Keeping technology running

Traditionally, data centers have run using local grids with backup diesel generators, because an outage could cost a business millions of dollars. It is estimated that data centers are responsible for about 1% of all electricity consumed worldwide. As technologies grow, so does the demand for data storage, which leaves a significant carbon footprint.

Gas turbines and power modules offer stable, cost-effective solutions for data centers’ regular and emergency power needs. These systems require less space than traditional diesel generators, are easily installed and scalable, and produce fewer emissions while increasing a data center’s uptime and efficiency.

Gas power can also be integrated into hybrid data center DC architectures. In these configurations, gas generators and renewable energy- or energy storage-powered generators work together as a reliable, dispatchable power source that can help meet a data center’s needs while continuing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The evolution of today's data center

Technology has come a long way since the 1990s, so it's only natural that data centers have, too. The first data centers (what we call Tier 1 and Tier 2) were 1-10 MW in size, and were grid connected with diesel genset backups. Starting in 2010, there was a shift to so-called hyperscale data centers (Tiers 3 and 4), topping out at 100MW and featuring grid connectivity with greener options for backups like fuel cells and natural gas generators. But what about the data centers of today (and tomorrow?) These Tier 5+ data centers are larger than ever, around 250MW, feature self generation for grid support, as well as heat recovery for cooling and heating, and can be run on hybrid power solutions. With new efficiencies and business models emerging for data centers, it's time to look at new ways to power them, too.

Data centers require dependable emergency backup power

Data centers need reliable backup power to protect critical data. Data center downtimes can mean major access problems translating to huge revenue losses for businesses. Outages can also damage important equipment, threatening a return to normal function. Immediate, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that incorporate backup power, power switching control, and generator synchronization management are essential to avoid these costly and damaging downtimes and increase efficiency.

Modular and containerized backup power systems that employ gas turbines and power modules – as well as hybrid modules that integrate gas with renewables and/or energy storage technologies – solve the need for dependable backup power. These systems can be installed quickly and provide sufficient standby power to keep data center operations running in the event of an outage on the main power source.

The power of aeros

From higher efficiency and lower costs to faster, cleaner, higher quality power generation, aeroderivative gas turbines have many advantages over reciprocating engines, especially when it comes to data center operations. For example four LM2500XPRESS turbines can provide the same amount of power as 25 diesel generators—with a significantly smaller footprint. And when it comes to maintenance cycles, there's no competition: would you prefer to spend around 1,500 hours maintaining seven aeroderivative units or 150,000 hours keeping 20 reciprocating engines up to speed? Additionally, aero gas turbines' lower emissions are equivalent of taking 72,000 cars off the road annually, making them a greener choice.

GE’s portfolio of gas turbines for data centers

GE's aeroderivative gas turbines are known for their high efficiencies, low emissions, durability, and high reliability. Our gas turbines run on natural gas or a variety of other gases including biogas, landfill gas, steam, sewage gas, and combustible industrial waste gases. These gas turbines can ramp up to full power (and back down) in under five minutes and are capable of up to 90% total efficiency.

TM2500 mobile aeroderivative gas turbine

Recommended for mobile power applications available within three months and fast-track or short-term duration projects, the TM2500 50 Hz and 60 Hz solutions have a 33.6 MW average power output and 36.7% average net efficiency.

Its start time for a simple cycle is less than 5 minutes, and its ramp rate is 20MW/minute. The TM2500 is mobile and easy to transport, making it relocatable if project requirements change. Its small block size allows good part-power turndown and efficiency, and it supports reliable integration with renewables and mine grid stability with optional clutchless synchronous condensing.

LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine

The LM2500 is the most reliable aeroderivative gas turbine in the world, featuring reliability consistently above 99.8%. 

Recommended for combined cycle, onshore and offshore power generation, mechanical drive, and cogeneration, the LM2500 power plants feature 21-34 MW simple cycle output, up to 38.5% efficiency and accommodate a wide variety of fuels. It also comes with optional clutch-less synchronous condensing.

LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbine

Great for helping to meet needs where flexible power is required quickly and efficiently, the LM2500XPRESS 50 Hz and 60 Hz power plants feature a 34 MW simple cycle power output and up to 39% simple cycle efficiency.

Its start time for a simple cycle is fewer than 5 minutes, and its ramp rate is 30 MW/minute. The LM2500XPRESS is a modular and scalable, prefabricated, skid-mounted, pre-commissioned solution with reduced on-site installation and commissioning and a zero gas turbine water consumption requirement.

LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine

The LM6000 allows you to operate on a wide variety of fuels—including natural gas, LPG (propane and butane), isopentane, ethanol, diesel, and Coke Oven gas.

This allows you to quickly switch between fuels to save money, all without stopping or a reduction in power. It has a 45-58 MW net power output and up to 41.3% net efficiency. Its start time for a simple cycle is less than 5 minutes, and its ramp rate is 50 MW/minute. The LM6000 offers 99%+ start and operational reliability, alongside 98% availability. Its fast start allows operators to differentiate their dispatch capability, and its dual-fuel capabilities provide fuel flexibility and help customers meet emissions limits.

LMS100 aeroderivative gas turbine

The LMS100 aeroderivative gas turbine is one of the highest-quality simple-cycle efficiency gas turbines in the world. 

Its simple cycle output is 117 MW, and its combined cycle output (1x1) is 142 MW. The LMS100 features up to 44.2% net efficiency, 99.6% reliability, and 96.7% availability. Its start time for a simple cycle is less than 8 minutes, and its ramp rate is 30 MW/minute. The LMS100 can provide power at part-load as efficiently as most gas turbines at full load, and can operate with very little power loss, supporting the grid in times of high demand. Its intercooled gas turbine system provides rapid startup, with an 8-minute start to full load and emergency ramp speeds of up to 500 MW/minute, and construction includes a modular “supercore”, which can be exchanged in less than four days to enhance plant availability.