Romanian cogeneration plant meets EU energy efficiency goals

Paul Boughton

A major investment programme in combined heat and power engines is helping a multinational soft drink manufacturer to meet efficiency goals set out by the European Union. Sean Ottewell reports.

In line with a major initiative by the European Union (EU) to reduce emissions, GE Energy, the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and the energy development company ContourGlobal have opened a new cogeneration plant at Coca-Cola Hellenic's Ploiesti bottling facility near Bucharest in Romania. The gas-fuelled cogeneration plant represents the first of a planned group of 15 combined heat and power (CHP) plants that will be installed at Coca-Cola Hellenic's facilities in 12 European countries (Fig.1).

Cogeneration is inherently more energy efficient than using separate power and heat generating sources, making it an effective anti-pollution strategy. As a result, the EU in recent years has begun urging member states to modernise their industrial and municipal cogeneration systems to improve energy efficiency and curtail regional emissions.

"For such a large energy initiative, we needed to find a reliable power generation equipment supplier that could support our project on behalf of Coca Cola Hellenic under a very tight delivery schedule," said ContourGlobal president and ceo Joseph C Brandt.

Each of the bottling plants utilising GE Energy's Jenbacher CHP engines will be able to eliminate up to 40 per cent of their annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which demonstrates the ongoing commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottling operations in support of EU goals while also reducing the operational costs by generating their own onsite power (Fig.2).

Under the first phase of the Coca-Cola Hellenic CHP initiative, GE Energy is supplying ContourGlobal, the project developer, with 19 Jenbacher gas engines - representing a total output of 58 megawatts (MW). The first two of GE's Jenbacher cogeneration modules were installed at Coca-Cola Hellenic's Romania bottling facility while the other units will be installed at Coca-Cola facilities in six other European countries: Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Greece, Northern Ireland and Italy.

The new CHP plants will supply a highly efficient, reliable onsite supply of electricity, as well as hot and chilled water, to Coca-Cola Hellenic's bottling facilities.

"With the European Union emphasising the role of energy efficiency in its efforts to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions, we are very excited to showcase how our Jenbacher technology can help energy developers and industrial operators like ContourGlobal and Coca-Cola Hellenic meet with their energy and environmental goals," said Prady Iyyanki, ceo of GE Energy's Jenbacher gas engine business.

Subsequent project phases call for additional CHP plants to be installed at bottling facilities in Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia as well as in the African nation of Nigeria.

The new Romania cogeneration plant is powered by two of GE's three-MW J620 Jenbacher gas engines, providing the factory with a reliable source of onsite power while helping support the EU's emissions reduction goals.

The initiative supports the European Commission's goal to adopt more stringent environmental targets for member states to help Europe achieve a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.

GE Energy's Jenbacher gas engines will be delivered throughout 2009 and 2010, with commissioning scheduled as the plants are ready. The equipment is being built at GE's gas engine manufacturing centre in Jenbach, Austria.

Meanwhile, the Austrian company has also announced that it has used next generation turbine technology to increase the output and efficiency of its new, upgraded Frame 7FA gas turbine and so meet growing performance requirements demanded by power plant operators.

The upgraded turbine is designed to help power plant operators reduce their total cost of ownership and environmental impact by allowing them to use less fuel to generate power.

According to parent company GE, the continuing evolution of its gas turbine technology supports a growing industry trend toward the use of natural gas.

For example, a report by the Colorado School of Mines indicated that following recent discoveries, the United States now has 1800 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the equivalent of 320 billion barrels of oil-more than Saudi Arabia's 264 billion barrels. That available supply, coupled with the current low cost and the fact that natural gas emits less carbon than other fossil fuels, has spurred many power generators to consider switching from other fuels to gas.

A typical power plant operating two new 7FA gas turbines with a single steam turbine in combined cycle configuration would achieve a fuel cost savings of more than US$2.1m/y at a natural gas price of US$6 per MMBtu when compared to a similar plant with an earlier version of the 7FA for equivalent net plant output. This updated plant would also avoid the emission of more than 19000t/y of CO2 compared to the earlier version, an improvement equivalent to the CO2 emissions of approximately 3800 cars on the roads.

"Investing in the needs of tomorrow with R&D and technology is at the foundation of GE and helps us to maintain a competitive advantage in the power generation arena," said Steve Bolze, president of GE Energy's power and water business. "Today's announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to GE's leadership in advanced gas turbine technology that helps deliver power more efficiently and flexibly to our customers without compromising their high standards for operational excellence."

"Since its introduction, our F technology has consistently set industry standards for reliability and efficiency," said Rick Stanley, vice president of engineering for GE Energy. "The 7FA upgrade underscores our commitment to continue refining the technology to meet the evolving needs of today's customers."

"GE is focused on delivering products and services that help our customers save significant operating costs while simultaneously slashing emissions and fuel consumption. We have amassed technological advances from across our expansive portfolio of power generating and aviation turbines and delivered them in this upgraded 7FA turbine," added John Reinker, general manager of gas turbine and combined cycle products for GE Energy. "Of the 1000 plus GE F-technology gas turbines shipped worldwide, more than 70 per cent are 7FA units-and the advances now available for the 7FA will ensure that it continues to be the industry's workhorse advanced technology turbine."

any companies have already evaluated the new gas turbine technology. Some of the first new 7FA turbines are planned for the proposed Oakley Generating Station in Oakley, California. The plant, which is projected to generate 586 MW of power, is being developed by Radback Energy and is expected to be transferred to Pacific Gas and Electric Company after it enters commercial operation.

The new turbine is a part of GE's ecomagination portfolio, due to the increase in net plant efficiency and higher output delivered by this machine compared to all earlier 7FA models, which should result in less fuel consumption and lower emissions on a MW/h basis than delivered by previous 7FA models.

Key regions for the upgraded, 60-hertz 7FA will include North America, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. The upgraded 7FA will begin shipping in early 2012 and will be manufactured at GE Energy's gas turbine facility in Greenville, South Carolina, USA.