“GE’s a 130-year-old company founded by Thomas Edison. And it’s changed a lot over 130 years. But we’ve always had one thing in common: using innovation and technology to lift up the quality of life for people everywhere. That’s never been more important than it is today.”
These remarks from Roger Martella, GE and GE Vernova chief sustainability officer, at last year’s COP27 conference still ring true. Building on that 131-year legacy, GE’s future independent public companies, GE Vernova and GE Aerospace, will be discussing and demonstrating advanced technologies this week at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Amid technical breakthroughs and new public-private partnerships, it’s clearer than ever that technology will be the key to solving climate change, accelerating decarbonization, and transitioning to cleaner energy.
With these efforts gaining traction and leaders recognizing climate action as an opportunity rather than a hindrance, Martella believes this will be “the most consequential COP since Paris,” referring to the 2015 conference in which 200 nations signed a groundbreaking agreement to fight climate change. “Just as the Paris Agreement carries impact past 2015, the UAE [COP] is similarly going to make a permanent mark on the direction of climate action going forward.”
In a recent statement, Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova, underscored the commitment to achieving net zero by 2050 in collaboration with customers and employees worldwide: “As we plan to bring GE’s energy business portfolio together to form a single company focused on helping to solve the energy transition globally, our innovative technologies are poised to create more sustainable energy today and tomorrow.” GE Vernova, slated to spin off in the beginning of the second quarter of 2024, remains resolute in its mission to electrify the world while simultaneously working to decarbonize it, particularly within the framework of COP28.
We’ve gathered some of the highlights of GE’s exhibits at COP28, which demonstrate the company’s efforts to transform the future of energy and flight by making power more reliable, affordable, and sustainable.
U.S. Innovation: Pathways Toward Net Zero
U.S. Center, Blue Zone
As part of the Corporate Coalition for Innovation and Technology Toward Net Zero (CCITNZ), GE and nine other industrial leaders are collaborating to support governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders in harnessing technology to help address climate change. Visitors to the U.S. Center can get an immersive look at their achievements. Featuring a semicircular, floor-to-ceiling LED screen, the group’s interactive display highlights projects from members and partners that are helping nations and businesses advance climate goals.
Between them, GE Vernova and GE Aerospace are showcasing dozens of different initiatives and technologies in the exhibit. GE Vernova’s lineup illustrates the company’s efforts to electrify and decarbonize the world. For example, the 3.4-megawatt onshore wind turbine featured in the virtual display is only the newest of the company’s 54,000 installed wind turbines; all told, GE Vernova technology is installed in more than 400 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy worldwide.
GE Vernova is also working to reduce the carbon emissions of gas turbines through hydrogen and carbon capture solutions. The virtual display chronicles the company’s efforts to retrofit a LM6000 gas turbine in Long Island, New York, to burn a blend of green hydrogen. It is now one of more than 120 GE Vernova units running on hydrogen fuel blends, representing approximately 8.5 million operating hours.
A crucial piece to accelerating the energy transition is modernizing and digitizing the grid. The interactive exhibit highlights GE Vernova’s state-of-the-art high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission system, which will transmit power for TenneT’s innovative 2-GW program in the Dutch and German North Sea, and the company’s GridOS software, the world’s first software engineered for grid orchestration.
But the energy transition goes beyond just the energy sector: Air travel accounted for approximately 2% of global CO2 emissions last year. GE Aerospace supports aviation industry efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and the CCITNZ exhibit highlights how the company is inventing the future of flight. One of the first steps: better fuel efficiency. The new GE9X engine is the world’s largest and most powerful certified commercial aircraft engine — and GE Aerospace’s most efficient per pounds of thrust. Incorporating cutting-edge technologies, the GE9X delivers 10% greater fuel efficiency than its predecessor, with nitrogen oxide emissions less than half of regulatory limits.
GE Aerospace is also using the exhibit to support industry adoption of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), an active area of research at GE Aerospace for more than 15 years. Made from feedstocks, plant oils, algae, greases, or fats, SAF reduces life-cycle CO2 emissions from those of conventional jet fuel. All GE Aerospace aircraft engines can operate on approved SAF blends; in fact, GE Aerospace engines fueled partly by SAF have already powered commercial aircraft, including a recent demonstration flight conducted by Emirates on an Airbus A380.
The exhibit also showcases two of the most advanced flight technology programs in development at GE Aerospace today. More than 1,000 GE engineers around the globe are collaborating on the RISE (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines) program, currently being developed by CFM International, a 50-50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. Expected to introduce new commercial aviation technologies by the mid-2030s, the next-generation demonstrator engine will be compatible with alternative fuels like SAF and aims to achieve fuel consumption and CO2 emissions that will be more than 20% lower than today’s most efficient engines. And GE Aerospace is also developing an integrated, megawatt-class hybrid electric propulsion system as part of NASA’s Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project. Hybrid electric systems are agnostic to fuel type, so they could magnify the benefits of lower carbon options. Flight tests are planned for this decade.
