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A Supercritical Solution to the World’s Energy Demand

Ultra-supercritical steam technology at Tanjung Bin, Malaysia

The world needs energy, a great deal of it. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects global demand to increase by as much as one third by 2040. In a growing region like ASEAN, that need is even more immediate. In total, ASEAN’s primary energy mix is predicted to rise on average 4.7% each year, to reach 1,685 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) by 2035 according to the ASEAN Centre for Energy. Southeast Asia’s growth will lead to a huge rise in energy demand, perhaps as high as an 80% increase by 2040.

Addressing this challenge will require a wide range of fuel sources. A key factor in providing a solution in the region will be the delivery of efficient coal-fired power. Globally coal accounts for around 40% of electricity production today. While the global energy mix will integrate more and more renewables, reliable baseload power will remain crucial for fast growing economies.

Coal and power

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Coal-fired power plants are set to account for 25% of the world’s additional energy supply over the next decade. A staggering 85% of those will be implemented in the ASEAN region. They will be a defining element of the US$ 100 billion of infrastructure investment the IEA predicts will be required to meet energy needs in Southeast Asia by 2040.

With the largest economy in the region, Indonesia, also the world’s third biggest coal producer, this affordable, and abundantfuel is projected to be a lynchpin in powering the growth of Southeast Asia.

If we’re to develop a sustainable future using a power source like coal, we need to produce and deliver this energy in the most efficient and reliable way possible – and GE’s advanced steam turbine technology is helping us do just that.

Ultra-supercritical solutions at Tanjung Bin

The recently operational Tanjung Bin Energy Power Plant, Malaysia, offers a fantastic example of this technology at work. This 1,000 MW, ultra-supercritical coal-fired plant, run by independent power and water company Malakoff, utilises GE’s technology to provide revolutionary levels of efficiency in coal-fired energy generation. The power produced by the plant will provide 6% of the total energy demand for Malaysia. This is enough energy for two million people.

The plant operates on GE’s most modern steam turbine and generator technology, its ultra-supercritical boiler, as well as utilising GE’s proprietary environmental control systems. The emissions at the plant are significantly reduced through the use of low NOx burners, a highly efficient seawater flue gas desulphurisation facility, and fabric filters to lower nitrous oxide, sulphur oxide and dust emissions.

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“GE’s Steam Power Systems pioneered ultra-supercritical steam generation, and is today a global technology leader in advanced and ultra-supercritical technology. This technology has achieved efficiencies up to 47%, far above the global average rate of existing power plants of around 30%, lowering fuel consumption and emissions. Each additional percentage point in efficiency reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 2% to 3%,” said Andreas Lusch, CEO of GE’s Steam Power Systems.

To put this in perspective, if we increased the average efficiency of coal-fired power plants globally to just 40%, we could decrease annual global carbon dioxide emissions by 2 gigatonnes. That’s more than the entire emissions of Southeast Asia for a full year.

Delivering a smart answer to energy needs

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It’s not simply the efficiency of the final solution, but the efficiency of delivery by which these systems will be judged. Again Tanjung Bin offers up an encouraging example. The € 1 billion contract was first commissioned in 2012, aiming to provide 1,000 MW to the grid by 2016. Only in delivering these efficient solutions in a timely manner can they be judged a success.

Four years later, The Tanjung Bin power plant is operational on time, providing 1,000 MW of world-leading coal-powered efficiency and delivered in a way that prevents economic shocks as a result of power supply disruption.

Equally as importantly Tanjung Bin now provides those 1,000MW to a region with a huge thirst for energy, providing power to meet the energy needs of over 2 million people. This technology not only delivers efficiency, but a reliable source of power to meet the needs of the people of the region.

Imaginative solutions

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GE’s steam powered energy solutions now account for more than 320 gigawatts of installed capacity across the globe. We’re constantly striving to provide more efficient answers to the world’s energy needs, and continue to work with partners both in Southeast Asia and across the globe to deliver truly ground-breaking solutions to power generation. Now that’s imagination at work.

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