September 10, 2019
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Guernsey County in Ohio was once home to one of the most successful glass-making companies in the world, which turned out pieces in such poetic colors as carmen, crown Tuscan and heatherbloom. The Cambridge Glass Company closed in the 1950s, but Guernsey County’s potential remains crystal-clear. The area sits atop the vast subterranean natural gas deposits locked inside the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. As a cleaner-burning fuel, natural gas can help build a bridge to the renewable future, powering plants that can ramp up quickly to level out fluctuations in solar and wind generation. For that and other reasons, the privately held producer Caithness Energy is constructing a 1,875-megawatt power plant in Guernsey that will have the capacity to power some 1.5 million homes. Its beating heart? Three of GE’s record-setting 7HA.02 turbines, in a deal announced this week.
Power in numbers: The 7HA.02 gas turbines are part of a platform that has been recognized for powering the world’s most efficient power plants in both the 50- and 60-hertz areas of the energy market. GE’s HA gas turbines aren’t new to Caithness. It has already installed a pair of them at a plant in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. “We look forward to working with GE again and are proud to deliver this state-of-the-art, electricity-generating solution for cleaner, more efficient power,” said Ross Ain, Caithness Energy’s president. This deal marks the latest win for GE Power and its superefficient machines. Having closed a robust number of deals this year, the business was recognized by McCoy Power Reports as a leader in gas turbine capacity and the number of units ordered for turbines greater than 10 megawatts in the first six months of 2019.
GE Power will also service Guernsey with Asset Performance Management software, which crunches data from the plant to make sure everything’s running as efficiently as possible. Learn more here. The HA is also making other news. This week GE launched the second employee takeover of its social media channels focusing solely on the technology. You can find it here.
In the next few years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, occupations in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM — will increase faster than others. STEM jobs provide a lot of bang for the buck, too, with a median annual wage of nearly $85,000. It’s no wonder many parents are eager to expose their kids to as many STEM activities as possible, and particularly their daughters. Right now, less than a third of STEM professionals are female. Still, math and science can be a tough sell to kids who’d rather be playing Minecraft and making TikToks — until they learn just how cool these jobs can be. And for that, they need to look no further than five women whose jobs at GE have put them in the coolest situations imaginable, from the top of a wind turbine to the inside of a jet engine.
The power broker: Meet Vera Silva, for instance. With a doctorate in electrical engineering and four books under her belt, Silva has a lifelong fascination with electricity. When she was a child in Portugal, Silva’s small town was beset by power outages — which led to a lot of melted ice cream, among other problems. Now, as chief technology officer for GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions unit, Silva is envisioning and designing the electrical grid of the future, which will be more sustainable and flexible. It’ll also be a lot less centralized, drawing on local resources like solar and wind power just as it relies on traditional sources like gas and coal. “In the future, everyone will have access to electricity,” she said. “The solution might be in their own house or a small microgrid in a community.”
Then there’s the self-professed hippie who splits her passion between rugby and renewables, the New Orleans technicians putting wind turbines through their paces, and the engineer who is 3D-printing parts for the world’s largest jet engine. Click here for just a sample of the places a STEM career can lead.
1. GENTLR Drug Development
The biotech startup Insilico Medicine announced it has designed GENTLR, an artificial intelligence program that took just 21 days to design six novel molecules that could be used to fight fibrosis and other diseases.
2. Future Computer
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology built a microprocessor from carbon nanotubes — a material that experts have long thought of as the next frontier in fast and efficient computing.
3. Tooth Paste
Scientists from China’s Zhejiang University created a gel that can spur the growth of tooth enamel, giving hope to cavity sufferers everywhere.
Read more about this week’s Coolest Things on Earth here.
— QUOTE OF THE DAY —
“Caithness Energy is an incredibly important and long-standing GE customer and we are proud that they have chosen our world-class HA technology to be the heart of their Guernsey Power Station.”
— Dave Ross, president of North American sales for GE Power
Quote: GE Reports. Image: GE. Power.
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