Frost & Sullivan reveal driving force in turbine market

San Jose, Calif.

The combined cycle configuration is a driving force in the gas and steam turbine markets, increasing efficiency of electricity production and leading to more orders of electricity-generating equipment.

According to new strategic research from Frost & Sullivan, the industry experienced unprecedented growth of nearly 339 percent in 1999, generating revenues of $8.22 billion. Strong sales are predicted through 2006.

Several factors have contributed to this growth, most notably the rise of the combined cycle configuration (a setup consisting of one or more gas turbines combined with a steam turbine), but also the lack of capacity expansions and utilities’ general worry over recovering capital costs. Now power plants are on the rise-a major surge that began in 1998, with a special fix on large-scale turbine units greater than 80 MW.

“This type of configuration [combined cycle] can often near 60 percent efficiency, compared to a single gas turbine in a simply cycle that generates 35 to 40 percent efficiency,” says Frost & Sullivan analyst Max Mayer. “This configuration has contributed to the market for associated products like steam turbines and heat recovery steam generators, which have both show solid increases in sales.”

Gas turbine manufacturers and power plant developers will focus throughout the next several years on bringing new capacity online. Some turbine manufacturers have reported order backlogs stretching to 2004.

“Improving efficiency rates is a driving force in turbine technology,” says Mayer. “Turbines are the most efficient generating source in combustion technology used to create electricity. Slight improvements in efficiency percentages translate to lower costs for power plants and thus lower prices for electricity.”

The survey, “North American Gas and Steam Turbine Markets,” authored by Mayer and covering the decade between 1996 and 2006 is available from Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com).

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