Looking For Innovation? Start At The GE Store
September 09, 2016
With more than 50,000 scientists, engineers and technologists working globally — and engaged in multiple industrial sectors — GE is one of the world’s most innovative companies. Its greatest advantage, however, comes from the GE Store, the ability within GE to transfer knowledge, technology and best practices across industries to drive innovation, performance and outcomes, regardless of business and geography. The GE Store makes the whole of GE more competitive than the sum of its parts. Here are three recent examples of how it’s shaping the next generation of industry.
Innovation In Oil & Gas Creates A Greener Locomotive
One of the key features of the Evolution Series Tier 4 locomotive — GE’s latest generation of train engines — are its significant reductions in emissions of nitrous oxide and particulate matter.
Traditional engine design deals with these issues with scrubbing technologies. The locomotive developed at the GE Store takes a different approach. For nitrous oxide, GE Store experts drew on technology and insights from Distributed Power, Aviation and Energy Management to design a locomotive engine that recirculates exhaust gas to help absorb the heat of combustion, which controls further formation of the nitrous oxide. Reductions in particulate matter were based optimized engine designs, using expertise from Aviation, Distributed Power, Energy Management and Oil & Gas.
The results speak for themselves. Relative to past emission standards from the EPA, GE’s Evolution Series Tier 4 engines cut nitrous oxide emissions by as much as 80%, and particulate matter emissions by as much as 90%.
Three Countries, Three Technologies… And An Energy-Neutral Way To Treat Wastewater
In 2015, GE Water & Process Technologies in Oakville, Ont., introduced Zeelung*, a game-changing wastewater-treatment system that can significantly reduce energy consumption — of the largest costs in municipal budgets. More than that, when combined with other GE technologies, Zeelung becomes the foundation of a system for energy-neutral wastewater treatment.
Wastewater contains more energy than is required to treat it in the form of organic compounds. When those compounds are removed in the Zeelung process, they can be efficiently converted to fuel using GE’s Monsal Advanced Anaerobic Digestion technology. That biofuel can then be used to drive GE Jenbacher* turbines, creating the electricity needed to power the wastewater treatment process. It can even exceed that demand, generating electricity that can be put back on to the grid.
GE’s energy-neutral wastewater treatment system offers many benefits. It can contribute to GHG emission reductions from wastewater treatment in areas that don’t get electricity from renewable sources, for example. It also holds out the promise of greater water safety in developing regions where electrical grids may not be robust enough to power conventional treatment systems. And it stands as a prime example of innovation via the GE Store.
Super Ceramics: Jet Engines Make A LEAP With Materials Made For Turbines
GE Aviation’s next-generation LEAP jet engines feature a key technology that the company first used more than a decade ago in gas turbines. The technology is called “ceramic matrix composites” — or “super ceramics” — that are as tough as metals, but only one third the weight. They can also operate at temperatures of 1,300 degrees Celsius — more than 250 degrees higher than most advanced alloys.
In 2000, GE began testing super ceramics in a two-megawatt gas turbine. By the middle of the decade, the were being used to make “shrouds” for turbines, which are specialized parts that direct air flow to the hottest parts of the engine. GE Aviation began adapting the technology for jet engines in 2007 and, last year, introduced them commercially in the LEAP jet engine.
*Trademark of General Electric Company; may be registered in one or more countries.