Developing markets drive turbine innovation

Paul Boughton
A raft of joint ventures and new manufacturing centres highlight how investment in turbine technology is becoming focused on the major markets. Sean Ottewell reports.

As power demand rises in India in line with its rapid economic growth, power generation is also expected to increase significantly in the next few decades. In order to meet this demand, India is expected to see the construction of thermal power plants capable of generating 15 GW/y of electricity - a market only rivalled by China.

Planning for this, Hitachi and its subsidiary Hitachi Power Europe have reached an agreement to establish two joint ventures (jvs) with BGR Energy Systems. The jvs will design, manufacture, sell and service steam turbines/generators and boilers, respectively, for supercritical thermal power generation in the 660-1000MW range. Together, they will put in place a framework for the integrated provision of steam turbines, generators and boilers in India, augmenting capacity of power generation equipment and facilitating growth of power generation capacity.

The Hitachi Group has a strong track record supplying many steam turbines and generators as well as boilers for thermal power generation around the world, and has built up sophisticated technologies and expertise in the process. Hitachi Power Europe, which is based in Germany is a leader in energy plant construction. For its part, BGR Energy Systems is a leading Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor and is a manufacturer of power equipment.

Hitachi and BGR Energy Systems reached the new agreement based on a shared vision for the Indian market, which is expected to grow further. The Hitachi Group's aim is to develop an integrated steam turbine, generator and boiler business mainly for coal-fired thermal power generation. BGR Energy Systems aims to strengthen market position and product and price competitiveness through technology transfers from world leaders to drive further business expansion.

Together the three intend to invest in new manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu. Both manufacturing facilities should commence production in 2012. Output will be ramped up in stages, with the facilities eventually able to manufacture steam turbines, generators and boilers for producing 3GW of electricity per annum.

At a more advanced stage is the Ansaldo Thomassen Gulf (ATG) high-tech gas turbine repair centre at new Industrial City of Abu Dhabi (ICAD III) in Musaffah.

ATG, a local company whose shareholders are Ansaldo Thomassen and Saeed Al Mosawe Group, an Abu Dhabi Company, has brought to the region innovative technologies, state-of-the-art equipment and what it describes as some of the world's best resources to create a centre of excellence for the production and repair of gas turbine rotating blades and other gas turbine components.

"This facility will be fundamental to meet at the best in terms of quality and timing the local market needs," said Fausto Nepote, md of Ansaldo Thomassen Gulf. "Our customers will benefit from our premium service without having to bear the cost of shipping their parts to be repaired overseas. This shall also allow a sensible reduction in the turnaround time for parts that are essential for the operation of gas turbines," he added.

Although the traditional scope of ATG has been concentrated on the repair of GE technology components, the new workshop, thanks to the addition of new technologies and to its affiliation with Ansaldo Energia group, will expand to cover other types of gas turbines too.

Dresser-Rand's latest move is an agreement with Kazak company KazTurboRemont (KTR) to establish a long-term business relationship focused on servicing industrial gas turbines.

KTR is a private company headquartered in Astana and operates a state-of-the-art service and repair facility in Atyrau. It specialises in the maintenance and modernisation of gas turbine and gas pump units. The company's clients are primarily located in Kazakhstan, which today is one of the world's leading producers of oil and gas.

"We are thrilled with the agreement with KTR as it is another important step aligned with Dresser-Rand's service globalisation strategy," said Luciano Mozzato, Dresser-Rand's executive vice president, services worldwide.

In other news, GE and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction of South Korea have announced a long-term agreement that extends their global cooperation in the development of next-generation nuclear and fossil steam turbines and generators.

GE and Doosan have collaborated in nuclear and fossil steam turbine and generator projects since 1976, resulting in more than 19GW of fossil and 14GW of nuclear installed capacity in South Korea.

Most recently, the two companies have designed and are producing what will be the largest output, 145MW, nuclear steam turbine and generator in a 60Hz application. They also have collaborated on ultra-supercritical large fossil designs that are more efficient.

"This agreement strengthens our relationship to develop advanced designs for the next generation of steam turbines and generators in South Korea and globally," said Dongsoo Suh, executive vice president and head of Doosan's power plant business group.

The immediate focus of the GE-Doosan agreement will be the development of a larger output steam turbine-generator for the next-generation nuclear reactors in South Korea.

In the US, Alstom has opened a state-of-the-art, US$300m manufacturing facility in Chattanooga which will produce steam turbines, gas turbines, large turbo-generators and related equipment for the North American fossil fuel and nuclear power generation market. It will also retrofit existing steam turbines with leading edge technology (Fig. 1)."

The Chattanooga factory is equipped with a balancing facility that allows it to manufacture the largest turbines in the world, Alstom's ARABELLE 1700MW class nuclear steam turbine. The turbo-generator components will also be manufactured in this facility. Its size is particularly relevant to the nuclear industry, both for retrofitting existing equipment to make it more efficient or building the equipment that will be needed for the next generation of power plants.

Alstom already operates turbine manufacturing facilities notably in France, Germany, Switzerland and China. Alstom's expansion of its Chattanooga facility is consistent with the company's larger clean power strategy in the US and worldwide. As part of that strategy, the company has also announced plans to build a wind power assembly facility in Amarillo, Texas, that will position the group as a major player able to meet the needs of the growing North American wind power market.

Finally, Siemens Energy has received an order from US power company NRG Energy to supply two SCC6-5000F Flex-Plant 10 combined cycle power islands in El Segundo, California. The two power islands, which feature fast-start technology, low start up emissions and water usage, can generate 300MW within 10 minutes.

Once the power islands go online in the spring of 2013, they will be able to power 240,000 households.

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