Flexible Fuel Solutions

The fluctuating energy landscape continues to drive the need for greater efficiency and flexibility. As power plant operators look to implement the power generation technology of tomorrow, they are turning to gas turbines that operate on a wide range of alternative gas and liquid fuels.

Leveraging more than 50 years of experience in fuel research, testing and integration, GE has developed gas turbine technology that lowers emissions, reduces wear and tear and outperforms comparable technologies in both efficiency and reliability. GE has the largest fleet of gas turbines that operate on non-traditional fuels and has surpassed 2 million fired-hours on low carbon-intensity fuels.

Improving Performance and Availability

The popularity of crude and residual oils, commonly known as heavy fuel oils, continues to rise as growing energy demands are met with often-limited fuel supplies. As a result, power producers are trading the once popular subcritical steam boiler technology for GE's high-performing gas turbine technology. This cost-effective solution increases availability and performance while providing the flexibility needed to adapt to individual requirements.

Utilizing Potentially Abundant Energy Sources

GE’s heavy duty gas turbines also have the capability to operate on industrial gases. Industrial processes generate by-product streams called “off gas” or “net gas,” which mix together to constitute the fuel gas network of the plant. Continuous-flow machines with robust designs and universal combustion systems allow the turbine to capture these gases to produce power.


Key Benefits

GE offers flexible fuel solutions with the following advantages:

  • The ability to operate on more than 50 different fuels, including crude oil, ethanol, hydrogen, and biodiesel
  • Improved power generation performance with less wear and tear on the turbine
  • Lower emissions and higher efficiency than comparable technologies
  • Continued enhancements to ensure high availability and reliability of GE’s gas turbines
  • The flexibility to operate in a variety of application spaces, including refineries, steel mills, and other petrochemical plant facilities
  • The capability to operate in a wide range of power applications, such as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)

How It Works

About 90% of today’s gas turbines operate on high-quality natural gas fuel or imported liquefied natural gas. Some countries have an abundance of raw crude, and produce light distillate or heavy residual fuel oil from refining operations. GE’s gas turbines give owners/operators the ability to utilize low value fuel alternatives.

Treatment systems pre-condition alternative energy resources to meet stringent gas turbine fuel quality requirements. Heating, cleaning, blending and pressurization of the fuel removes most harmful contaminants and pre-conditions the fuel for proper combustion. With heavier liquid crudes and residual oils, additives are applied to inhibit or mitigate the corrosive effects of trace metal contaminants.

For operations with low heating value gas fuel, changes to fuel delivery and distribution systems - typically through enlarged piping and control valves - are implemented to accommodate high volumetric flow. For heavy fuel oil, high pressure air converts liquid fuel into fine spray droplets for efficient combustion.