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GE Introduces J920 Gas Engine For 60 Hz Market

MOU signed for first North America power project utilizing J920 technology; engine helps grid integration of renewables

Posted on June 16, 2014

GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business has launched its 10 MW-class Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engine for the 60 Hz North American segment.

GE has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with independent power producer Sky Global Partners LLC of Houston, Texas, U.S.A., to support the development of the first North American power project featuring GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engine technology. Under the preliminary power purchase agreement, GE will supply Sky Global with six natural gas–fueled J920 FleXtra gas engines.

“The 60 Hz J920 engine is ideally suited to provide utility and industrial customers with fast, reliable on-site power during demand periods and as more renewable energy is added to the grid,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO for GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business. “Our J920 FleXtra gas engines offer best-in-class electrical efficiency of 49% for 60 Hz in simple-cycle, which approaches where a traditional combined-cycle plant can operate. This adds up to significant fuel savings over the life cycle of any plant.”

Featuring a five minute start-up time, the J920 FleXtra is scalable for any plant size and provides enough energy to power more than 6000 U.S. homes, GE said. The J920 provides a capacity of 8.6 MW in the 60 Hz segment, with total efficiency of over 90% for combined heat and power (CHP) applications, the company said. Technological features such as two-stage turbocharging allow the J920 FleXtra to attain up to 2% better electrical efficiency than single-stage turbocharged gas engines and offer faster peak demand response with load-following capabilities.

The 50 Hz version, which began its operations in April 2013, provides 9.5 MW at 1000 r/min; the 60 Hz J920 gas engine can reach 8.5 MW at 900 r/min. “We slowed down a little bit to operate at 60 Hz,” said Scott Nolen, Global Technical Solutions Leader for GE’s Distributed Power business. “We do lose some power but make gains in efficiency.

“The J920 is an excellent building block product – no matter the power requirements, multiple engines can be run in parallel to match that need. There is a lot of operational flexibility built around that, providing power to the grid, meeting local needs and various application requirements. Until the J920, there was a pretty significant gap between our 4.4 MW J624 and our LM1800 at 20 MW. In the past, a lot of projects would have been LM6000 or LM2500 projects in simple-cycle or cogeneration applications. The industry is looking much closer at engines instead of gas turbines. The J920 provides a whole new set of options. We can get these engines up to full power in five minutes, no matter the power requirements. That offers very high flexibility on efficiencies as well: as you come down on load, you can stop engines and keep efficiencies very high,” Nolen said.

The official startup of the 50 Hz version of the J920 FleXtra happened in April 2013, and the engine has run for 4500 hours in cogeneration application (power and heat) in a district heating facility in Rosenheim, Germany.