Published on October 11th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown3
Now Available in 60 Hz, GE Offers Natural Gas Plant Aimed to Combine Efficiency & Adjustability
GE is now offering a 60 Hz version of its FlexEfficiency 50 combined cycle natural gas power plant for use in the United States, Japan, and the Middle East — 60 Hz is the frequency of the power that these countries use. It was originally available in 50 Hz for countries that used 50 Hz power such as China, Europe, and others.
Last year, GE announced the invention of this combined cycle natural gas power plant, which is capable of adjusting its power production by an impressive 50 MW (50,000 kw) per minute, and it also maintained 60% efficiency when turned down to 40% of its generation capacity.
The power plants can also start in 30 minutes.
Natural gas power plants can either be quickly adjustable and inefficient, or efficient but slow to adjust. Unfortunately, a combination of both qualities was not an option until recently.
This type of power plant is important because it can efficiently and quickly back up wind farms and solar power stations by scaling up power production when wind speeds slow down or when the weather is cloudy or night is approaching.
How Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plants Work
Combined cycle natural gas power stations, in general, operate using both a natural gas–burning turbine and a steam turbine. The heat generated by the natural gas turbine is used to boil water, which then produces the steam required to drive the steam turbine, effectively putting otherwise wasted heat to use to generate even more electricity without using any additional fuel.
These are by far the most efficient fossil-fueled power plants in the world.
Source: Technology Review