A Bull Market for Gas Turbines

by Russell Ray, Power Engineering

In a dramatic battle for a bigger piece of the generation pie, the global gas turbine market is thriving with new innovations, new projects and new ventures.

Led by increasing demand for flexible, efficient and small-scale generation, North America is becoming one of the strongest markets for gas turbine manufacturers.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said in May his company sees “excellent market-entry opportunities, especially in North America.” To foster this mission, Siemens agreed to buy a unit of Rolls Royce that builds small aeroderivative gas turbines for $1.32 billion. The business is based in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

“The acquisition of the aeroderivative gas turbine business of Rolls-Royce closes a gap in our portfolio and broadens our access to the attractive market for small gas turbines, a market projected to grow about 8 percent in the coming years,” said Ralf Thomas, chief fiancial officer at Siemens, during a conference call with reporters.

Kaeser also appointed American Lisa Davis, a vice president at Royal Dutch Shell PLC, to serve as chief of the company’s power business and announced plans to move the headquarters of Siemens’ power business to the U.S., where its rival GE is based.

“We have lost the active penetration, the active strategy development” in the American market, Kaeser said in May after a press conference in Berlin. “We have to win that back with a strategic presence in the U.S.”

The rivalry between GE and Siemens intensified in May after GE offered $13.5 billion for the power generation and transmission units of Alstom. To preserve its dominance in foreign markets, Siemens submitted a competing offer for the French turbine manufacturer. The bidding war over Alstom’s power generation and transmission businesses continued until June, when GE’s offer was accepted.

Forecast International, a research firm, estimates that more than 12,000 gas turbines worth $218 billion will be sold worldwide over the next 10 years. Information from McCoy Power Reports, another research firm, shows GE held 49 percent of the global gas turbine market in 2013, followed by Siemens with 23 percent, Mitsubishi Hitachi with 17 percent and Alstom with 2 percent.

Aeroderivative gas turbines are being used in a variety of combined-cycle gas turbine configurations, providing fast-start and cycling capabilities while retaining the overall efficiency of an integrated system. With power generation from natural gas and intermittent renewable sources on the rise in the U.S., the use of industrial gas turbines will increase and the competition to offer customers a full range of solutions will intensify.

GE’s H-Class Gas Turbines

In a 1x1 combined-cycle configuration, the 7HA.01 from GE is rated at 405 MW and the 7HA.02 is rated at 486 MW, with each offering more than 61 percent efficiency  GE Power & Water.
In a 1×1 combined-cycle configuration, the 7HA.01 from GE is rated at 405 MW and the 7HA.02 is rated at 486 MW, with each offering more than 61 percent efficiency. Photo courtesy GE Power & Water.

Meanwhile, GE recently introduced the 7HA and 9HA air-cooled gas turbines. The H-class gas turbine comes in two versions for the 50 Hz market, the 9HA.01 and 9HA.02, and two versions for the 60 Hz market, the 7HA.01 and 7HA.02. They are, GE said, the “world’s largest and most efficient gas turbines, with combined-cycle efficiencies better than 61 percent.”

The 9HA.01 is rated at 397 MW and the 9HA.02 is rated at 470 MW in a simple-cycle configuration, with each offering more than 41 percent efficiency. In a 1×1 combined-cycle configuration, the 9HA.01 is rated at 592 MW and the 9HA.02 is rated at 701 MW, with each offering more than 61 percent efficiency.

The 7HA.01 is rated at 275 MW and the 7HA.02 is rated at 330 MW in a simple-cycle configuration, with each offering more than 41 percent efficiency. In a 1×1 combined-cycle configuration, the 7HA.01 is rated at 405 MW and the 7HA.02 is rated at 486 MW, with each offering more than 61 percent efficiency. According to GE, the H-class gas turbine incorporates an aerodynamic 14-stage compressor and includes an advanced radial diffuser which, combined with the Dry Low NOX 2.6+Axial Fuel Staged combustion system, allows improved operation of the combustion liner and transition piece cooling.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Signs Deal for 501J Gas Turbine

The M501J gas turbine is known for its higher firing temperatures and improved efficiency. The J-series gas turbine is able to operate at a turbine inlet temperature of 1600OC (2912OF)  Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas
The M501J gas turbine is known for its higher firing temperatures and improved efficiency. The J-series gas turbine is able to operate at a turbine inlet temperature of 1600OC (2912OF). Photo courtesy Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas.

