GE launches world’s first two-stage turbocharged gas engine

General Electric

Responding to growing global demand for high-efficiency power generation, GE has developed the world’s first two-stage turbocharged gas engine and is applying this game-changing technology to its Jenbacher J624 gas engine. The new engine provides significant output and efficiency increases compared to the single turbocharged version and is particularly well-suited for operation in hot environments and combined heat and power (CHP) applications.

It was introduced at an official product launch event held today at GE’s gas engine headquarters in Jenbach, Austria, which more than 35 customers and distributors attended. Representatives from the pilot customer for the first new engine, Red Harvest, a large Dutch greenhouse plant operator, also attended the event.

"We are proud to be the pilot customer for this new J624 gas engine with two-stage turbocharging," says Jaap Noordam, owner of Red Harvest. "The new engine not only provides us with higher efficiency, but also offers us higher flexibility for our CHP operations."

With the new system, which GE developed with specialists from ABB Turbo Systems Ltd, the J624 achieves approximately 10 percent higher output, increasing from 4 megawatts (MW) to 4.4 MW and offers an electrical efficiency of 46.5 percent, an increase of about 1 percentage point. Improved efficiency is critical for the competitive cost of electricity and for the reduction of CO2 emissions in a carbon-constrained environment.

“With this technology breakthrough, GE continues to lead innovation in gas engines and has become the first gas engine manufacturer using two-stage turbocharging technology, enabling us to offer our customers significant performance improvements. While this technology initially is being applied to our largest gas engine, the J624, eventually it will be offered with other engines in our portfolio,” said Prady Iyyanki, CEO of gas engines for GE Power & Water.

Introduced by GE in 2007, the J624 is the world’s first 24-cylinder gas engine for commercial power generation, used in various applications.

“The J624 two-stage turbocharged is a real-game changer, especially for applications in countries with hot and humid conditions,” Iyyanki added. “The advanced boost pressure allows us to significantly push the gas engine operating range and maintain full output and efficiency at high ambient temperatures and high elevations. We view this enabling technology as a key for future success in the gas engine business.”

The two-stage turbocharging offers a much higher charging efficiency, which significantly contributes to the engine’s overall increased efficiency. In addition to the higher charging pressure, this technology also significantly improves the power density of the engine allowing it to run beyond 22 bar BMEP* (brake mean effective pressure).

Applications for the new two-stage turbocharged gas engine include independent power producers, CHP, trigeneration and special applications using natural gas fuel, as well as a wide range of non-natural gas fuels. The new engine will be available to customers worldwide by the summer of 2011.

* BMEP, Brake Mean Effective Pressure is a quantity used by engineers to compare the performance of different internal combustion engines. It is a valuable measure of an engine's capacity to do work that is independent of engine displacement, thought as the average pressure over a cycle in the combustion chamber of the engine.

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