Combined Cycle Configuration Driving Turbine Markets, Reports Frost & Sullivan

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, “North American Gas and Steam Turbine Markets,” 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. This setup consists of one or more gas turbines combined with a steam turbine. As exhaust is discharged from the gas turbine, these fumes are captured in a heat recovery steam generator and used to drive the steam turbine.

“This type of configuration can often near 60 percent efficiency, compared to a single gas turbine in a simple cycle that generates 35 to 40 percent efficiency,” said 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 shown solid increases in sales.”

The combined cycle configuration allows greater versatility for power producers. For example, with a two-gas, one-steam turbine setup, one of the gas turbines can be turned off during low-load or maintenance periods, while the rest of the machine continues to run at an optimum level.

With anticipated brown outs this summer and the high costs of electricity in places like San Diego, gas turbine manufacturers and power plant developers will focus throughout the next several years bringing new capacity on-line. Some turbine manufacturers have reported order backlogs stretching to the year 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.”

Companies that participated within this industry include: ABB Alstom Power; Demag Delaval; Dresser-Rand; Elliott Turbo Machinery; General Electric; General Electric Power Systems; General Electric S&S; Kawasaki Motors Corp., Gas Turbine Division; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Murray Turbo Machinery; Pratt and Whitney; Rolls Royce Energy Systems Inc.; Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp.; Solar Turbines; Toshiba; Trigen; Tuthill Energy Systems; ADMIC Controls; Mercury Electric Corp.; New Energy Ventures; Preco Turbine & Compressor Services Inc.; Sonat Power Systems; U.S. Turbine Corp.; Wood Group Gas Turbines, and Electrical Generating System Associations.