Watch the unveiling of the CCITNZ technology showcase on Saturday, December 2, 2:30-2:45 p.m. GST (5:30-5:45 a.m. EST), which will be livestreamed from the U.S. Center website.
Small Modular Reactor Virtual Reality Experience
Net Zero Nuclear Pavilion, Blue Zone
“I think nuclear is going to be the headline of COP28,” Martella said in September. To show how nuclear power can be one of the keys to solving the climate puzzle, GE Vernova will stage a virtual reality display of the GE Hitachi BWRX-300 small modular nuclear reactor. Engineered to provide carbon-free, flexible, dispatchable electrical generation while helping nations meet energy security goals, the BWRX-300 exemplifies the role nuclear could play in delivering more sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity.
Wonders of Wind: Double Down to 3XRenewables by 2030
Next to Visitors Center 7, Blue Zone
Wind has been powering the transition to a more sustainable future since the 1970s. At the Wind Technology Showcase, GE Vernova will demonstrate its contributions to the 3XRenewables by 2030 campaign — a call to triple global renewable power capacity over the course of this decade.
GE Vernova will display a 2-meter tip from its 200-foot prototype recyclable wind turbine blade, engineered by its subsidiary LM Wind Power as part of the ZEBRA (Zero wastE Blade ReseArch) consortium. Made from resin and high-performance glass, the blade can be recycled by breaking down the resin and then separating the glass fiber. The exhibit also features replicas of the blade tip covered by educational facts on renewable energy, as well as unique artwork from eight artists from around the world. The creations feature the COP28 themes of diversity, energy, food, health, nature, trade, transport, and water — and the common humanity and power needed to drive them all forward.
Guests can also explore GE Vernova’s Haliade-X offshore wind turbine through an immersive VR experience that transports them to the high seas. Launched in 2018, the Haliade-X is aimed at making offshore wind energy more affordable. A single rotation of its blades can power the equivalent of one U.K. home for two days and save up to 53,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
GE Vernova Experience Center
GE Dubai Internet City Offices
Just 20 minutes from the grounds of COP28, the GE Vernova Experience Center invites visitors to discover, interact with, and immerse themselves in a unique technology exhibition spanning the power generation, transmission, and distribution sectors. Spread across three distinct exhibits, the center features:
- Industry-leading technologies electrifying the world
- Advanced solutions working to decarbonize the energy sector
- Breakthrough innovations under development to accelerate the journey to net zero
From emissions management software demos and VR experiences to an actual component of a high-efficiency gas turbine, a direct air capture model, and more, the displays present innovations that are helping to power our world today and shape the future of energy.
The Experience Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. GST, November 29–December 13. Reservations to book a tour can be made at [email protected].
Key GE Events and Participation at COP28
GE leaders are also participating in more than 35 speaking engagements with governments, customers, and international organizations to share their experiences in driving the energy transition and investing in the future of flight. Here’s a preview of the initial events set to be accessible through livestream:
“Technology Triumphs: How U.S. Policy Is Accelerating Business Investment”
Featuring Scott Strazik, CEO, GE Vernova • Saturday, December 2, 4:15–5:15 p.m. GST (7:15–8:15 a.m. EST)
More than one year and $270 billion of new capital investment announcements later, the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is transforming the landscape of the U.S. economy and the pathway toward the U.S. NDC goal of reducing emissions 50% to 52% by 2030. At this event, CEOs and senior executives in major segments of the U.S. economy — automotive, clean tech, industry, finance, and electric power — will discuss how recent federal legislation is catalyzing new and additional investment flows into manufacturing, infrastructure, operations, and research and development of next-generation technologies. Watch live here.
“Towards a Sustainable Energy System, Cutting Edge Solutions”
Featuring Maví Zingoni, Power CEO, GE Vernova • Monday, December 4, 12:48–1:15 p.m. GST (3:48–4:15 a.m. EST)
Launched in 2008, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a global initiative championed by the UAE and its clean-energy powerhouse, Masdar. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will host a special edition at COP28. The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit will bring together forward-thinking leaders from finance, investment, business, the public sector, and civil society to identify pathways to accelerate the just transition to a net zero future. Tune in live here.
“Energy Systems of the Future”
Featuring Roger Martella, chief sustainability officer, GE, and vice president of government affairs and sustainability, GE Vernova • Tuesday, December 5, 4:50–5:30 p.m. GST (7:50–8:30 a.m. EST)
The world is seeing historic levels of investment in renewable energy and landmark legislation to support the energy transition — but the commitments are not yet enough to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Advancements in hydrogen, energy storage, and nuclear technologies show promise in helping countries decarbonize, but the timeline for innovation and deployment remains up in the air, particularly as challenges around the buildout of required infrastructure persist. As the global community works to resolve these issues, it must also ensure that the energy transition is equitable, and that markets for clean technology trade are modernized for a resource-constrained world. As part of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum, this event will examine how the private and public sectors’ engagement on these outstanding issues will shape the transition to a net zero future and set its pace. Tune in live here.
COP28 kicks off today and continues through Tuesday, December 12. To learn more, visit the COP28 website.