“We will have to keep pushing the boundaries of technology”

April 1, 2015 9:26 am0 commentsViews: 114

K(01_2015_We-will-have-to-keep)1States Mariasundaram Antony, General Manager – India Engineering Operations, GE Power and Water, in conversation with Monica Chaturvedi Charna…

Elucidate on GE’s portolio of solutions in the power and energy domain.
GE has one of the most diverse portfolio, ranging from solutions around heavy duty gas turbines, renewable energy, water and latest technology solutions – GE is committed to and aims to provide an array of complete solutions based on the evolving needs of its customers.

What are GE’s plans with regard to penetrating the solar energy sector?
While GE is not engaged in manufacturing the
modules, we do have a role to play in the realm of solar energy. We provide the total electric balance of plant solutions (EBoP), whether it is around inverters, substations, transformers, SCADA system, etc. In a nutshell, anything which is associated with a module is taken care of by us.

Do you have any plans of making the solar panels yourself, in the near future?
We do have a collaboration with First Solar, a module manufacturer who has licenced

GE’s technology. Beyond that there are no immediate plans of manufacturing panels. GE does not have a prominent presence in the domain of coal-fired plants. Is this a conscious decision?
GE’s steam turbine technology, which is  suited for fossil based power plants as well as nuclear and gas turbine based plants, is one of the oldest. Currently, the overall focus in the market and that of the industry is around harnessing the green energy, through increased usage of natural gas and liquid fuels, which cause lower emissions compared to a coal based power plant. We also have the integrated gasification  combined cycle technology to turn coal into gas, which is then used in our turbines. This plant is in the state of Indiana (US). We also sell our coal gasifi cation technology in China.

What are the benefi ts of using the integrated gasifi cation combined cycle (IGCC) technology?
The benefi t of using the IGCC technology is that instead of burning the coal directly in a boiler and subsequently using the steam for working the steam turbine, we convert the coal into gas, thereby bringing the emissions down considerably. This is what makes the technology so environment friendly. However, there need to be in place the entire gasifi cation system combined with a combine cycle gas turbine to execute the whole thing. The challenge is that the investment made in an IGCC plant is much higher than a coal based power plant, which acts as a deterrent.

Besides generation, what solutions are you providing on the transmission and distribution (T&D) front?
Our GE energy management business is focussed on solutions right from evacuation of power all the way to the end consumer. Talking about smart grids – it is a system of systems which has to be applied at a very big level to yield results. Also, everything has to work in symphony in a smart grid system.

The bigger focus of GE currently, is on onshore wind energy. On off shore, we did have some initial implementation some years back. Considering the level of focus on onshore, I can say that it will continue to be so in the future as well.

After the 1.7 MW -103M wind turbine, what would be next from GE’s kitty on the wind energy front?
In terms of the market needs, we will have to keep pushing the boundaries of technology, by evolving technologies for extracting more energy. This puts some limitations with regard to the size of the blades and how we put the entire assembly of turbines to give maximum output. Going further, the need of the customer will be more on having a higher annual energy production (AEP) and improved capacity factor. So, we shall strive to meet these requirements in the best possible manner.

Any substantial plans for off shore wind energy generation?
The bigger focus of GE currently, is on onshore wind energy. On off shore, we did have some initial implementation some years back. Considering the level of focus on onshore, I can say that it will continue to be so in the future as well.

GE TechnoGloEgi eT
During a visit to GE’s JFWTC R&D site, PowerWatch India spoke to GE’s team of specialists handling power and electrial technologies and systems. Here is a sneak peek into some of their technologies that are creating ripples in the wind power market.

1.7-103 wind turbine
The 1.7-103 wind turbine has been developed and engineered specifi cally for India’s low wind speed conditions. For wind farm operators, the turbine’s large 103-meter rotor are designed to help deliver high-effi ciency output and attractive project economics. It also promises to provide a 30 per cent increase in annual energy production compared to its redecessor, 1.6-82.5. GE claims that a 100 MW wind farm powered by 1.7-103 turbines can  enerate electricity required to fulfi ll the needs of 413,000 Indian homes per year and off set carbon emissions of 291,000 T CO2 per year. This turbine uses GE’s evolutionary technology platform and is based on the success of the 2,000 GE wind turbines installed globally.

GE Durathon battery
The Durathon battery is a proprietary of GE and is sodium based, unlike most other batteries in the market. It is engineered to meet the growing need for safer, reliable and high-performance energy storage solutions for stationary and motive applications. For wind and PV developers, the battery energy storage systems capture and store energy when it‘s produced and discharge during peak demand times. Backed by Durathon, operators can bid more confi dently in the next day‘s market knowing any temporary shortfall caused by low wind or sun can be counteracted by the battery system. – Monica Chaturvedi Charna

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