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22 www.coalage.com March 2017 power technology continued solutions to help to reduce emissions and bring reliable energy supplies to power pro- ducers," Rechsteiner said. "GE has a suite of steam upgrades and emission manage- ment technologies that, when combined with our digital technologies, can increase efficiency on average by 4%." The newest coal plants being built us- ing GE's ultra-supercritical technology can deliver up to 49% efficiency rates — sig- nificantly higher than the global average of 33%. Every point of efficiency reduces op- erating costs over the lifetime of the plant while also reducing CO 2 emissions by ap- proximately 2%. Modern coal-fired power plants rely on a complex network of sensors, digital con- trollers and supervisory computers to oper- ate and coordinate plant subsystems. GE's digital capabilities and portfolio of air qual- ity control systems can help further lower atmospheric emissions to meet or exceed the world's strictest regulations. In addition, the Powering Efficiency COE will provide a set of financing solu- tions to help customers develop transfor- mative projects toward a lower carbon in- tensity power generation mix. In addition to the global COE, region- al organizations — starting in India — will help ensure real-time answers to meet coal power plants' local needs. "Our initial focus is in India due to the country's explosive energy demand projec- tions," said Ashok Ganesan, leader of the Powering Efficiency COE and GE's Power India Ltd. managing director. "The overall efficiency of the existing power plant fleets, particularly the country's aging coal-fired plants, is still relatively low. Our regional team in India is ideally suited to demon- strate the full potential of the Powering Efficiency COE to help the country's coal plants operate more efficiently and reduce emissions." The first project showcasing GE's Pow- ering Efficiency COE commitment in the country is with India's largest utility, NTPC Ltd. The utility selected GE to help increase the efficiency of three, 200-MW Ansal- do steam turbines installed more than 30 years ago at the Ramagundam Super ther- mal power plant in the state of Telangana. GE will help NTPC improve the efficiency of each steam turbine by up to 1%, increase plant output by approximately 30 MW, as well as reduce its carbon footprint by ap- proximately 5%. The project includes the Enhanced Steam Path (ESP) upgrade solution to help NTPC boost the efficiency and output of its power plant. The ESP was the first up- grade solution introduced to customers that blended GE and Alstom thermal power generation service technologies following the integration of the two businesses. Upgrades Could Cut Global CO ² Emissions by 1 Billion Tons During December, GE released an analysis of global power plants, which found that carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions from the world's fleet of coal and gas plants can be reduced by 10% — the equivalent of re- moving 95% of cars off U.S. roads — when existing hardware and software solutions are fully applied. The analysis is the first to quantify the emission reductions of using existing technologies to upgrade the global Carbon Capture System Goes Live in Texas Partners NRG Energy and JX Nippon announced in early January the completion of Petra Nova, the world's largest post-combustion carbon capture system, located in Bend County, southwest of Houston. The project, heavily subsidized by the federal government, was reportedly completed on time and on budget. The system is expected to capture 90% of the CO ² from the 240-megawatt (MW) slipstream of exhaust flue gas from a pre-existing coal-fueled electrical generating unit and pipe it 80 miles for use in extracting oil from West Ranch field wells. The patented process, with a scrubber made by Mitsubishi, "employs a proprietary ... high-per- formance solvent for the CO ² absorption and desorption," NRG reported. The plant reportedly will capture more than 5,000 tons of CO ² per day, which, NGR stated, "is the equivalent of taking more than 350,000 cars off the road." The West Ranch oil field, jointly owned by NRG, JX Nippon and operator Hilcorp, is antici- pated to up production from 300 to 15,000 bar- rels per day using the plant's CO ² . The process is dubbed enhanced oil recovery (EOR). During the testing period, which closed December 29, more than 100,000 tons of captured CO ² was delivered to the oil field. Previous reports stated Houston's NRG and Tokyo's JX Nippon each shelled out $300 million for the project. The former received almost $200 million from the government. Approximately $167 came from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Clean Coal Power Initiative. The DOE contribut- ed another $23 million under Section 313 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. JX Nip- pon secured loans from Japan Bank for Interna- tional Cooperation and Mizuho Bank to the tune of $250 million. Construction began in 2014. "At peak con- struction, more than 500 people were working on the project," NRG reported. Similar predecessor systems include the Boundary Dam Power Station in Saskatchewan, Canada, which went online in 2014. It had re- portedly captured 1 million metric tons of CO ² as of July 2016. Most of it was used for EOR. Critics report the system is up against both relatively inexpensive natural gas for power gen- eration and relatively low oil prices. Advocates report the project's success shows existing units can be modified to be competitive with natural gas units. "By being built on an existing coal unit, Petra Nova shows an economic path to make existing and new fossil fuel plants signifi- cantly more environmentally viable as we tran- sition to more sustainable energy future," NRG said. The company is an independent power pro- ducer and operates in a competitive market. Pric- es and service can dictate whether customers will renew their contract. For calendar year 2016, the company reported raw earnings of $3 billion, but a net loss of $891 million. To save money and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the company reportedly completed four coal-to-natural gas projects at four sep- arate power stations in 2016. "The successful introduction of natural gas replacing coal as the primary fuel allows these units to continue meet- ing customer needs while complying with current environmental standards and supporting NRG's wider decarbonization efforts," NRG reported. "Collectively, the modified units can generate more than 2,780 MW, enough power to meet the demands of more than two million average homes." The four modified units were at the Big Ca- jun II Generating Station in Louisiana; the Joliet Generating Station near Chicago; the Shawville Generating Station and the New Castle Genera- tion Station both in Pennsylvania. Sixteen-foot diameter ductwork takes flue gas from the coal plant to the carbon capture facility where the CO 2 is removed from the flue gas. (Photo: NRG)