A deal to build what might be the most efficient combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in the U.S. was finalized in April.

Executives from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and officers from the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to sign contracts for a 328-MW gas turbine known as the 501J and a 167-MW steam turbine. The 495-MW unit will replace an old coal-fired unit at the Grand River Energy Center near Chouteau.

The project is the first of its kind in the Western world. The J-Series gas turbine is the largest and most efficient gas turbine in the world, according to Mitsubishi Hitachi. Nine are in commercial operation worldwide, including six in South Korea.

The 501J is known for its higher firing temperatures and improved efficiency. The J-series gas turbine is able to operate at a turbine inlet temperature of 1600OC (2912OF) by integrating the technologies used in the 1400OC F-series and 1500OC G and H-series turbines.

“One of the big features of this machine is its efficiency,” said Bill Newsom, vice president of new equipment sales and commercial operations for Mitsubishi Hitachi. “At 50 percent output, you’re still above 55 percent combined-cycle efficiency.”

The new combined-cycle plant is expected to be up and running in spring 2017.

“This unit has the potential to be the most efficient combined-cycle plant in the country,” said Charles Barney, assistant general manager of thermal generation for GRDA.

GRDA CEO Dan Sullivan and Yoshihiro Shiraiwa, then-president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPSA), signed the agreement during a public gathering at the GRDA Engineering and Technology Center in Tulsa. Also present were Takato Nishizawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), and Yasuo Fujitani, senior executive vice president of MHPS.

Yashihiro said the GRDA deal will be the first of many for MHPSA in the U.S.

Flex-Plant Delivers 300 MW in 10 Minutes

Billed as one of the most energy-efficient and responsive power plants in the nation, the new 550-MW El Segundo Energy Center illustrates how far the power generation industry has come in the past 50 years.

Nestled between a cliff and the Pacific Ocean in a well-known beach community, this advanced combined-cycle plant consumes 30 percent less natural gas than the units it replaced and uses rapid-response technology to provide critical backup power for intermittent forms of generation such as wind and solar power.

The new two-unit plant, owned and operated by NRG Energy, uses Flex-Plant technology from Siemens. Each unit features a SGT6-5000F gas turbine. The plant can ramp up to 300 MW in less than 10 minutes and be at full capacity (550 MW) within one hour. That compares to 14 hours to reach full capacity with the old units, originally built in 1955.

The plant’s fast-start capability is perhaps its most valuable feature, especially in California, where utilities and grid managers struggle to maintain a balanced load amid a growing source of intermittent electricity. California law requires power providers to generate 33 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020.

Each power block is rated at 275-MW net output for a total output of 550 MW at 48.9 percent combined-cycle efficiency, making it “the most efficient peaking plant technology available today,” Siemens said. The SGT6-5000F turbine is integrated with a single-pressure, nonreheat bottoming cycle.

In addition to slashing overall NOX, SOX and CO2 emissions, the plant’s start-up emissions are more than 89 percent lower, thanks to a rapid-response technology from Siemens that mitigates stack emissions while ramping up or down.

The plant began commercial operation Aug. 1, 2013. All of the output is delivered to Southern California Edison under a 10-year power purchase agreement. The utility lost more than 2,000 MW of generation capacity because of the unexpected retirement of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station.

Riviera Beach Features Record-setting Gas Turbine

The same H-class turbine used at the Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center set a world record for combined cycle efficiency of 60.75 percent in May 2011 at the Irsching Power Station in Bavaria, Germany. Photo courtesy Florida Power & Light
The same H-class turbine used at the Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center set a world record for combined cycle efficiency of 60.75 percent in May 2011 at the Irsching Power Station in Bavaria, Germany. Photo courtesy Florida Power & Light.

The Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center in Florida began commercial operation in April and uses three SGT6-8000H gas turbines from Siemens. The same H-class turbine was used at the Cape Canaveral Clean Energy Center, which began commercial operation in 2013 near Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The same turbine used at Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral set a world record for combined-cycle efficiency of 60.75 percent in May 2011 at the Irsching Power Station in Bavaria, Germany.

The Riviera Beach facility, owned and operated by Florida Power & Light, is 33 percent more fuel-efficient than the 1960s-era, oil-burning power plant it replaced. In addition, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 50 percent lower and NOX and SOX emissions are more than 90 percent lower vs. emissions from the old plant.

With a capacity of 1,250 MW, the plant produces enough electricity to power 250,000 Florida households.

