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Confluence of physical, digital changing the world: GE Power

GE is looking to provide value across services, next-generation analytics, AI and digital, and plays across the entire engineering value chain

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Pradeep Chakraborty
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GE has been driving the world forward by tackling its biggest challenges. It is bringing real progress and possibility to every corner of the planet — safely delivering people where they need to go; powering homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses; and offering more precise diagnostics and care when patients need it most.

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At an exclusive event to mark the completion of GE Power Engineering’s 20 years in India, at the GE campus in Bangalore, Alok Nanda, CEO, GE India Technology Center & CTO, GE South Asia, and Mariasundaram Antony, GM, India Engineering Operations, GE Power, shared their views.

Alok Nanda, CEO, GE India Technology Center & CTO, GE South Asia, said: "India is an innovation engine. The GE India Technology Center is perhaps the biggest in the world. GE is working in power, heath care and aviation sectors. The different sectors started at different times. When we started the center, it was around skill development work. The power and aviation centers were called the engineering analysis centers. There is more value in developing IP. That's the next phase of our journey.

"We started owning gas turbine designs with our global teams. The next phase was of the organic growth. Now, 65-80 percent of GE's revenue comes from outside of USA and Western Europe. We started creating solutions for the market. Other Asian markets also grew and started manufacturing. GE took the maximum benefit and teams became the growth engines in Asia. Innovation became the prime thing. We have almost 4,000 patents. We became the growth engine for the company.

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"The next phase is digital. In 2020 and beyond, you can buy enough computational power. Suddenly our design is no longer held by constraints. With AI and ML, the expectations and growth projections are vast. Its time now to make it economically feasible to include them into our products. Confluence of physical and digital is changing the world."

Mariasundaram Antony, GM, India Engineering Operations, added: “When you talk about power plants, you look at the engineering and the efficiency, flexibility and reliability. You need to design the best product, that gives best efficiency, reliability and flexibility. It is all about partnerships and application engineering that enables working with customers to offer the best solution. Gas turbine technology and design is done with collaborative efforts. A gas plant needs requisition engineering for its build up. We look at reducing cycle times, which can help customers power up their plants quicker and start generating revenue. We have sold over 100 HA machines globally, and a good number of them, mostly across Asia.”

GE Power Engineering today plays across the entire engineering value chain and is looking to provide value across services, next-generation analytics, AI and digital. The focus will continue to be on efficiency, reliability and flexibility for the power plants, which the customer is keen on.

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He added: “We are also working on supporting the energy transition.. There is heavy growth of the different forms of energy. We are working on hybrid technology. Storage is another area. Affordability is going to be important. That also depends on fuel cost. Additive is yet another area. It is a different way of looking at manufacturing. How do you use it? It is bringing the costs down. There are benefits of additive, even in the gas turbine segment. Additive will change the way manufacturing is done.”

Nanda elaborated: “GE has gas turbines in aviation and power. There is reliability as well. Eg., if you coat a material differently, there will be different implications. Flexibility plays a big part in power plants of today. It also means providing fuel flexibility, apart from generation flexibility. In India, the per capita consumption of electricity is very low. India’s needs are only going to grow in future. Our products are always ahead of environmental norms. We are very happy to contribute to the growth of renewables.

"Storage has seen at least four times drop in battery cost. As the EV industry ramps up, the battery cost will further go down. There are other ways to reduce power and store energy, besides lithium. It is very much linked to the EV growth. Our renewable reservoir technology recently got implemented in the USA and Australia. About one-third of the world's electricity is probably supplied by GE."

Antony noted: “We have examples of Germany and Australia. We need to provide the best option for inclusive energy mix. Apac nations are land constrained. We are positioning solutions that can help them manage the grid most efficiently."

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