GE Invests in eSolar for Hybrid Power Plants
Earlier this year, General Electric Co. (GE) released its FlexEfficiency 50 combined cycle power plant technology to the world. The system is designed to provide natural gas power generation capabilities to be incorporated with renewable energy plants such as solar and wind to boost efficiency. The sun doesn’t shine, nor does the wind blow 100 percent of the time, and that’s where GE’s FlexEfficency 50 kicks in to fill the gap. GE is now investing in California-based solar power company eSolar to build hybrid solar/natural gas power plants.
GE’s prior license agreement with eSolar granted the company exclusive international rights to eSolar’s Integrated Solar Combined Cycle (ISCC) modular technology. When combined with GE’s FlexEfficiency 50, power plants will achieve an estimated 70 percent efficiency.
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GE plans to invest upward of $40 million into eSolar, and Paul Brown, President and CEO of Thermal Products for GE Energy will join eSolar’s Board of Directors.
ESolar utilizes solar thermal technology, reflecting sunrays from thousands of mirrors onto a central tower that generates steam to run turbines. At night, GE’s FlexEfficiency 50 can power turbines in the sun’s absence.