New gas turbine developments and energy activities

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In the third part of this series, the author dealt with the media coverage of ME happenings and the upcoming ASME 2015 conference. This article explores the various energy activities across the US and new gas turbine developments.

There is a surge of energy activities all across Texas and other specific energy places in the US. Before getting into more details of the new GTs and CCs, a few words about energy in Texas and the rest of the US is in order that has been brought about by fracking and the production of NG and crude oil.  Houston remains the World hub of energy activity. Hardly a day goes by but there is an important lead story about energy that appears in the Houston Chronicle newspaper about Texas and the rest of the world. New office buildings in the Energy Corridor just West of Houston are under construction.  ExxonMobil is now moving into its new World Center Energy Park 20 miles North of Houston. New construction is everywhere.

The Houston port is being expanded with longer docks and a deeper and wider ship channel to accommodate much larger ocean-going vessels of all kinds, and to get ready for the opening of the new Panama Canal locks in 2016. There is a tidal wave of new power plants, petrochemical plants, refinery additions, LNG plants and pipeline terminals being constructed all along the Gulf Coast, as a result of the flow of shale NG and crude. Now let us turn to new GT and CC development details to meet the new electric power energy challenge.

GE’s turbines and new orders

General Electric is on the move. The new GE 9HA01 397 MW 50 Hz GT is on the test stand in Greenville for validation runs before being shipped back to France where it was assembled. GE has other orders for this GT as well from Japan and Russia. On top of this, the big Texas news is about the new order, announced October 29th, placed by Exelon on GE Power and Water, for four all-new GE 7HA.02 330 MW 60 Hz GTs and two D600 33l MW steam turbines for two, two on one, CC power plants, each with a capacity of 987 net MW.


One of the Texas power plants will be located at the existing Wolf Hollow plant near Dallas, and the other at the existing Colorado Bend plant near Houston. Delivery is scheduled for 2016 and its start up is expected to be in 2017. The CC efficiency will be 61.2 percent LHV burning NG, the highest in the world for the 7H class GT. This is the first order for this new GT. 

Simple cycle efficiency

Other details on the 7HA.02 GT are:  the exhaust flow is 1,522 Lb/Sec at 1,145o F for simple cycle and 1,150 for CC duty. The simple cycle efficiency is 41.4 percent LHV burning NG. The pressure ratio is 21.5. It will weigh l,320,000 pounds. The CC ratings are for 1.2 inches Hg.

The Houston-based GE aeroderivative GT group has new orders as well. On October l3th, GE Power and Water, Houston announced that it had received an order for 425 MW trailer-mounted GT packages to furnish emergency power to Mexico's Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) after the Hurricane Odile. Delivery was started on October 1, two days after the order was signed. This package is known as the “Power Plant on Wheels” with both 50 and 60 Hz versions. They apply the GE TM2500+ gas turbine.

Earlier, on July 25th, GE signed a contract with Arizona Public Service (APS) to provide a total of 5 LMS 100+ 109 MW TG packages with delivery starting in November 2016. The five units will be installed at their existing Ocotillo plant in Tempe, 9 miles east of Phoenix. The units will replace old gas-fired steam TG sets and will be used for peaking and renewable integration – mostly for solar. The unit is presently being up-rated to about 109 MW, thus the + sign is used.

Regarding the LMS 100, it is reported that two of these units installed in New Zealand are being used for some very fast load pickup duty, in case of a grid emergency and renewable upset – at a ramp rate of 300 MW/min per unit. The true jet engine capability is thus being realized. The ramp rate of the heavy duty gas turbine is much lower, according to the size.

GT for Shell LNG project

A Texas-sized 134,000 HP mechanical drive GT for a Shell LNG Canadian project is in the wind. A joint venture group, composed of Shell Global, Shell JV LNG Canada, GEOG and GE DP, has been  working together to fit the LMS100 MD into the proposed LNG Canada plant, formerly known as the Maple Leaf Project. The LMS 100 MD is to drive a string of large compressors and is exclusive with GE. Final commercial negotiations will take place soon, according to GE. The project is known as the P-100 Liquefaction Project after the LMS 100 MD name and could involve several planned LNG projects. Apparently, Chevron is also interested in the LMS 100 MD and discussed the unit with GE at a recent shop tour of the GE San Jacinto facilities.

GE aero is in the World GT market for sure. It has a joint venture going with China called Huadian GE Aero Gas Turbine Equipment Co., Ltd (HDGE). The first aeroderivitive 50MW gas turbine, the LM6000-PF, rolled off the assembly line in Minhang, China on October 24th – the only such facility of its kind in China which is considered to be a leap forward for US-China cooperation on cleaner energy.   China is expected to be installing many of these units all across China for cleaner and more efficient energy systems in the future. 

The GE commercial aircraft group is progressing nicely on its new LEAP engine to power the new Boeing 737 MAX, the new Airbus and the new Chinese Comac 919 planes. Flight tests are underway with FAA certification due in 2015-16. Its predecessor, the GE/SNECMA CFM 56 engine, has been popular and is used on the present Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 and has been for the past 35 years. The LEAP engine will have a higher compression ratio, a higher by pass ratio of l1.1 and a lower fuel consumption by some 15 percent, half of which comes from the higher by pass ratio. The LEAP engine will be the first commercial engine to use light weight ceramic matrix composites with carbon fibers in its hot section – developed exclusively by GE.

In his next article, the author talks about Pratt & Whitney’s new engine and the war raging between the company and GE.

(Ivan G. Rice was past chairman of the South Texas Section of ASME (1974 - 75), past chairman of the ASME Gas Turbine Division (now IGTI) (1975 - 76). A Life Fellow Member of ASME and Life Member of NSPE/TSPE, he has authored many articles and ASME papers on gas turbines, inter-cooling, reheat, HRSGs, steam cooling and steam injection.)

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