KOTZEBUE, Alaska — GE and the Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA), an electric cooperative that focuses on supplying electricity to the remote city of Kotzebue and other rural areas of Alaska, have launched a joint project to increase the energy efficiency and extend the fuel supply of several diesel engines powering Kotzebue. For the initiative, GE will provide a Clean Cycle heat-to-power generator that will use the diesel engines’ exhaust heat to produce electricity for the local grid.

GE said this project showcases how communities and industries can achieve more efficient power production and greater fuel savings using heat-to-power technology.

Kotzebue’s isolated location north of the Arctic Circle means that it faces high fuel costs and major logistical challenges associated with providing reliable electricity and heat. The city, which is home to an estimated 3,200 residents, is dependent upon a single, annual shipment of diesel fuel that occurs in the summer when the ocean is ice-free and vessels can navigate the available shipping lanes. Local officials have made it a top priority to extend the life of the diesel fuel supply and reduce the costs associated with operating a diesel-fueled generating system.

GE’s technology will enable Kotzebue to boost its fuel efficiency by utilizing a previously unused energy source — recovered exhaust heat from any one of the city’s three diesel engines. In total, the project will result in a savings of more than 46,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and reduce the city’s energy costs. The new Clean Cycle unit is scheduled to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“GE’s Clean Cycle technology represents an effective answer for our specific need to reduce diesel consumption,” said Brad Reeve, general manager/CEO for KEA. “The Clean Cycle generator creates an excellent way of utilizing every bit of energy from our engines, primarily our excess heat. As a result of the solution created jointly with GE, we expect to reduce costs and raise the efficiency of our diesel power plant.”

Kotzebue also will benefit from the Clean Cycle installation as the surplus heat from the condenser will supplement an existing jacket water system to heat the city’s potable water reserves that were previously heated by oil-fueled boilers. This reduction in heating costs is a significant economic value to the city.

The cooperation between GE and KEA received financial support from the state of Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund, which promotes the use of Alaska’s natural energy resources in order to reduce the costs of electricity and heat generation.

“We have a great interest in bringing small-scale waste heat recovery to diesel utility applications around the world. Kotzebue highlights how the Clean Cycle technology can reduce cost and increase fuel efficiency by utilizing heat from diesel engines. This is a tangible value and an attractive power source for end customers,” said Brad Garner, president-heat recovery solutions, GE Power & Water.

For more information, visit www.ge.com.

Publication date: 7/1/2013

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