New regulations drive turbine innovations

Paul Boughton

Ever more stringent rules about emissions, plus industry's demand for greater turbine efficiency, are behind the latest developments. Sean Ottewell explains.

GE's advanced power generation technology has been selected for a project near Marble Falls, Texas, that will replace an aging, less efficient power plant with a flexible, higher efficiency combined-cycle power plant that offers reduced fuel use, emissions and water consumption for the power it generates.

When the plant begins commercial operation, expected in the summer of 2014, it will be the first combined-cycle plant in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region that meets the latest US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas regulations.

GE will supply two Frame 7FA gas turbine-generators in a two-on-one combined-cycle plant, along with installation and commissioning and technical assistance, to Fluor Corporation the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the Ferguson Replacement Project.

TheLower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), a public utility, will own and operate the new 540 MW facility, which is replacing the 420MW, 37-year-old Thomas C Ferguson power plant at the site.[Page Break]

"This new, advanced technology combined-cycle power plant will use significantly less fuel than the gas-fired plant it is replacing," said Michael McCluskey, manager of LCRA generation resource development. "The plant will provide a more efficient, cleaner source of electricity for the community, and the project construction will make a significant contribution to the area's economy."

"Our advanced 7FA Gas Turbine technology is more efficient, has fewer emissions and offers greater operating flexibility than previous technologies," said Paul Browning, president and ceo - thermal products for GE Energy. "It is an excellent match for LCRA's requirements for a project that will bring numerous energy, environmental and economic benefits to the region."

Browning added: "There are many opportunities in the US today similar to the LCRA project to replace older plants, both gas-fired and coal-fired. With our 7FA technology, we are well positioned to help customers cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 50 per cent."[Page Break]

The GE Frame 7FA gas turbine offers expanded operational flexibility with fast start capability, high ramping rates and extended emissions-compliant turndown, enabling power plant operators to satisfy both their energy production and environmental goals (Fig. 1).

GE's 7FA gas turbines use proven technology and currently provide 15 per cent of North America's electricity capacity. More than 750 GE 7FA gas turbines are operating worldwide and have compiled more than 25 million fired hours.

Also in the US, Siemens Energy, along with its consortium partner Kvaerner North American Construction, has achieved substantial completion of the 695MW supercritical pulverised coal-fired power plant located in Maidsville, West Virginia. The plant was turned over to Longview Power, LLC, which is a subsidiary of the American company, GenPower Holdings.[Page Break]

"This project demonstrates that highly efficient coal-fired power plants indeed go hand in hand with low emissions and a high degree of environmental compatibility," stated Hal S Simonds, director of projects, energy solutions - Americas at Siemens Fossil Power Generation Division. "The performance levels guaranteed by Siemens in the contract were not only maintained but were all surpassed as well."

Siemens delivered an SST6-6000 steam turbine, an SGen6-3000W generator and the SPPA-T3000 control system for the Longview plant. The company also supplied an innovative system for air pollution control and emissions reduction for the plant which cuts emissions of dust, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides and mercury, thus making a crucial contribution to cleaner coal-based power generation.[Page Break]

Meanwhile the company is continuing to expand its worldwide network of gas turbine manufacturing facilities with a US$350m (EUR268m), 42,000m2 plant in Charlotte, North Carolina, creating 700 new jobs.

And in Mexico, Siemens has signed a contract with Minera México for the turnkey supply of a second combined cycle power plant. Minera México is a subsidiary of Grupo México, the country's largest mining company and one of the world's largest copper producers. The plant is scheduled to achieve commercial operation in the spring of 2014, at which point will be able to supply electricity to the company's copper mines. With the Siemens high-efficiency combined cycle power plant, Grupo México will be able to reduce its production costs and thus further strengthen its competitive position.[Page Break]

Latest aeroderivative

Pratt & Whitney Power Systems has announced the development of its latest aeroderivative industrial gas turbine, the FT4000 SWIFTPAC.

This next generation gas turbine is based on one of the aviation industry's most widely utilised aircraft engines, the flight-proven PW4000 class turbofan engine, which has 26 million hours on more than 850 engines for the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777.