Siemens has sold 28 H-Class gas turbines worldwide thus far. Nine are in commercial operation with more than 70,000 equivalent operating hours.

How to Restore Lost Output

It is sure to be another hot summer in the U.S.

For gas-fired power plants, higher ambient temperatures translate to a loss of air density and, thus, a loss of generation output.

Bob Kraft, founder and president of PowerPhase LLC, says his company has developed a low-cost solution that restores lost output caused by high ambient temperatures and site elevations. The company’s TurboPhase air injection technology increases the air mass flow rate delivered to the combustion system. This fast, flexible and mobile peaking system can add 5 MW of capacity per module in less than 60 seconds. According to the company, four to five TurboPhase modules can boost the output of an industrial gas turbine by up to 20 percent in simple-cycle configuration and 15 percent in combined-cycle.

“If you do 5 percent injection at a 2×1 plant, you’re going to get a little more than 10 percent increase in output,” Kraft said. “For a 550-MW plant, we’re going to get 55 to 60 MW.”

The “turbocharger” technology features a reciprocating gas or dual-fuel engine, which drives an intercooled compressor. The compressor delivers the added air flow through a recuperator where it is heated by recovered exhaust and flows into the combustion system of the gas turbine.

The TurboPhase module starts in seconds and runs on demand with each module producing 650 F air at 12 pounds per second.

The TurboPhase system is being used in a demonstration project at a cogeneration plant in the Chicago area. Installation occurred during summer 2014.

“There is no other power augmentation or peaking power system that can deliver continuous power near as fast as our system,” Kraft said.

Author

Russell Ray is editor in chief of Power Engineering magazine, a sister publication of Electric Light & Power. Reach him at russellr@pennwell.com


Texas’ Panda Temple Combined-cycle Plant up and Running

The Panda Temple combined-cycle power plant in Temple, Texas, serves the Central Texas region
The Panda Temple combined-cycle power plant in Temple, Texas, serves the Central Texas region.

by Tim Miser, associate editor, Power Engineering

Built on a 250-acre former sunflower field, the 758-MW Panda Temple combined-cycle power plant in Temple is the first flex plant in Texas.

As one of the cleanest natural gas-fired plants in the U.S. fleet, the facility operates at 57.5 percent overall efficiency and can synchronize to the grid in 10 minutes, reach an emissions-compliant 60 percent baseload in 20 minutes, and arrive at full power in an hour.

The power plant was delivered as a turnkey system in a project that brought together the efforts of EPC giant Bechtel and global OEM Siemens. Designed as a power island, all major components of the plant’s power block including turbines, boilers and generators were supplied by Siemens, providing for a composite installation that is highly integrated.

The plant relies on two Siemens SGT6-5000F turbines with shaping power, followed by a newly designed heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) that can use all but 185 degrees of the turbines’ waste heat to generate secondary energy completely emissions-free. Shaping power allows each turbine to increase overall production by 20 percent, providing built-in peaking capacity that can be called upon during hot conditions or other high-demand times. When combined with newly designed boiler technologies that allow the plant to start more quickly, these innovations make the plant highly responsive to grid demand and market opportunities.

Located in the Texas Triangle that includes Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, the Temple plant is well-positioned to provide electricity to an area of the state that needs it badly.

“One thousand new residents move to Texas every day, and the grid must grow to accommodate them,” said Todd Carter, senior partner and president of Panda Power Funds.

The Temple plant will provide enough energy to power 750,000 homes in a 60,000-square-mile area and contribute $1.6 billion to the Central Texas economy.

Jacki Engel, marketing manager for Siemens’ 60 Hz product line, stood outside the plant and looked up.

“I’m very proud of this project,” Engel said. “I know you’re not supposed to think a power plant is beautiful, but I can’t help but see beauty in this facility’s clean functionality.”

An identical plant-Temple II-is being constructed adjacent to the current facility. When it becomes operational in 2015, it will double the plant’s capacity.

Tim Miser is an associate editor of Power Engineering magazine, a sister publication of Electric Light & Power. Reach him at tmiser@pennwell.com

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Russell is chief editor of Power Engineering magazine. Russell has 13 years experience as an energy journalist. Before joining Power Engineering in November 2011, Russell served as senior editor of Hydro Review magazine. He served eight years as the energy reporter for the Tulsa World. He held the same position at the Tampa Tribune for two and half years before joining Hydro Review in 2009.

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