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GE Energy Introduces Upgraded Frame 7FA Gas Turbine

Posted on October 27, 2009

GE Energy has introduced its upgraded Frame 7FA gas turbine to meet growing performance requirements for power plant operators. The upgraded turbine is designed to help power plant operators reduce their total cost of ownership and environmental impact by allowing them to use less fuel to generate power.

The continuing evolution of GE’s gas turbine technology supports a growing industry trend toward the use of natural gas. A recent report by the Colorado School of Mines indicated that following recent discoveries, the United States now has 1,800 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of 320 billion barrels of oil—more than Saudi Arabia’s 264 billion barrels. That available supply, coupled with the current low cost and the fact that natural gas emits less carbon than other fossil fuels, has spurred many power generators to consider switching from other fuels to gas.

A typical power plant operating two new 7FA gas turbines with a single steam turbine in combined cycle configuration would achieve a fuel cost savings of more than $2.1 million per year at a natural gas price of $6 per MMBtu when compared to a similar plant with an earlier version of the 7FA for equivalent net plant output. This updated plant would also avoid the emission of more than 19,000 metric tons of CO2 per year compared to the earlier version, an improvement equivalent to the CO2 emissions of approximately 3,800 cars on U.S. roads. Some of the first new 7FA turbines are planned for the proposed Oakley Generating Station in Oakley, California, U.S.A. The plant, which is projected to generate 586 MW of power, is being developed by Radback Energy, Inc., and is expected to be transferred to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) after it enters commercial operation.

Key regions for the upgraded, 60 Hz 7FA will include North America, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The upgraded 7FA will begin shipping in early 2012 and will be manufactured at GE Energy’s gas turbine facility in Greenville, S.C.

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