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Rio Tinto installing GE’s aeroderivative gas turbines

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Mining giant Rio Tinto is installing General Electric’s aeroderivative gas turbine technology to supply power on two of its Pilbara sites in WA.

The company recently installed the LM6000-PF Sprint aeroderivative gas turbine with dual-fuel dry low emissions (DLE) technology at its West Angelas iron ore mine.

The gas turbine and steam turbine technology will also be in use at Cape Lambert for a new combined-cycle power station for improved grid power generation.

Cape Lambert is a seaport used for exporting iron ore from the company’s Pilbara mines.

This is the first time the LM6000-PF will be used for a combined cycle power application in Australia.

The West Angelas mine needed heavy-duty sources of power for uninterrupted operation. GE’s gas and steam turbine can deal with some of the technical and logistical hurdles that come with adding a mine to the electrical grid.

The LM6000-PF is one of the most efficient open-cycle gas turbines in the world in the 40-50MW power range.

Sprint stands for ‘spray inter-cooled turbine’, which decreases compressor discharge temperature. This allows advancement of the throttle to increase power and improve thermal efficiency.

The turbines give off more than 40MW of power at more than 40 per cent efficiency while maintaining 25 parts per million (ppm) nitrous oxide levels while running on gas fuel. It maintains 85 ppm when running on diesel fuel.

The LM6000-PF has a dual-fuel DLE combustor and it runs both on natural gas and diesel fuel. Rio can continuously operate the plant regardless of fuel supply concerns.

The dual-fuel DLE technology reduces nitrous oxide emissions without needing water injection, benefiting those with limited water availability.

For the Cape Lambert project, GE is supplying an integrated, 130MW combined-cycle power island package with two LM6000-PF gas turbines, two once-through steam generators, an oil and gas steam turbine and balance of plant equipment.

GE will supply the power island to Forge Group Power, which holds the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the complete power station.

By using natural gas in combined-cycle mode, the port’s generating plant will enhance grid stability, generate power more efficiently at baseload and decrease emissions compared to other fossil fuels.

Cape Lambert is due to get its gas turbine later this year. The plant is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2015.

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