If you’ve ever flown in a commercial jet, you’ve probably sat within a hundred feet of a running gas turbine engine. Since the 1940s, gas turbines have been used to power aircraft. However, gas turbines, such as those found in airplanes, are also used to generate electricity. These designs, known as aero-derivative gas turbines, have a unique place in the power market.
Benefits of Mobile Aero-derivative Gas Turbines for Power Generation
What is an Aero-derivative gas turbine?
Because of their dependability, efficiency, and flexibility, aero-derivative gas turbines are popular. They are significantly lighter, respond faster, and have a smaller footprint than their heavy-duty counterparts, making them ideal for temporary use and applications requiring mobility.
Optimal for high-level goal
“When you look at the industry’s high-level goals in terms of decarbonization, grid resilience, resource adequacy, and affordability, aero-derivatives fit perfectly in all of those categories,” says Harsh Shah, vice president of sales and business development at Mitsubishi Power Aero. Mitsubishi offers power generation solutions ranging from 30 MW to 140 MW, and we see very strong demand for these products all over the world—in developed and developing countries, whether it’s industrial, utilities, independent power producers, or captive power producers.”
The main reason for the demand is that when customers need quick-turnaround power solutions and cannot wait years between signing a contract and having the power come online, aero-derivatives are frequently the best option. When time is of the essence, the aero-derivative solution is critical.
Mitsubishi Power Aero (previously PW Power Systems; the company rebranded in April 1) collaborated with Mexico’s state-owned power utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), to add 150 MW of generation to help meet summer demand in Mexicali, Baja California.
MOBILEPAC units are trailer-mounted, very mobile, and very compact units that do not require any site preparation, such as a concrete foundation or any other site work. “We had power up and running within 110 days of signing the contract.”
Another advantage of aero-derivative gas turbines is their ability to rapidly transition from completely cold to full power. Aero-derivatives provide a very unique value proposition to our customers, as we would be fully operational in less than 10 minutes, pushing the envelope to lower and lower times—five minutes and so on.”
Flexibility is also an important characteristic. “This is flexibility from various perspectives.” You might have some leeway in terms of ramp rates—how quickly you can go up and down. This is especially important as renewables become more prevalent on the global grid. You need solutions that can cover you when the sun goes down or the wind dies. As a result, the ramp up, ramp down, and quick responsiveness provide the much-needed flexibility.”
Furthermore, we gain flexibility due to multifuel capability—whether you use gas or liquid fuel. You can also choose between dual frequencies of 50 and 60 hertz. The final aspect of flexibility that I will discuss is very high power density. The efficient use of land is critical, and the high power density of our solutions is creating a lot of interest.”
Technology for GE aeroderivative and heavy-duty gas turbines
In the power generation industry, GE’s technological heritage is unrivaled. We’ve used material science innovations from our aviation heritage to improve performance at high firing temperatures over the last 60 years. We were the world’s first gas turbine manufacturer and supplier to introduce single-crystal alloys, and we’ve spent the last 15 years developing ceramic matrix composites. GE, the industry leader in unconventional gas combustion, introduced the first F-class gas turbine to use Arabian Super Light crude.
Furthermore, we developed the Dry Low NOx (DLN) combustion system to reduce emissions more than 30 years ago, and it is still in use today. These advancements result in increased power and efficiency, lowering lifecycle costs and increasing profitability for our customers. We continue to let innovation drive our company’s product development, generating technology improvements and never-before-seen breakthroughs in gas turbine technology through a global exchange of knowledge, ideas, and tools known as the GE Store.
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