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Hans Drenth, Vice President of Oil & Gas, Solar Turbines, discusses Solar’s product and service portfolio, ongoing trends, and how the company is addressing changing customer requirements.

Hans Drenth, Vice President of Oil & Gas at Solar Turbines[/caption]

Tell our readers about Solar Turbines

Solar Turbines is a manufacturer of industrial gas turbines (GTs), compressors and mechanical drive turbine packages. We provide custom energy solutions to the oil and natural gas industry, and power generation solutions for a range of commercial, renewable, institutional, industrial and electric power applications.

Solar has an installed base of more than 15,000 turbomachinery packages in more than 100 countries. Our gas compressors serve the upstream, midstream and downstream markets, and can be driven by either of our GTs or electric motors.

Explain your facilities and footprint

Solar has maintained its headquarters in San Diego, CA for more than 90 years. We also have sales and service locations in nearly 40 countries. For example, we have fabrication capabilities in Houston, TX and offer customized and standardized balance-of-plant (BOP) solutions, which includes single-lift modules for offshore applications as well as preconfigured modular buildings for compression or power generation applications.

What GTs do you offer?

Solar offers GTs in the 1-to-23 MW range (mechanical drive and generator set packages). Our turbines offer high thermal efficiency, low emissions, fuel flexibility, ease of transportation and installation, high performance, longevity, availability and reliability.

We also manufacture GT generator sets for combined heat and power (CHP), base load and distributed power, combined cycle, peak shaving, district heating and cooling, and mobile and standby power applications. They can burn gaseous and liquid fuels, such as natural gas, diesel, coke oven gas, digester gas, and landfill gas. They operate in a wide range of environments such as the Arctic, desert and deepwater offshore.

What compressor models do you offer?

We manufacture centrifugal compressors for applications, such as gas transmission, gas gathering, storage and withdrawal, gas injection, gas lift and LNG processing. They are API compliant and provide for ease of restage, allowing customers to adapt to changing field and process conditions without storing spare rotors.

What other products do you provide?

Solar Digital offers connected service programs to remotely monitor and manage fleets anywhere in real-time on any desktop or device. Our Insight Platform corresponds to the criticality and needs of each piece of machinery within a customer’s fleet. InSight maximizes customer value by detecting adverse trends, increasing uptime and time between overhauls, and enhancing equipment reliability.


What trends have you observed in power generation?

As abundant gas supplies continue to be available, and as gas distribution systems expand, whether through pipeline networks or LNG, gas-to-power solutions will grow. In the utility sector, more distributed power solutions and micro grids are using renewables, GTs and energy storage. In industrial markets, CHP continues to grow.

What trends have you observed in the oil and natural gas industry?

There are growth opportunities around the world and particularly in North America as the commissioning of LNG export terminals will drive demand. Unconventional oil and gas development in the U.S. will require turbomachinery to drive compression and pipeline projects.

Technologies driving the growth of unconventional resource development are now emerging in international markets and therefore we anticipate these new markets developing rapidly. At the same time, we are working with customers to help them meet their sustainability targets and adapt to changing operating environments, such as in urban areas.

Our relationship with oil & gas customers is evolving from equipment supplier to energy solutions provider. We are playing a larger role in planning of site preparation, BOP equipment, and infrastructure development.

How about the aftermarket and services?

We offer total lifecycle support and an equipment health management system. We keep packages running for decades through remote monitoring and predictive diagnostics with the InSight Platform combined with field service. We also offer parts, overhauls, restages and technical training.

What trends have you observed in the aftermarket?

Our customers are facing competitive and challenging market conditions and are looking for solutions to optimize and reduce operating costs. We use our Insight Platform to increase equipment uptime and will incorporate more condition-based maintenance developments over time to ensure that the customer can benefit from reduced downtime and maximized time between overhaul.

We already have infrastructure in place for upgrades at outage, and are adding tools to assess condition, utilization and outage timing to better plan upgrade execution. With the latest computational fluid dynamics modeling tools and additive manufacturing capability, we can achieve efficiencies that were once considered the province of aeroderivative technology.

Anything you wish to add?

Compliance with environmental regulations and achieving sustainability targets drive our product design and development programs. Our GTs produce low-exhaust emissions that meet or exceed emission standards. We are working with customers to tailor equipment to their operating environments and meet their sustainability goals. One example of this is our development of systems that capture fugitive emissions from compressor dry gas seal vents. ■