For Immediate Release: November 22, 1996
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 - 654 - 4989

San Diego Turbine Manufacturer Receives Award
from Secretary of Energy O'Leary

A San Diego-based industrial turbine manufacturer has been commended by the U.S. Department of Energy for exceeding the objectives of a program to improve natural gas turbines on time and within the budget.

Hazel O'Leary, Secretary of Energy, presented a Partnership in Excellence Award to Solar Turbines, Inc. at their Kearny Mesa Test Facility in San Diego on Friday, November 22, 1996.

"Natural gas turbines typically produce a third or more of California's electrical power each year," explained Charles Imbrecht, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. "Improvements in gas turbine technology will have an important impact on the state's electricity system by increasing efficiency, thereby lowering fuel consumption and operating costs while reducing air emissions."

In May, 1994, Governor Peter Wilson directed the Energy Commission to initiate the development of the California Gas Turbine Action Alliance. Composed of utilities and independent power producers and reflecting bipartisan support, the Alliance assisted Solar Turbines in securing a $67 million federal grant.

As a result, Solar Turbines is developing an advanced turbine that uses ceramic instead of metal parts to achieve greater efficiency and durability. Since ceramic parts require less cooling, the design and manufacture of the turbine can be simplified. Called the first significant improvement in existing industrial turbines technology in many years, the ceramic design has the potential to be made less expensively.

Producing approximately four megawatts of electricity, the turbine retrofitted with ceramic components will be field tested at an ARCO Oil and Gas plant in Bakersfield in 1997. It is expected to be more efficient and reduce exhaust emissions.

"California is in the forefront of energy research and development," said Imbrecht. "This is anothercreative example of how government can work with California industries to advance energy technology and create jobs."

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