MILAN, IT - On a count of 3-2-1, Paul Browning, CEO of GE Thermal Products and Dr. Celel Metin, CEO of MetCap Energy investments unveiled the FLEXEfficiency 50 combined cycle plant model.

The model was presented to the media at a press conference held during Power-Gen Europe 2011 in Milan, attended by World-Gen.

The MetCap plant is designed to produce the world’s first integrated renewable combined cycle power plant to seamlessly integrate natural gas, wind and solar thermal power. The IRCC plant is engineered by integrating a next-generation 50HZ 9FB gas turbine, a 109D-14 steam turbine, GE's W28 generator, 22 megawatts from GE wind turbines, 50 megawatts from eSolar and a Mark Vie control system linking all the technology.

“As our customers seek to increase their use of renewable energy, the challenge of grid stability sharpens. They are under added pressure to achieve higher levels of efficiency and lower emissions for natural gas power plants.

Paul Browning (r)with Dr. Celel Metin in front
of the IRCC model.

The FLEXEfficiency 50 plant creates an immense growth opportunity in a new segment for our gas turbine technology and is in lock-step with our commitment to build a cleaner energy future,” said Paul Browning.

GE invested over $500 million in research and development to deliver the 510 megawatt plant offering fuel efficiency greater than 61 percent with a 10 percent smaller footprint. It will reduce annual CO² emissions by more than 12,700 metric tons and also avoids 10 metric tons of NOX annually. Under typical operating conditions of 4,500 hours, cost savings of $2.6 million could be realized. It will ramp-up at a rate of more than 50 megawatts a minute, doubling present day rates and is in response to fluctuations in wind and solar power.

GE announced a $170 million investment in a first-of-its-kind full speed, full load test facility in Greenville, SC that will provide factory validation of its new technology.

“With global energy demand expected to double by 2030 and electricity generation accounting for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, utilities and government bodies are taking a hard look at how to produce power more efficiently,” said Ricardo Cordoba, president of GE Energy for Western Europe and North Africa. “This innovation can have a dramatic effect on CO² emissions and offers a nimble, efficient and cost-effective way for us to help E.U. countries in pursuit of 20-20-20 energy goals.”

The power plant will be located in Karaman, Turkey and scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2015. The engineering, procurement and construction services will be provided by Gama Power Systems Engineering and Contracting.

Dr. Celal Metin said: “At MetCap Energy, we believe our projects must simultaneously meet the need for increased energy, environmental responsibility and economic growth, while preserving precious water resources. This power plant will have zero liquid discharge, low emissions and a rapid-response. It accomplishes this using an integrated controls system that provides single-button start for all of the elements of the IRCC power plant.”

Dr. Metin told the press that all permits were secured and ground breaking would take place at the end of 2011. MetCap Energy Investments is part of the Met Group, focused primarily on energy and agricultural investments, established in 1998 with headquarters in Istanbul. MetCap Energy has a proven track record in natural gas and wind projects in Turkey, having developed and invested into more than 2000 MW of energy projects to date. Komet Energy and Verbena Energy are both subsidiaries of MetCap Energy Investments.

“GAMA is very excited to be involved in this first-of-a-kind integrated renewables combined cycle power plant together with GE. We believe this project will set a standard for power generation investments where sunshine and wind is abundant in places like the Middle East,” said Gökhan Inanç, member of the Board of Directors and deputy managing director of Gama Power Systems.

GE and MetCap Energy announced an investment and licensing agreement with eSolar, a provider of concentrated solar thermal tower technology. GE will incorporate eSolar technology and software into its IRCC and stand-alone thermal power plants. eSolar’s technology will be integrated with GE’s FlexEfficiency 50 Combined Cycle technology. FLEXEfficiency 50 can reach more than 61 percent thermal efficiency, with eSolar power tower add-on plant provides the capability to achieve better than 70 percent fuel efficiency.

“We are very excited to partner with GE,” said John Van Scoter, CEO and president of eSolar. “Combining our solar solutions with GE’s thermal power experience and large plant expertise creates a more environmentally responsible power generation solution for power producers worldwide”. eSolar’s power plant technology uses small, flat, pre-fabricated mirrors called heliostats to track the sun and reflect its heat to a tower-mounted receiver. This generates steam used by the plant’s power block to create electricity. Thousands of heliostats are aligned and controlled using advanced software algorithms to precisely focus the sun’s energy. eSolar’s technology is architected to provide modular fields that maximize energy production, and are scalable to meet a wide range of customers’ power deployment.

eSolar was founded in 2007 to develop modular and scalable solar thermal power plant technology. The eSolar solution marries a low-impact, pre-fabricated form factor with advanced computer software engineering to meet the demand for reliable and post-competitive solar energy. eSolar is based in Burbank, CA.

The FlexEfficiency 50 plant is the first product in GE’s new FlexEfficiency portfolio and part of GE’s ecomagination commitment to drive clean energy technology through innovation and R&D investment. The launch follows GE’s recent announcements of the world’s most efficient wind turbine, the highest reported efficiency for thin film solar and $11 billion in acquisitions that strengthen a portfolio supporting natural gas and power transmission.