Coal, Gas

New Gas Turbine Technologies Move Toward Wider Commercial Deployment

Issue 9 and Volume 109.

Two of the world’s most advanced gas turbines, GE Energy’s H System designed for large-scale combined-cycle baseload applications, and its LMS100 turbine meant for peaking applications, are advancing toward wider commercial deployment.

At POWER-GEN Europe, GE Energy announced an uprate of its 50-Hz H System model from 480 MW to 520 MW. The H System represents the industry’s most fuel-efficient gas turbine combined-cycle technology and is the first capable of achieving 60 percent thermal efficiency. GE achieved the power output increase by optimizing the original design, which has more than 9,000 hours of operation at Baglan Bay, United Kingdom. Experience with the H System at Baglan Bay demonstrated a lower than expected combustion gas temperature drop across the first stage nozzle, resulting in improved performance.

The uprated H System will optimize the operation of the clearance control system for the first two turbine stages based on test data and performance analysis at Baglan Bay. Additionally, a fuel moisturization system has been added to the H System to increase output by more than 5 MW. The fuel moisturization system consists of a saturator ahead of the traditional fuel heater; water vapor in the amount of approximately 20 percent of the natural gas fuel will be added to the fuel to increase mass flow through the gas turbine. The fuel moisturization system will also reduce NOx emissions by about 3 ppm, according to Brian Ray, general manager of the H System product line. The uprated 9H System is available for orders now and would be shipped as early as 2007.

The H System will see its first application in the United States at the Inland Empire Energy Center in Riverside County, Calif. Independent Energy producer Calpine Corp. and GE Energy have begun construction at the site. The 800 MW plant received its license from the California Energy Commission in June, and GE has now acquired the site and related development rights for the project from Calpine. Powered by two GE 107H Systems, the Inland Empire Energy Center will reduce future carbon dioxide emissions by more than 146,000 tons per year compared to a typical gas turbine combined-cycle plant. The companies expect to bring the Inland Empire Energy Center on line by the summer of 2008, in time to help offset state-forecasted energy shortfalls in Southern California.

The companies have signed definitive agreements whereby GE will finance, own and operate the Inland facility. Calpine Power Services will manage plant construction, and Calpine Energy Services will market the plant’s output and manage its fuel requirements under a long-term marketing arrangement with GE. Following an extended period of GE ownership, Calpine will purchase the plant and become its sole owner and operator, with GE continuing to provide critical plant maintenance services under a long-term agreement with Calpine.

The LMS100, first introduced in December 2003, represents a high-efficiency option for peaking applications. Full-load (100 MW) thermal efficiency is 46 percent and part-load (50 MW) efficiency is 40 percent. The unit can ramp from 50 MW to 100 MW in less than one minute and can achieve full-load from cold start in less than 10 minutes. The first production core engine completed successful testing in April and will be installed this Fall in the first production LMS100 gas turbine package, for a power plant being built by Basin Electric Power Cooperative near Groton, South Dakota.

Earlier this year, GE announced the second commercial order for the LMS100. East Kentucky Power Cooperative is purchasing five units for installation at its J.K. Smith Station. The units will be used to meet peaking and mid-load requirements. Natural gas will be the primary fuel, with No. 2 distillate as backup. The units are scheduled to enter operation between April 2007 and April 2008. The contract is contingent upon the Kentucky Public Service Commission approval of the additional megawatts.