First Siemens Flex Plant 30

The first ever Siemens Flex Plant 30 was dedicated in August 2012 in Lodi, California. This combined cycle plant provides a total of 300 MW with a Siemens SGT6-5000F gas turbine (GT) as the prime mover. Waste heat powers a Siemens SST- 900 steam turbine (ST).

“The Lodi Energy Center (LEC) is the most advanced combined cycle power plant in California if not the nation,” said James Pope, General Manager for the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA). “Many utilities came together with NCPA to help construct a much larger facility than any one entity could have managed on its own. Thus we could all benefit fromeconomies of scale.”

According to Pope, one third of the energy will be used to move water along the California Aqueduct. That represents millions of acre feet pumped hundreds of miles to tens of millions of people.

While LEC is situated south of Sacramento, it provides power to 13 different entities ranging fromNorthernCalifornia to Silicon Valley and down to Los Angeles County. Out of the 300 MW available, California Department of Water Resources takes 99.16 MW, the City of Santa takes76.22 MW, Modesto Irrigation District takes 31.71 MW, the City of Lodi takes 28.12 MWand the San Francisco BayArea Rapid Transit District (BART) takes 19.54 MW. The rest is split between the cities of Azusa, Lompoc, Gridley, Ukiah, Healdsburg, Biggs and the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative. In addition, it will serve as a source of backup for the abundant wind and solar resources on the grid.

“We can lose 800MWormorewithin 30 minutes if the wind stops suddenly,” said Stephen Berberich, President and CEO of California Independent System Operator. “As we integrate more renewables onto the grid, the LEC offers the flexibility we need to start, stop and ramp quickly.”

This 1x1 Flex Plant configuration has the technical name of the Siemens SCC6-5000F power island. It incorporates an SGEN6- 1000A gas turbine generator, an SGEN6- 1000A-2P steam turbine generator along with a Siemens SPPA-T3000 control system. Its efficiency rating is greater than 57% and it can meet NOx limits of 2 ppm or less, according to NCPA.

A bottoming steam cycle with a oncethrough Benson-type Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) provided by Nooter/Eriksen is part of the combined-cycle process. This HRSG raises the process parameters of the water-steam cycle and eliminates the need for an HP drum within the HRSG.An integrated single-shaft train has a steam turbine on one end, a GT on the other and a shared generator in the middle. The Siemens SGT5-5000 steam turbine has High-Pressure (HP), Intermediate Pressure (IP) and Low-Pressure (LP) stages to enable short start up times.

The LEC can deliver around 200MWof power to the grid within 30 minutes. “This fast ramping Flex Plant was specifically designed to balance fluctuations on diverse power grids that manage renewable and traditional energy sources,” said Mario Azar, Vice President of Siemens Energy Solutions Americas. “It has a three-pressure reheat HRSG with Benson once-through technology, high-capacity steam attemperation and full-capacity steam bypass systems.”

Other features contributing to fast start include pipe warming, Siemens stream turbine stress controller, a water treatment system and a plant standby system that utilizes auxiliary steam to maintain vacuum. Net heat rate is around 6,800 Btu/kWh and the installed kilowatt cost is estimated at $1,310 per kW. Estimated construction costs are $388million with annual operating costs expected to be $90 million. For that outlay, the plant will generate about 1,600,000 MHw/year, though its operational capability is 50% higher.

The location provides an abundance of raw materials required by the plant.A PGE gas pipeline passes within a mile of the site. The City of Lodi has plenty of reclaimed water available from an adjacent sewage treatment facility, and an onsite substation is already servicing an existing combined cycle plant driven by a GE LM5000. The substation and power lines require no major upgrades to deal with the additional capacity.

Inlet air cooling is a necessity during the summer due to temperatures which can exceed 100°F. This is provided via a mediatype evaporative cooling system which sits behind the inlet air filters.

