SEC invests in GE’s Hot & Harsh R&D Center in Dammam

SEC invests in GE’s Hot & Harsh R&D Center in Dammam
Published: 10 November 2019 - 1:49 p.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has invested in GE’s Hot & Harsh Research & Development Center based at the GE Manufacturing & Technology Center (GEMTEC) campus in Dammam. The investment is expected to be disbursed over a period of two years.

It will cover two projects to develop innovative solutions to enhance the operational performance of power plants when using crude and heavy fuel oil (HFO) for electricity generation. A part of this agreement will also be utilized to establish a laboratory scale test rig at the H&H R&D Center, as well as an industrial test rig at an SEC facility in the Kingdom.

Moreover, GE Power experts will share knowledge with SEC professionals to further enhance their skillsets in operating advanced equipment and conducting process optimization tests.

The possible solutions that will be developed may be applicable in many places around the world that utilize liquid fuels, including the Middle East, South America and Africa.

The agreement was signed by Fahad bin Hussein Al-Sudairi, SEC’s acting Chief Executive Officer and Joseph Anis, President & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems and Power Services businesses in the Middle East, North Africa & South Asia in the presence of senior officials from both organizations.

Joseph Anis said: “GE has been honored to support the development of the Kingdom’s energy sector for more than 80 years. This investment takes our historic relationship with SEC and the Kingdom further as we create innovations to shape the future of the power sector. From investing in setting up local manufacturing and service facilities to training youth and developing in-country supply chains, we remain committed, long-term partners in the Kingdom’s growth story and in building a strong ‘Made in Saudi’ energy ecosystem.”

The first research project aims to enhance the combustion dynamics of low-grade liquid fuels. It is expected to help customers achieve millions of dollars in annual savings through benefits such as reduced maintenance and increased availability of power plants by up to 2 percent, savings in fuel consumption of up to 2 percent, reduction in harmful NOx emissions of up to 30 percent, reduction in both carbon monoxide and particulate matter of up to 60 percent, as well as the virtual elimination of visible smoke.

The second project intends to remove vanadium, the most abundant metallic constituent in petroleum, which causes several side-effects such as the corrosion of equipment at oil-fired power plants. The implementation of the new solutions could lead to significant annual customer savings in addition to benefits such as eliminating the use of corrosion-inhibitor fuel additives, increased output by up to 7 percent, as well as higher efficiency by up to 0.8 percent.

The Hot & Harsh R&D Center has evolved as a hub for the energy innovation ecosystem in the Kingdom.

Marking an investment of over $15 million, the Center is the first of its kind GE facility in the world with five advanced laboratories, 18 specialized engineers and researchers, as well as over 20 patents filed to date for innovations in the energy sector.

It is part of the GEMTEC campus, which also includes a Service and Repairs Center for gas turbines, a Monitoring & Diagnostics Center for the remote monitoring of power generation assets, as well as GE Saudi Advanced Turbines (GESAT), a joint investment by Dussur and GE to manufacture heavy duty gas turbines and components in the Kingdom.

GE has a strong history of presence and partnerships in the Kingdom. Today, there are more than 500 gas turbines installed in the Kingdom and GE-built technologies help generate over 50 percent of the country's electricity.

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