With the release today of GE’s ecomagination annual report, now is a great time to explore the first five additions in 2011 to the ecomagination product portfolio. The list includes some heavy lifters, some technology with a purely environmental objective, and some software too. To qualify as an ecomagination offering, a product must bring both a significant boost in value to the customer, and a considerable benefit to the environment. These five passed with flying colors and now will be added to GE’s portfolio of more than one hundred ecomagination products, services and systems.
Function: More energy-efficient power plant, integrates renewable sources into grid
Jet Engine technology contributes to this innovative approach to power plant design, which these days needs to be more flexible to make room on the grid for alternative power sources such as wind and solar. GE’s FlexEfficiency system enables gas turbines to efficiently ramp up and ramp back down in order to adapt to shifts in demand and shifts in renewable energy generation, as wind picks up and dies down or the sun doesn’t shine.
Business: Energy-Oil & Gas
Function: Increase compressor efficiency for underground CO2 storage
This technology operates on the straightforward idea of taking the exhaust from a fossil fuel power plant, compressing it and pumping it underground. No harm, no foul, the carbon dioxide is sequestered deep in the earth, and no longer a contribution to the greenhouse effect and global warming. GE’s system can draw less energy from a power plant’s output than a traditional compressor train in these carbon storage applications.
3 – Clean Cycle
Function: Small-scale power generation system that runs on “waste” heat
CleanCycle is like a mini-recycling plant: it captures wasted heat in reciprocating engines, biomass boilers and micro turbines and either recycles it back into those machines or stores it for sale back to the grid. As a result, there is additional power output without any additional fuel use.
4 – AC44i South American Locomotive
Function: 20% More Fuel-efficient South American freight train
The AC44i applies AC individual-axle traction-control technology that allows a single locomotive to haul heavier loads. Since the AC44i is more fuel efficient than its counterparts in South America by as much as 20%, a typical South American customer using four AC44i locomotives to haul a load that would have required five older GE locomotives can reduce emissions by more than 1,710 metric tons of CO2 annually.
Function: Software that supports utility repair and maintenance staff in the field with maps and supporting data
MapFrame software is built to help the guy or the gal in the truck who’s working for the electric, gas or telecom utility, connecting power, investigating gas leaks, or building new facilities. Without MapFrame software to let them know exactly what they’re working with and how extensive the problems might be, they’re back in the dark ages with printed and bound paper maps. MapFrame systems not only boost safety for utility staff and productivity for the client, but provide for higher customer service in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Environmental benefits come via improved worker efficiency, fewer miles driven, as well the savings in wood pulp, printing and distribution costs of paper maps.