WESTERN TURBINE USER GROUP SHINES THE SPOTLIGHT ON AERODERIVATIVES

WTUI CONFERENCE COVERS GE AERO MAINTENANCE, PRODUCT UPDATES, NEW RELEASES, HEPA FILTERS AND TURBINE TRENDS

The annual Western Turbine Users Inc. (WTUI) conference took place this March in Pasadena, California. Around 900 attendees were almost entirely composed of users of GE LM2500, LM500, LM6000 and LMS100 aeroderivative gas turbines. “We provide a unique feedback loop between users and theOEM,” said Jon Kimble, President ofWTUI (Figure 1).

He began proceedings by listing the sheer number of technical information letters (TILs) and service bulletins since last year’s event — dozens for the LM6000 alone. Events such as this, therefore, allow users to hear from their peers and quiz the OEM on issues concerning their facilities.

But the show is all about GE aeroderivative turbines,which havemanaged to rack up impressive stats in the relatively few years of their operation. The LM2500, for example, has over onemillion operating hours and the more recent LM6000 has passed the 1,000 units installedmark. “The LMS100 now has 26 units installed, with 16 of them being in California,” said Gabriel McCabe, General Manager of Global Customer Services for GEAero Energy.

GE Aero upgrades

Dave Hartshorne, LM5000/6000 Program Manager at GE Aero, chose the Western Turbine User Group meeting to showcase the latest upgrades on the various models within the aeroderivative fleet. He began by promoting the strengths of aeroderivatives in general.

“Flexibility is becoming more and more important in power generation,” Hartshorne said, “and aeroderivatives are ideally suited to these applications.”

The first product introduced was one that extended GE’s portfolio into the small turbine category. GE defines small as being less than 20 MW, a segment of the market GE had not previously been serving. “Users have been asking us for something smaller so we came out with the LM1800e,” said Hartshorne.

It is air cooled and utilizes a Brush Generator (62-170ER). All auxiliary equipment fits on the same turbine skid—a compact 37 feet by 12 feet. Thus it fits inside a standard ISO shipping container. It is also suited for mounting on a trailer.

A gas-only dry low emissions (DLE) version of the LM1800e is a 16 MW to 18 MWmachine. GE has just added a dual-fuel SAC combustor that enables the turbine to operate at 18 MW with an efficiency of 34.5%. It is available as a power generation package or as a mechanical driver unit. The latter version has its shaft running in the range of 22,400 HP to 24,300 HP.

The LM1800e actually shares the same engine as the LM2500. Its hot section will not need overall until 40,000 hours and a complete overhaul is only required every 80,000 hours. Engine removal is accomplished by sliding out a dolly on the side. This cuts the time for engine removal in half compared to an LM2500. “The LM1800e has a simple remove-and-install process,” said Hartshorne. “Much of the rest of it is in common with the LM2500.”

Its operating range of 40 to 120°F is controlled by a MIcroNet Control System. Emissions are held to 25 ppmNOx and CO. A set of standard options is available to add to the base configuration. These encompass a static air filter, a noise enclosure to keep noise levels to 85 db, a lube oil cooler, ventilation, winterization, aWobbe indexmeter, a fire system and a water wash system.

With the introduction of the LM2500+G4 comes a new DLE combustor which brings NOx down to 15 ppm. Of note is the success of the TM2500+ which comes on a trailer. Hartshorne reports that there are over 21 GWout there.While they started as rentals (to date 34 rentals in 16 countries), 60 have been sold outright; 10 machines, for example, were sent to Japan as rental units following Fukushima.

On the LM6000 side, Hartshorne informed the gathering of several changes. The 6000-PF dual fuel DLE model was introduced due to requests for lower emissions and more interest in combined cycle operation. There are now 67 units in operation providing 15 ppm NOx when used with gas. “Two years ago, LM6000 sales were 70% peaking and now it is only 20% peaking,” said Hartshorne.

Meanwhile, the first LM6000PGentered service this spring and the LM6000PH has just been released with a new DLE product. The DLE 2.0 has a dual annular combustor and zero water needs. It provides 15 ppm NOx and 48.1MWof output.

“The main changes for the PG and PH are an increase in the output shaft speed to 3,930 rpm to provide an 18% increase in exhaust airflow,” said Hartshorne. “The combustor is an evolution of the successful DLE combustor used in previous LM models.”

