POWER’s 2023 Plant of the Year: Estrella del Mar III

For more than four decades, POWER magazine has honored the top performers in the electricity-generating industry with annual power plant awards. Award winners are selected by the editors of POWER based on nominations submitted by industry insiders, including suppliers, designers, constructors, and operators of power plants.

Winning POWER’s Plant of the Year in 2023 is Estrella del Mar III, a first-of-its-kind floating combined cycle gas turbine power barge that Sonal Patel, senior associate editor for POWER, said fulfills a remarkable assortment of modern power system demands. “Nearly fully built in Singapore by an international team that delicately integrated shipbuilding and power engineering, the pioneering SeaFloat plant sailed more than 10,000 miles for final commissioning in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. The innovative 148-MW project exemplifies an efficient, ecological, economical, and resilient power solution that triumphs over land and cost constraints,” she wrote in the cover story for the July issue of POWER.

“This is actually the highest form of modularization, bringing a fully equipped power plant to the heart of the capital without requirements of precious land,” Hamed Hossain, business owner of Siemens Energy’s SeaFloat segment, said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. Hossain explained that with SeaFloat on the menu, Siemens Energy customers can choose to build power plants either on land or on a floating device. “This opens entirely new possibilities for customers,” he said.

Constructing SeaFloat plants in a shipyard rather than on-site offers a number of benefits. Hossain noted that an experienced workforce is often readily available in the shipyard environment. Furthermore, the impact on the local community during the construction phase of the power plant is minimized. Hossain said building the power barge directly in the heart of Santo Domingo would surely have affected residents, for example, with possible traffic restrictions and other complications.

Estrella del Mar III is a state-of-the-art combined cycle power plant. It is equipped with two SGT-800 gas turbines (GTs) built in a Siemens Energy factory in Sweden, and an SST-600 steam turbine manufactured in Görlitz, Germany. “We have ensured to bring typical land-based plant efficiency to the heart of the beautiful island, Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, on a floating device,” Hossain said.

Notably, the SGT-800 gas turbines are capable of operating currently on a blend of up to 75% hydrogen, and Siemens Energy has a pathway to 100% hydrogen by the end of the decade or sooner. This is an important development as countries move to decarbonize their power supplies. “We need to find the best way for a net-zero future,” said Hossain. “We are not there yet, but the capability to run the GTs with hydrogen is a huge step in that direction.”

To hear the full interview with Hossain, which contains more about SeaFloat plants in general and the Estrella del Mar III power plant in particular, listen to The POWER Podcast. Click on the SoundCloud player below to listen in your browser now or use the following links to reach the show page on your favorite podcast platform:

For more power podcasts, visit The POWER Podcast archives.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).

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