Making Gas Turbines Smarter  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

GigaOm has an article on GE's efforts to make turbines for power generation using natural gas more efficient - Putting data centers on turbines to save billions of dollars.

“We’re almost putting a data center on a gas turbine,” Ruh said during a session at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference on Wednesday morning, referencing the hundreds of sensors the company is placing on those machines to capture data. If those sensors, combined with GE’s (or anyone’s) software for managing and analyzing the data, is able to improve efficiency by just 1 percent, that could save nearly $6 billion a year.

Or think about air travel. Forty-one percent of unplanned downtime for airlines is caused by mechanical errors, Ruh explained, so GE wants to be able to predict when its engines or other airline systems will fail. With this knowledge, carriers can fix problems during scheduled downtime and save everyone precious time.

Speaking of jet engines, Ruh noted just how much potentially predictive data they’re generating. If someone captured everything coming off of a jet engine, he said, “We’re talking several hundred terabytes a day.”

However, he acknowledged, the macro effects of the industrial internet — cost savings, carbon-footprint reductions and efficiency gains — will come with shifts in the employment sector that might not be good for everyone involved. “There will be new kinds of jobs that get created that don’t exist today,” Ruh said. But, he added, “Some things people used to do will be done more efficiently through these machines.”

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