The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has consistently leaned into the future, innovating, embracing what’s new, building better, thinking big, and encouraging others to do so. Having lived here for years, I have seen firsthand how the country has been a perpetual engine of growth for the region and the world, setting ambitious targets, drawing entrepreneurs, investors, and everyday people seeking new opportunities and a better life.
This deeply engrained spirit of innovation and a desire to build a world that works better, is also found at GE. Working together with our customers and partners, we have been contributing to shaping the future of energy in the UAE and beyond through an approach centered on investing in record-setting technologies, establishing world-class local facilities, entering collaborations, and upskilling our people. This is a framework that our regional GE Gas Power team described during a recent webinar, Innovation in Energy, which we co-hosted with the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure (MOEI).
TECHNOLOGIES THAT PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT’S POSSIBLE
Our first pillar is investment in new technologies that push the envelope of possibilities further. This is a commitment that is crucial in today’s world. As the UAE and other countries globally announce net-zero carbon emissions targets to address the challenge of climate change, we need to invest in technologies that can support the transition to a cleaner energy future and contribute to solving for the trilemma of providing more affordable, reliable, and sustainable power, while continuing to meet the world’s growing demand for electricity.
GE’s H-class gas turbines are an excellent example of this. Having set two world records for combined-cycle efficiency, and now available at up to 64% combined cycle efficiency, the technology is helping countries provide the baseload power required during the energy transition. Flexible, with the ability to ramp power output up or down quickly, the turbines can help stabilize the grid as more variable sources of fluctuating renewable power are added to the system. Current GE 9HA.01/9HA.02/7HA.03 gas turbines also have the ability to run on up to 50% hydrogen-blended fuels now, with a technology roadmap to running on up to 100% hydrogen in the future.
The under-construction 1,800 megawatts (MW) Hamriyah Independent Power Plant in Sharjah features three of GE’s HA turbines. Using these units in combined cycle operations is expected to help Sharjah reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4 million tons per year, compared to current levels – the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the UAE’s roads.
LOCAL INVESTMENTS TO DRIVE INNOVATION AND RESILIENCE
By investing in local facilities, we get closer to our customers and are better able to understand their pain points, coordinate solutions tailored to local needs, and shorten turnaround times, while maintaining world-class standards.
GE’s Hot & Harsh Research & Development (R&D) Center is one example. Built from the ground up with experts and facilities across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it addresses regional customers’ unique power generation challenges related to extreme weather and the use of harsh fuels, such as heavy fuel oil. Since opening the Center, our teams, working across five laboratories, have filed more than 30 patents in the areas of liquid fuel emulsification, new corrosion inhibitors, low carbon fuels to support the region’s decarbonization efforts, and more.
We have also invested in GE’s Jebel Ali Service Center in Dubai, a state-of-the-art maintenance, testing, and repair facility for generators and gas turbines. It is the only center of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa and has served more than 80 customers from over 35 countries.
COLLABORATIONS TO MOVE FASTER AND GET FURTHER
Collaborations and partnerships in technology, infrastructure, R&D, and financing new projects, are another important aspect of how we drive innovation in energy. For example, last year, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and GE Gas Power announced a joint cooperation initiative to develop a decarbonization roadmap that includes reducing carbon emissions from gas turbines used to power ADNOC’s downstream and industry operations. Under the terms of the initiative, ADNOC and GE will explore using hydrogen and hydrogen-blended fuels for lower-carbon power generation; evaluating introducing ammonia as a fuel to power ADNOC’s GE gas turbines; integrating carbon capture solutions at ADNOC’s power generation facilities; and joint research and development (R&D) programs to develop innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions from gas-based power generation.
Similarly, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and GE Gas Power are to develop a roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of EGA’s existing GE natural gas turbines by exploring hydrogen as a fuel, as well as carbon capture, utilization, and storage solutions. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) is the first that GE Gas Power has entered globally to help explore potential solutions to lower the carbon footprint of power generation operations in the aluminium sector.
MAKING OUR PEOPLE FUTURE-READY
Since our beginning approximately 130 years ago, GE has understood that our people are at the heart of our success and our ability to continually innovate. That is why, in this era of rapid and dramatic technological evolution, we are focused on ensuring our people are future-ready through upskilling and training on emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, cloud-native systems, automation, and other areas.
This investment in talent means we can leverage new technologies to deliver better services and solutions to our customers, ultimately benefiting local economies and the wider society.
At GE, we are excited by the future of energy in the UAE. We look forward to realizing the projects already announced, and to contributing to new opportunities in the years and decades to come, working together with various stakeholders. People in the country, and the global community more broadly, will benefit through these collaborations and from the UAE’s enduring commitment to a bold and bright future.