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GE Energy is introducing a next-generation, ultra-efficient Jenbacher Type 6 gas engine to help European Union (EU) member states comply with a directive to install new industrial, commercial and residential cogeneration systems that boost energy efficiency while reducing local fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Evaluated in “pilot” combined heat and power (CHP) plants supporting two commercial horticultural greenhouse sites in the Netherlands, GE’s new 6F gas engines recently reached a critical performance milestone of 10,000 operating hours. Even more impressive for customers: the new 3.3-megawatt (MW) 6F units demonstrated an increased output of up to 10 percent and a crucial 1 percent hike in electrical efficiency over existing systems.
For the pilot projects, Netherlands growers Kwekerij Baarenburg and Kwekerij de Kabel B.V. installed GE’s proven Jenbacher standardized greenhouse application (cogeneration with CO2 fertilization) – each powered by a J612 “6F“ unit – to optimize energy efficiency and crop production. The “Baarenburg” greenhouse is commercially cultivating roses, whereas the latter greenhouse previously had installed three of GE’s J616 Jenbacher gas engines at the same location, being a member of the Prominent Growers Association, a leading Netherlands cooperative for tomato growers that has adopted GE’s Jenbacher CHP technology at a number of sites in recent years.
The operators of the “Baarenburg” and “Prominent Kabel“ greenhouses have signed a full customer service contract with GE for the two 6F CHP plants that will cover the units up to their first major overhaul needed at 60,000 operating hours. The units feature electrical efficiency ratings of 44.1 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively.
“The 6F’s commercial launch has come at a perfect time to help horticultural companies and other industries support the energy efficiency standards set by the EU. The advanced technology enables less power generation costs and thus overall lower production costs,” said Lars van Bar, General Manager of Kwekerij Baarenburg, and Richard Hartensveld, General Manager of Kwekerij de Kabel.
The successful evaluation of the 6F is the latest accomplishment for GE’s proven Jenbacher Type 6 engine family. In 2008, GE announced the commercial debut of its four-MW model, the J624, the world’s first 24-cylinder gas engine for commercial power generation, particularly cogeneration.
The 6F design benefitted from GE’s development of the J624 as GE’s engineers were able to adapt the more powerful J624’s optimized combustion system to the new 1,500 rpm Type 6F version engine models.
The key to the 6F’s increased performance is the capability to run the engine at a higher break mean effective pressure of 22 bar due to enabling technologies such as steel pistons with optimized geometry, which have higher peak pressure capability compared to aluminum pistons.
A new-generation turbocharger with a higher pressure ratio allows for optimized valve timing (also known as “Miller”) to further improve combustion, thus pushing the knocking limit. As a result of this optimized combustion, the unburned hydrocarbons are reduced. For customers, these technology advances will translate into savings over the entire life cycle of the engine.
“With the EU’s sustainable energy strategy calling for member states to also install efficient power generation technology, GE’s gas engines are well-suited for a variety of cogeneration applications,” said Prady Iyyanki, CEO of GE Energy’s gas engine business. “The successful introduction of GE’s improved 6F engine reflects the tireless commitment of our entire product development team, in cooperation with key industrial customers, to continually push the boundaries of efficiency, reliability and environmental compatibility.”
GE has tested a number of its engines in several commercial greenhouse CHP plants in the Netherlands, which has established a global reputation as a champion of advanced cogeneration technology, Iyyanki explained.
GE Energy's Jenbacher gas engine business is a leading manufacturer of gas-fueled reciprocating engines, packaged generator sets and cogeneration units for power generation. GE’s gas engine technology covers an output range of 0.25 to four MW and can operate on a broad variety of gases, while offering high levels of efficiency, durability and reliability.