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THE FUTURE OF GAS TURBINES: FRAMES OR AERODERIVATIVES? Nowadays, the trend is definitely toward gas turbine power generation units. Gas turbines, after all, offer high power density and have enabled significant unit train capacity increases, both for power generation and mechanical drive. Neither coal power plants with carbon capture or nuclear power plants can compete with gas in the current economic and political climate. The question is, do aeroderivatives or heavy-frame machines represent the future? If high fuel costs are expected, the selection of high-efficiency aeroderivatives begins to play a more important role in the lifecycle cost evaluation process. And for simple-cycle applications, the efficiency advantage of aeroderivative gas turbines is clear. When it comes to using aeroderivatives for combined-cycle base-load applications, though, their advantages (besides space and weight) are often questioned. However, aeroderivative-based combined-cycle plants utilizing commonly used systems could offer slightly higher efficiency compared to frames in the range of 20 MW to 100 MW. Further aeroderivative advantages include greater flexibility, faster start-up and easier module replacement. Theoretically, complex aeroderivative combined-cycle arrangements can be designed to reach much higher efficiency compared to frames. In other words, for aeroderivative gas turbines, the firing temperatures are higher compared to heavy ...
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