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GE Targets Africa to Asia With Off-Grid Power Generators

GE Targets Africa to Asia With Turbines Providing Power Off-Grid
A turbine exhibit at the General Electric Co. engineering center in Queretaro, Mexico. General Electric Co. is the world's biggest maker of jet engines and power-plant turbines. Photographer: Gustavo Graf/Bloomberg

General Electric Co. is focusing on developing economies from Africa to Asia as it seeks to boost sales of electrical turbines derived from jet engines and generators that can provide power by burning landfill gas.

The company is changing the way it markets and sells equipment that can provide power independent of a nation’s electrical grid in an effort to increase its appeal to customers in emerging markets that may need as little as 1 megawatt of generation capacity, said Darryl Wilson, GE’s president of aeroderivative gas turbines, in an interview.

The market for off-grid power equipment, from rooftop solar panels to fuel cells, that can be brought online quickly in remote areas, may grow to $100 billion a year, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE has said. Its energy division accounted for 31 percent of the company’s $142.2 billion in revenue last year, making it the largest industrial division.

“There’s a significant opportunity to address these needs around the world,” Wilson said by telephone yesterday from the Africa Energy Forum conference in Berlin. “In the past, customers might not have come to us unless they needed large increments of power, but now they’ll be thinking of us much sooner.”

GE is bundling products from its Jenbacher gas engines to its TM2500+ jet engine-derived turbines and diesel generators under a new PowerXpand-branded portfolio, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The company sold a pair of Jenbacher gas-powered engines to Diageo Plc, the maker of Guinness beer, for its breweries in Nigeria, Diageo said in a statement on June 26. Its first jet-engine derived turbine in Algeria began operation earlier this week, Wilson said.

GE, the world’s biggest maker of jet engines, power generation equipment and health-care imaging devices, is increasing its focus on faster-growing, resource-rich countries from Mozambique to Peru and Australia. These markets may provide 50 percent of industrial sales by 2020, up from 37 percent last year, according to a presentation to investors in Rio de Janeiro in March.

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