November 27, 2018 Des Plaines, IL—
On October 15, GTI joined with Southwest Research Institute, GE Global Research, and the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) to celebrate the groundbreaking of the $119 million first-of-its-kind 10MW Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) pilot plant known as STEP Demo.
Turnout was strong, with nearly 100 people in attendance for the event. Prominent North American and international company executives responded with great enthusiasm to this breakthrough option in future power generation with efficiency increases approaching 10%.
GTI, SwRI, and GE are leaders in sCO2 power cycles and have conducted more than two dozen related U.S. Department of Energy projects. The team brings extensive experience with sCO2 technology and the key building blocks to make the STEP project a success and an important landmark demonstration.
Team members shared an overview of this exciting facility that will demonstrate the next generation of higher-efficiency, lower-cost electric power technology. It uses less fuel and consumes less water, and advanced configurations can enable near-zero emission power generation, adding to its strong environmental performance.
“We’re reaching a milestone in the future of power plant technology, thanks to the vision, technical expertise and determination of GTI, Southwest Research Institute, and GE Global Research. Their efforts will help lay the groundwork for even wider deployment of supercritical CO2 power cycles – and that means a smaller footprint, higher efficiency, reduced water usage, lower CO2 emissions, and less expensive power generation,” said DOE Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “With this pilot plant, the technology is moving from the lab to the field. This project will provide important data on the potential challenges of operating the technology on a larger scale.”
“GTI is pleased to lead advancement of this transformational technology for clean power generation,” said David Carroll, President and CEO of GTI. “We are excited to bring together key government and industry partners, leveraging our collective skills and expertise in this important project to benefit consumers, industry, and the nation.”
“This new facility’s ability to generate power in a way that is more efficient, cost-effective and less harmful to the environment is remarkable. This project has the potential to revolutionize the industry as we know it,” noted SwRI President Adam Hamilton.
“GE scientists and engineers have turned conventional wisdom on its head by developing a desk-sized turbine that can power up to 10,000 homes,” said Todd Wetzel, Power Business Program Manager at GE Global Research. Because of the efficiency of sCO2 as a thermal medium, the turbomachinery can be one tenth the size of conventional power plant components, providing the potential to shrink the environmental footprint as well as the construction cost of any new facilities.
There was tremendous support from the state of Texas, as the facility will be located on SwRI’s San Antonio campus. The Governor’s Office issued a Proclamation, and Secretary of State Rolando Pablos and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg contributed positive remarks about the technology. U.S. Representative Will Hurd and State Senator Jose Menendez spoke about the numerous benefits the pilot plant will bring to Texas. In addition to higher efficiency, reduced costs, and lower emissions, this disruptive energy technology offers enormous economic and environmental impact in a state that uses vast amounts of power.
Construction on the STEP Demo pilot plant is scheduled to be completed in 2020. It will feature skid-mounted components that provide flexibility and a unique reconfigurable design to be able to evolve over time to keep pace with industry advancements.
GTI is a leading research, development and training organization that has been addressing global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 75 years. GTI leads the STEP Demo project and is the prime contractor with the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL). For more information, please visit www.stepdemo.us or www.gti.energy
SwRI® is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with nearly 2,600 employees and an annual research volume of more than $528 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. www.swri.org
About GE Global Research
GE Global Research is GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality. We are a world-class team of 1,000+ scientific, engineering and marketing minds (600+ Ph. Ds), working at the intersection of physics and markets, physical and digital technologies, and across a broad set of industries to deliver world-changing innovations and capabilities for our customers. www.geglobalresearch.com
Diane Miller, Marketing Communications Director