This research will better understand the implications of long term exposure and operation of classes of carbon capture materials when functioning in the field,” Dr Mathieu Lucquiaud, a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh told Gas to Power Journal.
General Electric (GE) has announced it will extend its ecomagination initiative, investing a further $10 billion over the next six years with a focus on improving turbine efficiency. The programme which aims to develop sustainable products with minimal environmental impact will receive a total of $25 billion by 2020.
Though 3D metal printing is still at an experimental process for testing prototypes, Siemens and GE are gearing up to turn it into a standard technology for rapidly producing industrial parts. Used for producing burner components, 3D metal printing can cut repair times by up to 90% compared to conventional methods, according to Siemens.
Canadian hydrogen developer and manufacturer Hydrogenics Corporation has signed up to take part in a pioneering project in Denmark to convert excess electricity from wind turbines into pipeline-ready natural gas. The €3.7 million project will demonstrate a multi-stage process to take excess wind energy and convert it firstly to hydrogen and then into clean burning methane gas.