Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA (CEPSA) has implemented new gas turbine technology from GE to help meet Europe’s more stringent environmental emissions standards without reducing efficiency or increasing operating costs at its 12 million-tonne/year Gibraltar-San Roque refinery near Cadiz in southern Spain.
The project, which marks the first use of GE’s proprietary fuel-flexible High Hydrogen Fuel DLN1 technology at any commercial operation, has increased efficiency of the refinery’s GE 6B DLN1 gas turbine by enabling it to use recycled refinery fuel gas (RFG) without needing additional water to generate power, GE said.
Since GE completed the conversion process more than a year ago, the gas turbine’s use of waste RFG for power generation has allowed CEPSA to reduce purchases of natural gas, resulting in a 7% heat rate improvement at the refinery, as well as enabled a 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from the plant, GE said.
“GE Power Generation Services’ solution helped us to increase plant efficiency and reduce our environmental footprint, supporting our goals to produce cleaner energy and meet the region’s increasingly stringent emissions requirements,” said Antonio Berlanga, operations manager for CEPSA.
In addition to reducing emissions and improving operational efficiency at the plant, the new technology also has contributed to a reduction in the Gibraltar-San Roque refinery’s overall downtime for planned maintenance, Manuel Cardenas and Jay Bryant of GE Power Generation Services told OGJ.
“CEPSA’s implementation of the technology has given the company a competitive advantage in [the European refining sector], a region still very much in overcapacity and where maximizing resources and cutting costs matter,” Cardenas said.
Successful application of the new technology in refinery operations, however, is only the beginning.
“The CEPSA project really was a validation of the technology, but this same technology is not limited to downstream operations,” Bryant said, adding that solutions to managing excess gas without increasing water consumption and exceeding emissions limits are just as important to project economics in the upstream.
GE currently is undertaking work to adapt and implement the DLN1 technology for a project in Canada’s oil sands, Cardenas and Bryant said.