The Juiz de Fora Power Plant is a simple-cycle, natural gas plant with a total capacity of 87MW, located in the south of Minas Gerais state, approximately 180km (110 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.

The plant has two GE LM6000 gas turbines, one of whose combustors has been modified by GE to enable the use of ethanol, making it dual-fuel (ethanol and natural gas). This enhances the plant’s energy security and reliability by providing a valuable alternative fuel source for the power plant that previously had only one available fuel, according to the companies.

The companies said that ethanol derived from sugarcane in Brazil is one of the most efficient biofuels in terms of energy balance and carbon emissions. The benefits of this alternative fuel are substantial: it is a renewable energy source and its combustion reduces atmospheric emissions, especially NOX.

Brazil is expected to benefit from incorporating ethanol into its thermal generation profile because of the abundant fuel supply. The country’s 35-year, large-scale experience in ethanol use is based on efficient agricultural technology for sugarcane cultivation, producing 26.9 billion liters (or about 7.3 billion US gallons) in 2008, according to data provided by the Federal Government.

There will be five months of demonstration runs to validate the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel, as well as to ensure that emissions are within the expected limits. GE is providing the conversion technology, engineering and field support during conversion and commissioning.

Darryl Wilson, president and CEO of aeroderivative gas turbines at GE Power & Water, said: ”GE’s continued investment in research and development of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines enables the LM aeroderivative gas turbines to lead in technology, performance and operational flexibility while providing value to the customer.

“The LM series has the ability to operate with a variety of fuels and features advanced emission control technologies.”