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What GE’s reduced emissions on Mobile Gas Turbines means for energy transition

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GE Gas Power announced in December 2022 that it has deployed an innovative technical solution on four TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines at the California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR’s) sites in Yuba City and Roseville, California.

The solution reportedly reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by more than 90 percent, surpassing World Bank Emissions Standards and meeting California’s most stringent emissions standard requirements. The company said the installations were the first ever implemented on GE mobile TM2500 gas turbines and represents a great leap forward for energy transition.

This GE’s new technical solution for its Mobil Gas Turbines further reduces emissions to low single digits, surpassing the US and World Bank emissions standards, feat on its own.

GE in a statement offers the rationale for this innovation “By responding to emergency needs tied to natural disasters and more needs for power to mitigate expected soaring electricity demand during the winter and summer seasons, or possible power restrictions due to the security of power supply issues, providing energy “in a pinch” is becoming increasingly important in the transition towards a lower-carbon power generation.

GE’s mobile gas power technology, typically used for emergency use, can meet not only the emissions requirements in line with World Bank Standards, but even surpass them and meet the most stringent emissions standard requirements, the company said,

In the State of California, GE developed an innovative technical solution on four TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines deployed at the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) sites in Yuba City and Roseville. The solution reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by over 90 percent, surpassing World Bank Emissions Standards. It marked the world’s first of a kind solution on a GE mobile TM2500. The technology helped lower emissions while supporting the statewide energy grid during extreme climate-driven events including drought or wildfires.

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“GE’s aeroderivative mobile technology, typically used for emergency power, represents a perfect complement to renewable energy and peaking power use cases worldwide,” said Clive Nickolay, CEO of GE Gas Power’s Aeroderivative business line. “We’re excited about GE’s efforts to provide power plant operators with a technical solution that will allow them to quickly install peak power when needed, while drastically reducing NOx and CO emissions levels to low single digits.

The technical solution includes engineering studies for the integration and installation of a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology system—a proven and effective solution to limit post-combustion emissions.

The technology works by removing common emissions through a catalytic converter transforming the nitrogen oxides contained in the exhaust gas into water vapor and nitrogen. The new solution unlocks dramatic enhancements to emissions performance while ensuring the TM2500 can provide reliable, affordable, and lower carbon electricity to the grid.

At Yuba and Roseville, GE worked with the engineering, procurement, and construction company Kiewit Power Constructors Co. to install this world’s first of this kind solution on a GE mobile gas power turbine to solve DWR’s emissions challenge.

The emissions control solution includes 11-meter-high modules and a 22-meter-high stack. Each of the four TM2500 can produce up to 34 megawatts (MW) of electricity for a total of 136 MW and is now equipped with a system to reduce pollutants to 2.5 parts per million, the legal limit set by the state of California.

This solution can also be deplored in Sub-Saharan Africa where access to energy for millions of people is limited. As a result, millions of people especially in Nigeria rely on generators powered by diesel and petrol to generate electricity, worsening emissions in cities.

“Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, and natural gas offers a solution that’s more efficient and flexible to enable the integration of more renewables to the grid and ultimately reduce emissions,” said Nosizwe Dlengezele, Regional Sales Executive for GE Gas Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Our TM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines are installed in countries such as Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana, to provide much needed power because of its enhanced mobility, easy installation and critical grid backup. It also has lower emissions than diesel generators when operating on gas, and the availability of an SCR solution will now enable our customers to further reduce NOx and CO emissions by 90 percent.”

A key feature of the TM2500 units is its fast start ability providing full power in five minutes. This provides utilities and grid operators like California Independent System Operator (CAISO) or the Western Area Power Authority (WAPA) the ability to quickly support the grid in case of emergencies or loss of intermittent power. The quick start capability was successfully put to use when the units were brought online to support a strained statewide energy grid during California’s extreme heat wave on Sept 6, 2022.

GE’s trailer-mounted TM2500 is derived from jet-engine technology powering the world’s airlines and is mounted on a wheeled trailer for ultimate mobility. With more than 20 years of experience and over 300 units installed around the world, GE’s TM2500 is a proven solution for providing a baseload bridge to permanent power installations, or for generating backup/peak power in the wake of natural disasters, plant shutdowns, grid instability or in isolated locations.

GE powers plants that deliver flexible, efficient, and reliable power to millions of people around the world. With almost 70 years of presence in Sub-Saharan Africa, GE has been collaborating with energy stakeholders to deploy innovative technologies tailored to respond to the needs of the Sub-Saharan Africa region with reliable baseload and flexible power. GE delivers across the entire energy ecosystem from generation to transmission and distribution and throughout the region, GE-built technologies are supported by GE local service and maintenance teams working together to help ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy.

Deploying GE’s innovative gas turbine solutions could help Nigeria in its quest to cut emissions as it offers a solution that’s more efficient and flexible to enable the integration of more renewables to the grid and ultimately reduce emissions.

The aeroderivative gas turbines could provide much needed power in underserved areas because of its enhanced mobility, easy installation and critical grid backup especially in a country where the creaking grid is mostly unreliable.