Boosting grid stability through LM2500XPRESS gas turbine technology

While a full turn to renewables is not yet on the cards, a combination with natural gas and hydrogen could be a green and cost-efficient step in the right direction.

As COP27 kicked off and delegates arrived from around the world to join the talk this month in Egypt, it is a pivotal moment for global action for climate change under multiple crises, including the war in Ukraine, high inflation, and an energy crunch.

Vietnam, with its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, is determined by its plan to stop developing new coal projects and reduce reliance on coal power. Gas plays a key part in this as the greenest non-renewable alternative and fuel of choice until the infrastructure, technology, and financing schemes are developed for renewables – and will likely stay a complement long into the future. The PDP8 targets significant growth in gas energy capacity from 7GW in 2020 to 39.4GW by 2030 and reach the cap of 46.9GW by 2035.

boosting grid stability through lm2500xpress gas turbine technology

World-class tech to drive green transition

A reliable network based on renewables needs to be able to produce a surplus during peak production times and have sufficient battery storage to keep this for slower production cycles. As neither the technology nor the infrastructure is available just yet for a grid to operate on renewables alone, gas turbines offer the necessary flexibility to firm up the intermittent supply.

GE’s gas turbine fleets already play an important role in Vietnam’s energy transition. In May 2021, the company announced its very first order for H-class gas turbines in the market, for PV Power’s Nhon Trach 3 and 4 power plants. Once operational, the plants will deliver 1.6GW of electricity and will be the first power plants fueled by liquefied natural gas in the country.

The project is expected to open up a new chapter for gas power generation in Vietnam by bringing in GE’s world-leading 9HA turbines, offering unparalleled efficiency and flexibility to power producers.

In early 2022, GE also reported an order of 6 of its advanced aeroderivative gas turbine, the LM2500XPRESS to Taiwan Power Company. With the capability to start in 5 minutes or even less, these units can perform daily starts and stops to complement fluctuating renewable power production.

GE LM2500XPRESS power plant, built on GE’s proven LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine technology, is 95 percent factory assembled into simplified modules, providing a “plug and play” concept for fast and easy site installation. For plant operators who need power in just days, the LM2500XPRESS can be installed in as little as two weeks with a minimal crew.

The flexibility and responsiveness provided by the new turbines will facilitate Taiwan’s ambitions to expand renewables in its energy mix to 25 per cent by 2025. Additionally, with the addition of topline emissions reduction technology, NOX and CO2 emissions can be reduced by as much as 90%, thus allowing power producers to bring down emissions significantly.

“GE’s LM2500XPRESS is able to support the diversification into fast, flexible, more efficient gas technologies that will help balance the electricity grid, meet future demand, and support the increased use of renewable solar and wind power.” Stated by Ramesh Singaram, President & CEO GE Gas Power Asia. “It is also one of the suitable solutions for countries eager for fast, flexible and sustainable power, like Vietnam”, he added.

Like Taiwan, Vietnam’s draft PDP8 has also recognized the necessity of flexible adjustments to ensure the stable operation of the power system with a high ratio of renewable sources, with targeted total capacity reaching 8.4 GW in 2035, accounting for about 3,6 percent of the total installed capacity.

Across Asia, around 317 GE’s aeroderivative turbines have been installed and supporting power plants’ operators to manage power shortages, stabilize the grid and speed up the integration of renewables.

Low-carbon alternative to stabilize renewables

“By operating on low- and zero-carbon fuels like hydrogen, combined with carbon capture and sequestration technologies, modern gas turbines, whether it is heavy duty or aeroderivative, can achieve low or near zero carbon generating footprint,” said Ramesh Singaram, President & CEO GE Gas Power “For instance, our LM2500 family of aeroderivative gas turbines have over 6 million operating hours using fuels with hydrogen concentrations reaching up to 95 per cent.”

Hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize major carbon emitting sectors such as power, heat generation and transport. It is an abundant, clean and flexible resource and there are various convincing use cases in the world, led by Japan, Australia and South Korea. It has also been proved that it is possible to retrofit GE natural gas turbines for hydrogen burning, opening up exciting decarbonization options for power producers.

The company has amassed more experience in operating gas turbines running on hydrogen than any other OEM, according to the latest McCoy Power Report. GE has over 100 turbines supporting power generation with hydrogen and associated fuels around the world and its combustion technologies are capable of operating on hydrogen concentrations of up to 100 per cent (by volume).

Innovation and partnerships to pave the way

Sustainable transformation in the energy industry requires cohesive efforts backed by all stakeholders, from forward-thinking producers to innovation-led OEMs and politic policymakers.

Driven by policies and a vision combining long-term economic growth with positive environmental impact, Vietnamese has seen the rapid expansion of solar and onshore wind in the past years through a beneficial feed-in tariff (FIT) mechanism. This has made Vietnam one of the top 10 in terms of installed solar capacity in 2020 with 16.5GW. The country’s net-zero commitment by 2050 is also setting significant political capital in support of renewables development.

“GE have been participating in the dialogue currently taking place on Vietnam’s energy transition. We see great will both on the parts of power producers and the government and stand ready to support their ambitions with cost-effective and efficient solutions to complement the blossoming renewable energy development,” said Ramesh Singaram.

The company recently organized a series of discussions with key stakeholders in Vietnam’s energy sector, both public and private, with the aim to share the latest technology development of fast and flexible power options, and how it could help Vietnam accelerating its goal of enabling the integration of increasing amounts of renewables.

PV

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