The Lodi plant is currently undergoing final commissioning prior to commercial operation commencing in September 2012. In addition to this facility, Siemens has two more Flex Plants opening soon inCalifornia. Two Flex Plant 10s are currently under construction in El Segundo andMarsh Landing.

“The LEC provides the best of both worlds,” said Robert Weisenmiller, Chairman of the California Energy Commission. “It brings together the efficiency of a combined cycle plant with the fast start capabilities of a simple cycle peaker.”

GE revamps energy business

The company is reorganizing its energy business into three standalone units effective the fourth quarter of 2012. The energy headquarters organizational layer will be phased out by the end of 2012. This change is intended to speed decision making, simplify communication and decrease cost.

Overall, GE Energy includes approximately 100,000 employees and will have revenues of about $50 billion in 2012. The three new businesses will report directly to GE Chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt.

GE Power andWater, led by SeniorVice President and Power andWater CEO, Steve Bolze, is headquartered in Schenectady, NY. It provides lifecycle solutions for power generation customers, including renewable energy and water processing technologies. It will have some 41,000 employees and planned revenue of approximately $28 billion in 2012. GE Oil & Gas, led by Senior Vice President and Oil & Gas CEO, Dan Heintzelman, is headquartered in Florence, Italy. It provides equipment and services for the offshore and onshore oil & gas industry, including turbomachinery, drilling and surface, subsea, and pipeline equipment and services. It will have about 33,000 employees and planned revenue of approximately $15 billion in 2012.

GE Energy Management, led by Senior Vice President and Energy Management CEO,Dan Janki, is headquartered inAtlanta, GA. It consists of technology solutions for the delivery, management, conversion and optimization of electrical power for customers across multiple energy-intensive industries. Itwill have approximately 27,000 employees and will have planned revenue of about $7 billion in 2012.

The company will begin reporting separate segment financial results for these three businesses beginning the fourth quarter of 2012. GE Vice Chairman and Energy Infrastructure CEO, John Krenicki, will oversee the transition before leaving the company at the end of 2012.

Hydrocarbons fuel growth

Energy is one of the precious few bright spots in the slumping NorthAmerican economy. So proclaimed a new Manhattan Institute Report, Unleashing the North American Energy Colossus, authored by the Institute’s adjunct fellow,MarkMills.

Expanding extraction and export capabilities for all hydrocarbons over the next two decades could yield as much as $7 trillion to the North American economy, says Mills, with $5 trillion of that accruing to the U.S., including generating $1-$2 trillion in tax receipts to federal and local governments.

The projected growth in totalworld energy demand through 2030 is equal to an additional twoAmerica’s worth of consumption, says Mills. Every credible forecast shows hydrocarbons fueling the major share of that growth, as they have in the past.While alternative energy has grown rapidly, the overall contribution to U.S. and world supply remainsminimal and stays that way in every credible future scenario.

Mills applauds Canada’s solution for permitting energy projects: Create a oneportal, one-permit federal policy for all permits. The current U.S. regulatory morass, unintended conflicts and frequent capriciousness are common complaints across the hydrocarbon industries, he says.

Improving shipping efficiency

Maersk is launching its Triple-E class of container vessels in 2013. They will be the world’s largest ships, burning 35% less fuel and emitting 50% less CO2 per container than a typical container ship. Triple-E Class ships are designed to sail through the Straits of Malacca near Singapore so outside dimensions are limited.They have an 18,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) capacity, 16% more than the E-Class ships, which were previously the largest.

The U-shaped hull and bulbous nose of the Triple-E produce more drag than the Vshaped hull of the E-Class soMaersk opted for a speed change. The E-Class has a top speed of 25 knots, which required 80 MW of power. By capping the top speed at 23 knots, the Triple-E could get away with a 70 MW power train, driven by two 43,000 HP MAN engines.

To further lower power usage, these ships will utilize a waste heat recovery system called the Mitsubishi Energy Recovery System (MERS). The MERS Super Turbo Generating (STG) systemuses some exhaust gas to drive a turbocharger, which then goes to an economizer to create steam to drive a steam turbine generator set.

