CA-Black-Transp

New GE Innovation Center Will Showcase Latest Technologies of Coal-fired Steam Power Plants


 GE Power announced plans to convert its 242 megawatt (MW) coal-fired Birchwood Power facility in King George, Virginia, into a Steam Plant Services Innovation Center. The center, which provides sufficient electricity to power more than 240,000 homes, is to become a showcase for how the latest GE technologies can increase the efficiency and flexibility of coal-fired steam power plants, while also reducing emissions, the company said.

The new showcase will combine GE’s full suite of Digital Power Plant for Steam software solutions and align with GE’s global Powering Efficiency Center of Excellent (COE) initiative. The COE provides customers with total plant solutions to upgrade their existing generation equipment.

“Transitioning the Birchwood power facility into a GE Steam Plant Services Innovation Center aligns with the Powering Efficiency COE initiative and builds on GE’s commitment to modernizing the steam power industry,” said Paul McElhinney, president and chief executive officer of GE’s Power Services. “We are investing in this innovation center to not only better the plant itself but to illustrate to the world what gains are possible in this sector when you combine digital and hardware solutions with technical know-how.”

Birchwood Power facility is jointly owned by GE Power Services and J-Power USA Development Co. Ltd. On May 1, GE’s Power Services assumed the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) services contract at the plant. As part of its suite of services, GE is installing its advanced digital solutions that will equip plant O&M technicians at this site with new opportunities for process and productivity improvements by leveraging machine and sensor data, analytics and boiler optimization technologies across the entire plant. By making improvements from the fuel supply, within the boiler, and across the balance of plant, there is potential to incrementally impact efficiency, flexibility, availability, while reducing emissions, outage and maintenance costs. Installation is planned for August.

“We are seeing rapid adoption of lower carbon electricity generation the world over. However, the evolution to a lower emission energy future is still likely to take a generation or more," said Ganesh Bell, chief digital officer, GE Power. “In the interim, the Innovation Center at Birchwood will enable us to demonstrate how to make coal a dramatically more efficient, flexible and lower emission fuel source through the use of advanced engineering, software and analytics.”

GE’s Powering Efficiency COE initiative aims to help customers with coal-fired power plants optimize their operations, improve plant efficiency and reduce emissions with the combination of advanced hardware and digital offerings. The COE aligns with GE’s recent Ecomagination study that found CO2 emissions from the world’s steam fleet can be reduced by 11% when existing hardware and software solutions are fully applied. This reduction in CO2 is equivalent to removing 250 million U.S. cars from the road.