GE has a public commitment to investing $25 billion in cleaner-technology R&D by 2020. Investing in clean energy is good for business, job creation, the economy and the world. In 2016, we invested $2.7 billion in cleaner-technology solutions across fossil fuels, renewables and the grid through our Ecomagination strategy, bringing our total investment to $20 billion in Ecomagination R&D since 2005. This approach has resulted in $38 billion in revenue from Ecomagination products in 2016, for a total of $270 billion of Ecomagination revenue since 2005. Our Global Research Center continues to push the boundaries of technology with innovations such as grid-parity wind power and 65%-efficient combined-cycle gas power plants.
Supercritical CO2 Turbine
Scientists at GE’s Global Research Center are building a CO2-powered turbine. The design has two main parts. The first one collects heat energy from the sun and stores it in a liquid of molten salt. The other component uses surplus electricity from the grid to cool a pool of liquid CO2 so that it becomes dry ice.
During power generation, the salt releases its heat to expand the cold CO2 into a supercritical fluid, a state of matter where it no longer has specific liquid and gas phases. It allows engineers to make the system more efficient. The supercritical fluid will flow into an innovative CO2 turbine called the sunrotor, which is based on a GE steam turbine design.
The combination of high heat and pressure is what allowed scientists to design a turbine that fits on a conference table but can generate 10 megawatts, enough to power 10,000 U.S. homes. The technology was developed in partnership with Southwest Research Institute as part of a research project with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.