Designed for simple cycle, combined cycle or cogeneration and available in 60 and 120MW power blocks, Pratt & Whitney says the FT4000 SWIFTPAC will provide the highest power output of any aeroderivative gas turbine generator package available in the market.

"Pratt & Whitney has a long legacy of delivering extremely reliable, efficient and dependable aircraft engines, and we're using the core technology from these engines to deliver a next generation gas turbine package ideally suited for our customers," said Peter Christman, president, Pratt & Whitney Power Systems. "In terms of price, power output, efficiency, emissions and availability, we're confident that the FT4000 SWIFTPAC will be a very attractive solution for utilities and power providers."

With a modular design that includes proven features of the successful FT8 SWIFTPAC (Fig.2) and MOBILEPAC power plants, the next generation FT4000 SWIFTPAC offers a nominal 60 and 120MW package of reliable peaking and base-load power in a compact footprint.

The SWIFTPAC design accommodates a 60MW single engine or a 120MW dual engine configuration, and provides the operational flexibility inherent with aeroderivative turbines, including quick start characteristics.

The FT4000 SWIFTPAC utilises a modified core compressor and turbine from its aero parent, maintaining more than 90 per cent part commonality with the PW4170 and PW4090 engines. The next generation product's new low pressure compressor and industrial power turbine are designed for durability and enhanced on-site maintainability, and its high speed and advanced airfoil design and variable geometry translate into optimised performance. The new package also provides wet compression for improved performance above ISO conditions, and offers greater than 41 per cent efficiency without the complexity of intercooling.[Page Break]

Increasing global demand for electricity, sustained high prices of oil, and regulatory efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions make gas turbines an especially attractive source of power generation. Gas-fired power plants produce less carbon dioxide when burned than either coal or petroleum, and recent advances in natural gas production are leading to a more affordable and abundant fuel supply.

Because the FT4000 SWIFTPAC can start rapidly and follow load demand, it is also well positioned to complement intermittent and irregular renewable power generation sources.

"While the product is in development, we will be discussing this next generation power solution with our existing FT8 customers only," said David Maher, director of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems next generation products. "The FT4000 is in full scale development, and we anticipate the first prototype will be available in 2013, and full scale production will be underway in 2014."

As a next generation product, the FT4000 SWIFTPAC builds on over 50 years of aero-derivative packaging experience. Pratt & Whitney Power Systems has leveraged the advanced technology of its proven aircraft engines and uniquely applied it to become a leader in power generation solutions. The PWPS gas turbine engine portfolio offers competitive, efficient and flexible products at 25MW to 60MW of power. Power Systems has more than 2000 industrial gas turbines installed in over 50 countries worldwide.Page Break]

A trailer-mounted aeroderivative

GE's flexible, efficient, trailer-mounted TM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine recently received ecomagination qualification for its ability to help power industries and cities during environmental, economic and emergency power challenges.

GE's TM2500+ joins the FlexAero LM6000-PH, LM6000-PCe, LM6000-PF and LMS100 among GE's growing list of ecomagination-qualified products.

When compared with the previous version, the TM2500, it provides customers with faster, more flexible distributed power generation by combining high efficiency, better fuel gas consumption and fuel flexibility, coupled with lower emissions in both the 50 and 60Hz segments.

The TM2500+ is a workhorse in the global aeroderivative mobile fleet. With a GE Aviation CF6-6 engine at its core, the TM2500+ resides on two trailers and can provide up to 31 MW of power generation in days due to its unique roll-on, roll-off capabilities for air, ship or road transportation. It is the portable version of the LM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine, which has been the backbone of the global fleet since it was unveiled in 1969.

"GE's legacy of innovation and American ingenuity is showcased in the TM2500+," said Darryl Wilson, president and ceo - aeroderivative gas turbines for GE Power & Water. "Our engineers took the successful TM2500 and drove lean, innovative processes to make it even better to meet the needs for fast, emergency or mobile power."

To earn ecomagination qualification, a product is evaluated for its ability to significantly and measurably improve the customer's environmental and operating performance.

Green Order, a consulting firm, helps verify the rigorous, multi-tiered qualification process to ensure accuracy and thorough documentation of technological performance.

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