Ireland – GE erects massive turbines

Attempt to capitalize on the new energy market / Turbines said to power 16,000 homes, saving 15,000 tons of fossil fuels.

Having recently completed its first year of operation, the Arklow Bank installation saves Ireland 15,000 tons of imported fossil fuel a year and prevents the release of about 68,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking about 16,000 cars off the road. Officials are talking about increasing the size of the Arklow installation tenfold, enabling it to supply 10% of all Ireland's electricity needs. The Arklow wind farm is GE's latest entry in the search for ways to generate power without releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In perhaps the broadest and largest corporate effort anywhere, GE spent $700 million in 2004 on clean-energy R&D--ranging from hydrogen production to solar cells, cleaner coal plants, and biofuels.

At the company's sprawling Global Research Center near Schenectady, N.Y., scientists think they are nearing breakthroughs in a variety of energy technologies. In August, for instance, GE reported that it had developed nanodiodes--whiskers 1/80,000th the thickness of a human hair--displaying a photovoltaic effect that converts sunlight into electricity. "This market is exploding," says Vlatko Vlatkovic, a Croatian-born electrical engineer with a doctorate from Virginia Tech who supervises 220 scientists and engineers. Now running on a looping eight-mile test track at GE's huge plant in Erie, Pa., is a hybrid prototype that uses 15% less fuel and emits almost 50% less carbon dioxide and noxious gases while generating 2,000 additional horsepower. GE energy researchers are easily able to draw on colleagues' knowledge when they need, say, sturdy new materials for those huge wind-turbine rotor blades. Now GE has shifted to less expensive solid oxide cells that use ceramic electrolytes, and it expects big fuel cells both to provide reliable power in remote locations and to work in tandem with gas turbines in power plants in more populated areas.

Online Editorial www.windfair.net
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
UK, Ireland, wind energy, wind turbine, wind power, renewable energy, wind farm, rotorblade, offshore, onshore

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