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News » Search News » 2007 News Releases » Duke Energy Carolinas and GE Energy Successfully Conduct First-of-a-Kind Biodiesel Field Tests

Duke Energy Carolinas and GE Energy Successfully Conduct First-of-a-Kind Biodiesel Field Tests July 17, 2007

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Duke Energy and GE Energy successfully conducted first-of-a-kind biodiesel field tests last week at the Mill Creek Combustion Turbine Station located near Blacksburg, S.C.

The tests used soybean oil blended with diesel fuel in an 80 megawatt (MW) combustion turbine to generate electricity. Several different blends of the biodiesel fuel, ranging from 20 percent to 100 percent were tested.

Although smaller biodiesel tests have been performed in the past, last week’s tests in an 80 MW combustion turbine were the largest ever conducted in the United States.

“Successful completion of these tests furthers Duke Energy’s commitment to increase the use of renewable fuels to produce power for our customers,” said Jim Turner, Duke Energy group executive and president and chief operating officer for U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas. “The results will help us evaluate the potential future use of biodiesel fuels in our natural gas and oil-fueled fleet.” All testing complied with strict U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

GE Energy assisted in coordinating the testing, provided the operational and emissions analysis prior to the testing, and is analyzing data following the testing. “We’re very pleased to participate in this pilot project,” said John Reinker, general manager of the heavy-duty gas turbine and combined-cycle product line for GE Energy. “We know that our customers have a great need for fuel diversity for environmental reasons, as well as to address energy security and cost concerns. This collaborative effort should have a positive impact on our expanding gas turbine fuel flexibility programs.”

Other companies assisting with the pilot include:

  • Peter Cremer North America produced the fuel and provided fuel analysis for the testing.
  • TransMontaigne Product Services Inc. provided fuel management and transportation to the plant for the tests.
  • DP Project Solutions LLC provided project engineering, expertise for fuel handling and treatment for the tests.
  • Electric Power Research Institute served as a coordinator for additional utilities’ participation and related potential additional funding.
  • Hightowers Petroleum Co. provided guidance for fuel supply for operations beyond the pilot tests.

“The biodiesel tests at Mill Creek involved some of the industry’s top experts in the biodiesel field,” Turner said. “Duke Energy will continue exploring fuel options for meeting our customers’ growing energy needs – including the use of fuels that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no silver bullet, but we are committed to a comprehensive energy portfolio that includes nuclear, coal, hydro, renewables and energy efficiency to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity for our customers.”

Soybean-based biodiesel is derived from agricultural resources that sequester carbon dioxide as part of the natural growing cycle of the plant. When burned as a biodiesel fuel in tests such as this pilot, there are little, if any, resulting net carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Fast facts about Mill Creek Combustion Turbine Station:

  • A 640-megawatt oil and natural gas-fueled plant owned and operated by Duke Energy, it began commercial operation in 2003. The plant typically operates to provide electricity during periods of peak demand.
  • The station consists of eight separate units. The biodiesel pilot testing was conducted on one of the units.
  • The Mill Creek site was chosen for the testing because of the location and design of the GE Energy equipment on the site, and potential applicability to other combustion turbines across the fleet.

GE Energy ( is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2006 revenue of $19 billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels.  Numerous GE Energy products are certified under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.

Duke Energy Corp., one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, supplies and delivers energy to approximately 3.9 million U.S. customers. The company has nearly 37,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Midwest and the Carolinas, and natural gas distribution services in Ohio and Kentucky. In addition, Duke Energy has more than 4,000 megawatts of electric generation in Latin America, and is a joint-venture partner in a U.S. real estate company.

Duke Energy's Carolinas operations include nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides nearly 21,000 megawatts of safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity to more than 2.3 million electric customers in a 22,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at:

Contact: Marilyn Lineberger
Phone: 704-382-6848
24-Hour Phone: 704-382-8333

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