H System takes road trip

GE Energy’s first 7H gas turbine has completed testing and is on its way to the Inland Empire Energy Center near Riverside, California.

GE Energy’s first 7H gas turbine has completed testing and is being moved to the Inland Empire Energy Center, California, the commercial launch site for GE’s 60-hertz H System technology.

The 7H, the first of two units planned for the 775-megawatt Inland Empire project, was shipped from GE’s Greenville, South Carolina facility on September 15. The 696,000-pound machine was loaded onto a special rail car for a 260-mile journey to the port of Charleston, South Carolina, where it was placed aboard a vessel for a six-week voyage through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, California. From there, the 7H will have a one-week road trip to the Inland Empire Energy Center in Romoland, near Riverside, arriving at the project site in early November.

The world’s first combined-cycle platform with the capability to reach 60+ percent thermal efficiency, the H System is said to be a key component of GE ecomagination, a corporate-wide initiative to develop and market technologies that will help customers address environmental challenges.

Operating on natural gas, GE said in a statement that the two GE 107 H combined-cycle units at Inland Empire will produce enough power to supply nearly 600,000 households while reducing future carbon dioxide emissions by more than 146,000 tons a year, compared to a typical gas-fired power plant of a similar size. The new power plant is expected to enter commercial service by the summer of 2008, in time to help offset state-forecasted energy shortfalls in Southern California.

‘The shipment of our first 7H is an exciting milestone in the journey on the road to commercial operation for our most advanced 60-hertz gas turbine,’ said John Reinker, general manager of gas turbine and combined-cycle products for GE Energy. ‘Southern California, with its strong focus on finding more efficient and cleaner methods to meet its growing power requirements, is an ideal place to showcase our latest technology.’

GE will finance and own the Inland Empire Energy Center. Calpine Power Services will manage plant construction, and Calpine Energy Services will market the plant’s output and manage fuel requirements under a long-term marketing arrangement with GE. Following an extended period of GE ownership, Calpine expects to purchase the plant and become its sole owner and operator, with GE continuing to provide critical plant maintenance services under a long-term agreement with Calpine.

Representing a technology breakthrough for the global power industry, GE’ says the H System features an innovative steam cooling system that enables the higher firing temperatures required for increased efficiency. In addition, GE engineers designed the H turbines’ first-stage buckets and nozzles with single-crystal materials to withstand higher temperatures over a long service life.