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Nick Muntz, CEO of the Distributed Generation Business Unit at Siemens Power and Gas Division, discusses gas turbine trends, H-class results, aeroderivatives, mobile power, 3D printing and digitization
Which gas turbine segments are in demand?
Compact, lightweight, high-efficiency gas turbines (GTs) with a low emissions footprint are indispensable for the growing decentralized power market where operational flexibility is key. They are used in small-scale power plants in open or combined cycle for base load, intermediate power and peaking duties. In addition, they are deployed in cogeneration schemes to provide process heat or cooling, generating steam, hot air or hot water. To meet these needs, our Distributed Generation business unit offers industrial GTs in the range from 5 to 54 MW and aeroderivative GTs from 4 to 66 MW. Siemens also has launched an upgrade of the SGT-750 industrial GT, with an output of 41 MW. It delivers close to 42% efficiency with low emissions.
What trends do you see?
We see a trend towards higher flexibility in terms of applications, fuel type, start-up capabilities, fast and mobile power, higher efficiency and lower emissions. For example, in the oil & gas business, there is a trend towards low-weight GT packages with a small footprint especially for top-side applications. Flexible power generation is also gaining momentum as a backup for fluctuating power from renewable sources.
Where are aeroderivatives in most demand?
Aeroderivatives are compact, light-weight designs. They have fast start-up and load cycling capabilities exerting a significant impact on component life. In many areas of the world, the existing power infrastructure is stretched to the limit by growing demand. Reliable power supply systems are a major enabler of economic development, yet needs are growing at a pace faster than the ability to erect conventional power plants. The task at hand in these regions is to deploy efficient mobile power generating capacity quickly to fuel economic development. In some cases, the need is temporary, and after some time the mobile power plant might be relocated to a different location.
Siemens has launched a mobile power generation unit known as the SGT-A45 TR. The design is based on proven Siemens products and Rolls-Royce aero-engine technology. The GT core engine uses components from the Siemens SGT-A65 TR (Industrial Trent 60) that have been matched to a free power turbine. Its compact design makes it well-suited for mobile power in areas, such as Africa or Southeast Asia.
How are your H-class machines performing?
The GTs of the SGT-8000H series were the first air-cooled gas turbines on the market. Siemens has sold more than 80 worldwide. Combined cycle power plants with an SGT- 8000H series achieve 61% efficiency. They have fast cold startup times, hot restart capabilities and can deal with rapid load changes. The H-class has amassed more than 400,000 operating hours with fleet reliability of more than 99.5%. It has a power output of 425 MW in simple cycle or 630 MW in combined cycle.
What’s in the pipeline?
Siemens is constantly working on optimizing its product portfolio. This includes enhancements to Dry Low Emissions combustion technology and active magnetic bearings. Additionally, 3D printing of turbine components and parts is enabling faster design and manufacturing as well as more rapid repairs and parts replacement.
How about digitization?
We are putting significant investment into our digitization R&D. We believe digitization holds the key to advancing turbomachinery design and performance. It is impacting the power generation industry in ways never before imagined. Digitization is not just about advanced sensors, big data and powerful software. It’s about using these and other tools in combination with domain knowledge to uncover new avenues and reach positive outcomes. Using data generated from energy assets and integrating it with other data sources, such as weather, fleet and outage reports, Siemens is developing customized service solutions for increased efficiency, reliability, flexibility and availability.
What else do you have in store?
We are aggressively looking for opportunities in areas, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). There are also a growing number of apps that have elements of machine-learning built-in. We see opportunities to use this technology to gain additional insights into machine performance. We are expanding our use of virtual reality and augmented reality tools that enable technicians to see safety-critical, unit-specific and fleet data before touching a machine. We are expanding the capabilities and capacity of our MindSphere Internet of Things (IoT) operating system to allow customers and third-parties to develop apps that can work alongside our OEM data analytics. And we are at the forefront of 3D printing of turbomachinery components and parts. Connected systems, machine- learning, cybersecurity, asset optimization, fleet center solutions are a few of the areas where digitization is affecting change in our industry. Siemens is uniquely positioned to support our customers on their digital journey.