With rising power costs and frequent power outages, more and more South African companies are looking to General Electric to supply them with alternative energy solutions. MTN Group, a multinational telecommunications group, is using GE’s Jenbacher gas engine technology in its self-sustaining power plant, which is the first of its kind in South Africa. Similarly, ABSA Bank’s Tower West complex has installed GE’s natural gas powered technology, representing the first project of its kind in the financial sector of South Africa.
GE is showcasing a number of its innovative energy technology solutions deployed throughout South Africa, including the Jenbacher product line, at the Power & Electricity World Africa 2011 industry conference, which is being held in Johannesburg, March 28 – April 1.
GE’s Jenbacher gas engines for the MTN and ABSA Bank projects were sold to Diesel Electric Services (Pty) Ltd (DES) that, in turn, sold and installed the gas engines for the two South African projects.
MTN’s self-sustaining natural gas-driven, trigeneration plant features two of GE’s Jenbacher J320 gas-powered generating sets, with an electrical output of 1,063 kW and a thermal output of about 1.2 MW each. Trigeneration refers to the burning of a fuel for electricity, heating and cooling. GE’s generating sets achieve approximately 40 percent efficiency for electricity generation by using the methane-rich natural gas. The waste exhaust gas energy is transferred to water via a heat exchanger and then through lithium bromide absorption chillers, providing the chilled water to the air-handling units. Those units then supply the cool air for the IT equipment, offering up to 85 percent overall combined electrical and thermal efficiency on fuel. Hot water also is sent via a second pass heat exchanger to provide general hot water for the remainder of the building, which brings the total efficiency of the plant up to 85.1 percent.
MTN has registered this as a carbon credit project with the United Nations to offset the costs associated with purchasing the gas and the trigeneration plant. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity consumption and the consequent reduction in the generation of coal-based electricity and its associated environmental consequences make this project one with lower environmental impact. MTN is able to earn carbon credits while generating its own electricity and recycling the water.
DES has chosen GE’s Jenbacher technology because of its performance, and the highly efficient gas engine solution, which allows them to manage potential energy shortage, reduce power consumption and increase savings. It also allows DES and their customers to contribute to the global policy of energy efficiency and reduced emissions.
Like the MTN project, ABSA Bank’s Towers West project also is a first of its kind. ABSA’s cogeneration plant is powered by four of GE’s Jenbacher J620 natural gas powered generating sets, with an overall electrical output of about 12 MW and thermal output of about 5.5 MW.
GE’s Jenbacher units that were installed produce less than half of the carbon dioxide per kWh than the coal-fired power stations predominately providing South Africa with electricity. In addition, the waste heat, recovered from the gas generators, is used for heating and cooling through specialized conversion processes, which further reduces the carbon dioxide emissions.
The gas power generation and heat recovery station is designed to operate in parallel with the city power grid to reduce the demand of the ABSA Towers Complex during peak periods, as well as to provide standby power during power outages.
“By expanding the use of cleaner, distributed energy technologies to enhance local energy reliability, South Africa is continuing to make great strides in addressing the country’s ongoing energy supply issues,” said Jay Wileman, region executive of Sub-Saharan Africa for GE Energy. “GE’s Jenbacher gas engines are capable of operating on a variety of fuels and many Jenbacher products are ecomagination approved, providing GE’s customers with products that improve their operating performance and reduce environmental impact.”
GE has been involved in several distributed energy industrial projects in South Africa. Earlier this month, GE showcased a project with Thos Begbie & Company, a foundry located in the heavy industrial hub of Middelburg, in Mpumalanga, at the 2011 African Utility Week industry conference. Through the use of GE’s Jenbacher technology, Thos Begbie has become nearly energy self-sufficient with the addition of 10-megawatts of electricity, which power the extra furnaces that the company uses in forging its specialized buckets. The Jenbacher engines have made its factory far less affected by power outages and therefore its production has become much more stable.
Also, in July 2010, GE South Africa Technologies (Pty) Limited (GESAT) announced it would provide state-owned enterprise Transnet Limited with 10 of GE’s diesel-powered generator sets to help ensure that Transnet’s new multi-product pipeline between Durban and Johannesburg has an uninterrupted power supply. Once the project is completed, the gen-sets will provide a total of 34-MW in emergency power to the pipeline’s pump stations and terminals. The pipeline is being built to secure the supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel to inland markets.
Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to help meet customers’ demand for products that improve their bottom line and reduce their impact on the environment. This also will drive growth for GE that delivers for its investors. Ecomagination reflects GE’s commitment to invest in a future that creates innovative solutions to environmental challenges. From 2010 to 2015, GE has committed to: doubling R&D to $ 10 billion; growing ecomagination revenues twice as fast as overall company revenue; reducing GE’s energy intensity 50 percent; reducing water consumption 25 percent; and inspiring a competitive energy future.
About Diesel Electric Services (Pty) Ltd
Since 1993, Diesel Electric Services (Pty) Ltd (dieselelectricservices.co.za) has specialized in the design and manufacture of Diesel and Gas Generator sets, Distribution Boards and associated products to suit the needs of practically any organization. Diesel Electric Services specializes in large turnkey power projects of this nature, and has an impressive reference list of projects completed.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
GE serves the energy sector by developing and deploying technology that helps make efficient use of natural resources. With more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, GE Energy (ge.com/energy) is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies. The businesses that comprise GE Energy—GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas—work together to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels.
Gina DeRossi, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: Gina.derossi[.]mastopr.com.
Howard Masto, Masto Public Relations
P: +1 518 786 6488 / E: howard.masto[.]ge.com.
GE news, Masto Public Relations / E: information[.]mastopr.com.