The rest of the exhaust gas is extracted from the main engine and drives an exhaust gas power turbine before going to the economizer. Between the power turbine and the steam turbine is an SSS clutch from SSS Gears Ltd. This self-synchronizing overrunning type clutch automatically connects when the driver exceeds the speed of the load and then disconnects when the driver slows below load speed. In the MERS STG System, the clutch sits between the power turbine and the steam turbine, both of which work to drive a generator.

Maersk Line placed an initial order for tenTriple-E shipswithDaewoo Shipbuilding &MarineEngineeringCo.,Ltd inKorea, and followed it up in December 2011 with an order for ten more. The first of the new ships is scheduled to launch in 2013 and the last to roll off the line two years later.

Gorgon LNG order

GE Oil & Gas has signed a more than $600 million, 22-year contractual services agreement with Chevron Australia to maintain the compressor trains and associated equipment that will be at the heart of the Gorgon Project.

Gorgon is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects, situated about 130 kilometers off the northwest coast of Western Australia. It includes the construction of a 15 million ton per annum (MTPA) LNG plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to provide 300 terajoules per day to supply gas toWesternAustralia.

Three 5-MTPA GE main refrigerant compression trains, each comprising twoGE Frame-7 gas turbines plus liquefaction compressors, will be utilized for the production of liquefied natural gas by chilling to –160°C, ready for shipping, before re-gasification and pipeline transportation for use by domestic and industrial customers.

Prior to liquefaction of the gas, CO2 will be stripped out and injected into the depleted natural gas wells 1,300-meters below the sea, to ensure its safe storage and the reduction of emissions. Six surface, 15 MWelectric- motor driven GE compression trains are being deployed for this purpose.

The overall GE supply for the Gorgon projects includes: The five 130 MW Frame-9 gas turbines, three main refrigerant compression trains driven by six Frame-7 gas turbines required for Gorgon’s production of 15 million ton per annum (MTPA) LNG, six electricmotor driven compression trains to power Gorgon’s CO2 sequestration project, 20 VetcoGray subsea trees, 20 VetcoGray subsea wellhead systems, production controls systems and five pipeline termination systems, five manifolds, 34 pipeline end terminations and several other structures.

Under the new service agreement, GE Oil & Gas’s Global Services division will provide Chevron Australia with scheduled maintenance plus an inbuilt guarantee relating to continuity of production.

Fish-friendly hydro

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the U.S. Department of Energy, together with Alden Lab and Voith, recently completed the engineering design of a prototype fish-friendly turbine called the Alden Turbine that enables downstream migrating fish to pass safely through.

The EPRI teamhas optimized the design to reduce fish mortality without sacrificing efficiency. Recent engineering studies and scale-model testing show a turbine efficiency of near 94% and a predicted fish survival rate of 98% at full-scale operation.

The Alden Turbine could reduce the need for expensive screens, louvers and downstream fish-passage facilities. The device can be used to increase generating capacity at existing projects; add generation to non-powered projects; recover energy lost inminimumflowreleases; and replace existing turbines that cause unacceptable fish passage mortality. EPRI is now seeking a U.S. demonstration site where researchers can conduct fish survival and economic performance testing.

No more nukes?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has agreed to cease issuing permits for newnuclear power plants and approve no more license extensions for existing facilities. This is being done until the NRC addresses unresolved issues surrounding the storing of radioactive waste.

While the NRC believes current storage plans are safe, a federal court ruled that the NRC had not provided sufficient detail with regard to what the environmental consequences would be if the agency is wrong. The NRC has decided to look at all available options for resolving the waste issue and then present its findings for court approval.

