Combined Cycle, Gas, Gas Turbines

GE Turbine Upgrade Promises Big Savings and Performance

Power producers using one of General Electric’s medium-sized gas turbines could boost revenue by up to $3 million a year by upgrading the turbine with 3D-printed parts from GE.

The turbine manufacturer said Thursday the upgrade for the GT13E2 MXL2 gas turbine features key components manufactured with additive technology, a process used to print three-dimensional components, and can boost power production by up to 21 MW in combined cycle mode.

The lightweight design and precise configuration achieved with this process represents “a new frontier in turbine engineering and production,” GE said.  

What’s more, the improvements could save gas-fired power plants up to $2 million in fuel costs annually, GE said.

“This latest upgrade is really the first time we’re using additive-manufactured parts at the core of the turbine uprate,” said Andrew Passmore, senior product manager for the GT13E2.

The GT13E2 upgrade is the byproduct of improved technology and more than 10 million hours of experience operating the fleet of GT13E2 turbines. Thanks primarily to additive manufacturing, the new upgrade is capable of:

·         Reducing component cooling requirements by up to 25 percent

·         Increasing output up to 21 MW in combined-cycle configuration

·         Improving efficiency by up to 1.6 percent in combined-cycle mode

·         Providing maintenance intervals of up to 48,000 hours

GE also pointed to certain milestones surrounding its HA gas turbine, which debuted in 2016. The HA, GE said, has exceeded 118,000 operating hours to date and orders for 76 units have been made by 25 customers in more than 15 countries.

“We continue to see gas playing an important role in the world’s energy mix including as a complement to variable renewables,” said GE Power President and CEO Russell Stokes. “Our HA technology enables unprecedented levels of efficiency to help customers reach more aggressive emissions goals.”

GE’s power business has been struggling. In the first quarter, GE fell to third place behind MHPS and Siemens in gas turbine sales. What’s more, GE Power recorded $5.6 billion in orders during the first quarter, down 29 percent. Also, revenue fell 9 percent to $7.2 billion and segment profit dropped a whopping 38 percent to $273 million. The company’s latest setback was annouced earlier this week as the company revealed plans to shut down much of the operation at its Salem, Virginia, plant by 2019. The plan calls for 250 people to lose their jobs, though the facility would remain partially open as an engineering center employing 200.