Australian Coal Mine Waste Gas Plant Powers Up with GE Energy's Jenbacher Generator Sets

Ecomagination-Certified Units Offer Economic And Environmental Benefits

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - September 19, 2006 - A new coal mine methane (CMM) power plant, developed and owned by renewable energy developer Envirogen Pty Ltd., featuring 12 of GE Energy's Jenbacher generator sets, has begun operating at one of Australia's largest coal mines, the Oaky Creek Colliery in central Queensland.

The plant is providing power to the regional grid while helping to offset the mine's methane gas emissions.

The recent startup of Oaky Creek was noted September 20 during the official launch of GE's ecomagination program in Australia. At GE's event in Sydney, GE Vice Chairman/ President & CEO of GE Infrastructure John Rice cited the Envirogen CMM project as a prime example of how GE can help customers around the world address their escalating environmental and energy challenges, a central principle of ecomagination.

"Envirogen's Oaky Creek-Jenbacher gas engine plant is an excellent example of how customers can use GE's broad portfolio of highly advanced, cost-effective technology for efficient power generation, using alternative energy sources," Rice said.

GE's Jenbacher CMM technology is helping Australia address a pressing environmental challenge by targeting a key industrial source point of methane emissions: the nation's coal mines. Australia is the world's fourth largest coal producer.

By using a previously "wasted" source of energy for efficient power generation, the power plant also helps reduce the amount of CMM the mine would otherwise need to vent or flare off into the atmosphere. Venting methane is a traditional mine industry safety practice that accounts for 4 percent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the greenhouse warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas commonly identified with climate change. To develop the Oaky Creek project, Envirogen secured financial support from Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage, through its Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme (GGAP).

Between 2008 and 2012, the Oaky Creek station is expected to offset greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated equivalent of up to 2.6 million tons of CO2, according Envirogen. This amount of reduced CO 2corresponds to CO 2emissions of 1.4 million EU passenger cars.

Oaky Creek CMM plant expanded prior to start-up
For the Oaky Creek project, which is one of several GE CMM-fueled plants owned and developed by Envirogen, GE originally provided 10 of its JGS 320 GS-S.L Jenbacher generator- sets through Clarke Energy Australia Pty. Ltd.

As a wholly owned subsidiary of England-based parent Clarke Energy Limited, longtime UK distributor and service provider for GE Energy's gas engines, Clarke Energy Australia installed the 10 Jenbacher units as part of its turnkey project for Envirogen.

However, to help handle a greater volume and consistency of mine gas found at Oaky Creek, in May 2006, Envirogen engaged Clarke Energy Australia to install two additional 1-MW Jenbacher units. The two systems were previously used at Envirogen's 8-MW Teralba CMM project in New South Wales.

Oaky Creek's 12 Jenbacher units began operating in July, generating a total of 13 MW of power.

While CMM plants often draw methane from closed mines, Oaky Creek is generating electricity at an operational coal mine, presenting special technical challenges: sudden changes in the composition of waste coal mine gas from active mining can create a variable fuel quality and supply. This places a greater demand on the engines that GE is able to meet through its specially modified Jenbacher engine systems.

Currently, there are over 250MWe of Jenbacher units running on CMM worldwide. This installed fleet generates more than 1.5 billion kWh of electricity a year. Generating this amount of power with CMM instead of natural gas saves the equivalent of more than 13 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually. In addition, converting coal mine gas in Jenbacher gas engines into power reduces the release of methane into the atmosphere by about 85%, compared to venting; this corresponds to CO2 savings of about 30,000 to 40,000 tons per year and MWel.

GE Energy's Jenbacher gas engine business is a leading manufacturer of gas-fueled reciprocating engines, packaged generator sets and cogeneration systems for power generation.

About GE's "ecomagination" Initiative
Ecomagination is GE's commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water. Under ecomagination, GE will invest US$1.5 billion annually in research in cleaner technologies by 2010.

The multi-tiered review process is concluded with an independent, third party audit to ensure accuracy and thorough documentation of technological performance.

Due to its cost-effectiveness, high-efficiency performance and measurable environmental benefits, in 2005 GE announced its Jenbacher CMM gas engine technology certified as a GE ecomagination product.

About GE Energy
GE Energy ( is one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2005 revenue of US$16.5 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels.

For more information, contact:
Dennis Murphy
GE Energy
+1 678-844-6948

Ken Darling
Masto Public Relations
+1 518 786 6488

Tom Murnane
Masto Public Relations
+1 518 786 6488

All Topics