The result is that 14 reactors awaiting license renewals at the NRC, and 16 reactors awaiting new construction permits have been put on ice, at least temporarily. Part of the NRC plan is to include research on what might happen if a long-term waste storage facility is not built in a timely manner. Meanwhile, nuclear watchdog groups hope the review helps in their push for stricter standards.

Ipsen furnace to China

Ipsen has shipped a 1.9 Bar H6 Titan vacuum furnace to an industrial energy process management facility in Jiangsu Providence, China. Outfitted with an all-metal hot zone, this particular Titan was installed through Ipsen China. The furnace includes the optional Hydrogen Partial Pressure system and Technical Service Package, which includes four days of on-site validation of the installation, equipment start-up and control system training.

Blast furnace power plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), in collaboration with Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering, has received an order for two blast-furnace, gas turbine, combined-cycle (GTCC) power plants from Baotou Iron & Steel of China. The power plants will be installed as an expansion of an existing steelworks with the aim of utilizing exhaust gas from blast furnaces and coke ovens to meet part of its electricity needs.

Operation of the two plants is expected to start in August or September 2014. The plants will each have output of 150 MW class. MHI will supply the M701S (DA) gas turbine, generators, steam turbine and gas compressor, as well as control and peripheral equipment.

Solar power combustor

Southwest Research Institute and industry collaborators Solar Turbines Inc., Oak Ridge National Laboratories, German Aerospace Center and San Diego State University have been awarded a $3.8 million contract by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a novel gas turbine combustor for a concentrating solar power (CSP) hybrid gas turbine system.

The award was given through DOE’s SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy. The majority of today’s commercial CSP plants generate steam to support steam turbine electric power generation. The steam is limited to a maximum temperature of 400ºC, yielding about 40% thermal efficiencies.

This project aims to combine the advantages of gas turbine power plants with CSP by operating the gas turbine at combustor air inlet temperatures up to 1,000ºC. The project, to be conducted in three phases, is expected to begin in August 2012, and will continue through 2015. In phase 1, researchers will evaluate combustor concepts and develop the design. Phase 2 entails fabrication of the combustion system, which will then be tested in phase 3.

Energy independent by 2018

Robert Brooks, Founder of RBAC, and developer of the GPCMNatural GasMarket Forecasting System, predicts that the U.S. will be energy independent in natural gas no later than 2018,with the country becoming a net exporter of gas. To the surprise of analysts and producers alike, much lower levels of drilling for natural gas have not yet begun to decrease production. But Brooks said that while drilling has been focusing on higher-priced liquids, this has still resulted in a lot of byproduct gas which has to find a home. Further, a 25% to 30% year-on-year increase in gas-fired generation has helped absorb a lot of excess production, but in the long run, newer markets must be found or created.

Chinese LNG plant

Jilin Qianyuan Energy Development has selected Chemtex, along with Black & Veatch’s Prico LNG technology for an LNG facility. Expected to be completed in late 2013, the 500,000 NM³/D plant will be the largest of its kind in northeast China and it will be delivered by the Chemtex/Black & Veatch team using a lump sum engineering, procurement and construction package.

The new facility will liquefy inlet pipeline natural gas. The LNG will be used primarily by trucks and other vehicles as an alternative fuel to diesel and gasoline. In addition to Prico technology, the plant integrates a nitrogen stripping process. This will contend with high nitrogen levels in the pipeline feed gas.A boil-off gas re-liquefaction system will also be installed to prevent unnecessary fuel loss and increase the efficiency of the plant.

Software for engineering students

SoftInWay has launched a free edition of AxStream, its Turbomachinery Design Suite. The new “lite edition,” made specifically for engineering students, gives them the ability to quickly design the flow path of axial turbines and evaluate the influence of the number of stages and geometrical constraints. They can also visualize triangle velocities and distribution of thermodynamic and kinematic parameters through the flow path. “AxStream Lite is meant to be open and accessible to students who aspire to deepen their understanding of turbine design and analysis,” said Leonid Moroz, founder and CEO of SoftInWay, Inc.