Western Turbine User Group shines the spotlight on GE Aeroderivatives

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A HEPA air filter can reduce airborne allergens.

The annual Western Turbine Users Inc. (WTUI) conference took place this March in Pasadena, California. About 900 participants were present, and most of them were users of GE LM2500, LM500, LM6000 and LMS100 aeroderivative gas turbines. Jon Kimble, President of WTUI began the proceedings by listing the number of technical information letters (TILs) and service bulletins since last year’s event – dozens for the LM6000 alone. He said, “We provide a unique feedback loop between users and the OEM.”

Events such as this allow users to hear from their peers and quiz the OEM on issues concerning their facilities. But the show is all about GE aeroderivative turbines, which have managed to rack up impressive stats in the relatively few years of their operation. The LM2500, for example, has over one million operating hours and the more recent LM6000 has passed the 1,000 units installed mark.  Gabriel McCabe, General Manager of Global Customer Services for GE Aero Energy said, “The LMS100 now has 26 units installed, with 16 of them being in California.”

GE Aero upgrades
Dave Hartshorne, LM5000/6000 Program Manager at GE Aero, chose the Western Turbine User Group meeting to showcase the latest upgrades on the various models within the GE aeroderivative fleet. He began by promoting the strengths of aeroderivatives in general. “Flexibility is becoming more and more important in power generation, and the Aeros are ideally suited to these applications.”

Small turbine category
The first product introduced was one that extended GE’s portfolio into the small turbine category. GE defines small as being less than 20 MW, a segment of the market GE had not previously been serving. “Users have been asking us for something smaller so we came out with the LM1800e,” said Hartshorne. It is air cooled and utilizes a Brush Generator (62-170ER). All auxiliary equipment fits on the same turbine skid – a compact 37 feet by 12 feet. Thus it fits inside a standard ISO shipping container. It is also suited for mounting on a trailer.

A gas-only dry low emissions (DLE) version of the LM1800e is 16 MW to 18 MW machine. GE has just added a dual fuel SAC combustor that enables the turbine to operate at 18 MW machine with an efficiency of 34.5%. It is available as a power generation package or as a mechanical driver unit.  The latter version has its shaft running in the range of 22,400 HP to 24,300 HP.

Operating range of LM1800e
The LM1800e actually shares the same engine as the LM2500. Its hot section will not need overall until 40,000 hours and a complete overhaul is only required every 80,000 hours. Engine removal is accomplished by sliding out a dolly on the side. This cuts the time for engine removal in half compared to an LM2500. “The LM1800e has a simple remove and install process,” said Hartshorne. “Much of the rest of it is in common with the LM2500.” 

Its operating range of 40 to 120°F is controlled by a MIcroNet Control System. Emissions are held to 25 ppm NOx and CO. A set of standard options is available to add to the base configuration. These encompass a static air filter, a noise enclosure to keep noise levels to 85 db, a lube oil cooler, ventilation, winterization, a Wobbe index meter, a fire system and a water wash system.

Low NOx emissions
With the introduction of the LM2500+G4 comes a new DLE combustor which brings NOx down to 15 ppm. Of more significance is the success of the TM2500+ which comes on a trailer. Hartshorne reports that there are over 21 GW out there. While they started as rentals (to date 34 rentals in 16 countries), 60 have been sold outright. Ten machines, for example, were sent to Japan as rental units following Fukushima.

On the LM6000 side, Hartshorne informed the gathering of several changes. The 6000-PF dual fuel DLE model was introduced due to requests for lower emissions and more interest in combined cycle operation. There are now 67 units in operation for a unit that provides 15 ppm NOx when used with gas. “Two years ago, LM6000 sales were peaking at 70% and now it is only 20%,” said Hartshorne.

You can read the complete report in the May-June issue of Turbomachinery International.