GE Gas Power upgrade of EGA gas turbines to cut GHG emissions

By Becky Schultz23 May 2022

GE Gas Power (GE) has signed an agreement with Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA), a premium aluminum producer, to upgrade four of EGA’s existing GE 9F gas turbines at its Al Taweelah power plant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reducing the facility’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity and contributing toward achieving the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

EGA is the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) outside of oil and gas and currently has captive power plants at both Al Taweelah and Jebel Ali to meet its electricity needs. It is the currently the biggest electricity generator in the UAE after the Dubai and Abu Dhabi utilities.

GE’s Advanced Gas Path (AGP) upgrade on the four 9F gas turbines will be the first time the technology is applied to F-class gas turbines in the UAE. (Photo: Emirates Global Aluminium)

EGA chose to upgrade the gas turbines at its Al Taweelah plant despite plans to sell its electricity generation assets in the UAE. “At EGA, we are committed to embedding sustainability in everything we do. This includes improving the efficiency of our current captive natural gas-fired electricity generation fleet even though we plan to divest these assets and instead source the power we need from the grid,” stated Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, chief executive officer of EGA, in announcing the agreement. “We are pleased to work with GE to further upgrade the Al Taweelah power plant and contribute to reducing the carbon intensity of electricity generation in the UAE.”

GE’s Advanced Gas Path (AGP) upgrade on the four 9F gas turbines will include hardware and software improvements to drive operational flexibility and increase output, efficiency and availability. According to GE, it will be the first time the technology is to be applied to F-class gas turbines in the UAE, following successful implementation on six smaller E-class turbines in the country.

GE will also use a new approach to outages on its 9F fleet, marking a global first. The “Live Outage” concept to be used is a digitized platform that replaces the paper-based approach, which the company says reduces the risk of mistakes or rework and speeds up the outage process for customers.

Once work is complete, power output from the four turbines is expected to increase by up to 72 MW for the same amount of fuel consumed. From the previous power output of 920 MW, GHG emissions will be reduced by up to 74000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of removing more than 16000 cars from UAE roads.

Under the service agreement, GE will provide repairs, maintenance and parts for 10 of the 9F gas turbines, 10 generators and other equipment at the plant. The collaboration represents a continuation of the services that GE has already been providing at the site since production began in 2009. EGA and GE also recently announced that they would develop a roadmap to reduce GHG emissions from the operation of EGA’s existing GE natural gas turbines by exploring hydrogen as a fuel, as well as carbon capture, utilization and storage solutions.

“We are honored to collaborate with EGA to further enhance the performance of the Al Taweelah power plant,” said Joseph Anis, President & CEO of GE Gas Power Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Billions of dollars have been invested in the existing installed base of gas power generation assets in the UAE and around the world. This equipment often has lifespans of 20 to 40 years and will not all simply be retired. However, upgrade solutions such as the AGP offer a practical means to reduce the carbon footprint of the installed base in as little time as a few months.

“They also enable gas infrastructure to continue to play a critical role in the energy transition,” he continued, “by complementing variable renewable energy resources with reliable, flexible, on-demand power that can help with grid stabilization.”

Today, up to 300 GE-built units support up to 40% of the UAE’s power generation. The company also maintains the Jebel Ali Service Center in Dubai, which provides state-of-the-art maintenance, testing and repair solutions for generators and gas turbines.

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