TheDLE2 has 15 premixers and 30 cups compared to 30 and 75, respectively, for the DLE1. The LM6000 PH runs at 42%simple cycle efficiency and can start in five minutes if desired. In a combined cycle 2 x 1 configuration it achieves 54% efficiency and supplies 120 MW. Hartshorne expects to see plenty of 2 x 1 orders coming this year. A launch order for two LM6000 PHs was received at the end of last year. The first production engine has been assembled, tested and has recently shipped.

LMS100

Hartshorne was followed by Phil Tinne, LMS100 Product Manager. Since the first unit was sold in 2006 to Basic Electric in South Dakota, 54 LMS100s have been ordered and 26 are in operation. Tinne added that six more are in installation and commissioning, and a further six are in transit. A total of 19 units have been sold to California facilities. Operating hours to date have reached 109,881.This 100MWturbine is up and running in ten minutes.

Tinne noted that the design of the package has been slightly altered. “We made the filter house less like that of a Frame turbine and more like than of an LM6000 in order to reduce footprint,” he said.

Like the LM6000PH, the DLE 2.0 combustor is being added to what is known as the LMS100 PB. The first one is destined to be installed in Russia. GE is also introducing a high-temperature intercooler, which can provide higher-grade heat for district heat and other uses. This change provides another reduction in size for the package. Six of the California units have opted for the latest intercooler and DLE2.

Finally, Tinne covered LMS100 mechanical drive, which he said was a highinterest area among customers. The major requirements for its introduction are a shaft running at 2,880 rpm to 3,400 rpm, the use of low Wobbe fuels, and to have it elevated 4.5 meters for oil & gas applications. “We have launched the LMS100 mechanical drive engineering program,” said Tinne. “It should be available by 2016 at the latest.”

Sessions galore

After the initial presentations, the gathering split into their various specialties.Almost two days of closed-door sessions walked the attendees through the specifics of their own machines. Each of the GE aeroderivatives merited its own program where TILs could be reviewed, experiences shared and tips offered to other users. OEMinput and Q andA were also part of the lineup.

While such sessions continued on Day Two, they were bracketed by an early morning briefing by turbine consultant Mark Axford and a series of technical presentations. Axford gave his annual roundup ofGT trends. The big news from this was an “explosion of GT orders,” both in the U.S. and worldwide (p. 30).“There are now almost 1,100 LM6000s on order or in service, making it one of the most successful GTs ever built,” saidAxford.

Brad Hans of Lincoln Electric Systems and Ed Jackson of Missouri River Energy kicked off the technical presentations. They covered “User Generated Gas Turbine Package Improvements.” Jackie Ferlita of Element Markets discussed “Green House Gas Impacts of California AB32 and Federal Regulations.” Dale Reed of Reed Services spoke on “Peaker versus Base Load O&M.” Further, Chris Siplin ofWood Group Power Services zeroed in on NERC Program Compliance Audits, while L.J Muzio and T.D. Martz of Fossil Energy Research Corp. briefed on “Tools for Optimizing GT SCR Performance.”

One of the many highlights came from Rob McMahon of Alliance Pipelines and Steve Medvetz of W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Figure 2). Their topicwas “Gas Turbine Inlet Filtration (HEPA Systems)” (p. 40).

“Tough environmental conditions forced us to water wash each GT three times per year,” said McMahon. “By implementing HEPA filters,we have been able to eliminate offline water washing.” Normally, after 4,300 hours, the bellmouth and stage 1-to-5 blades and vanes would be filthy. However, inspection revealed them to be clean.

“You would expect the leading edge to be caked up and the shroud to be black,” said McMahon. “We found no dirt at all despite not having water washed them. After 6,000 hours, it was still shiny.”

Alliance conducted a water wash after one year but this brought about no efficiency gain. The total system pressure drop, he added, has stayed steady, averaging around 1.5” wg.

Steve Medvetz, Turbine Filter Manager for Gore, explained that there are 100 times more particles of 0.1 microns compared to 0.5microns. It is particles below0.3microns that are the main cause of fouling.

“Our HEPA filters cost about four times more than traditional filters, but our baseload customers are getting a payback in anywhere from three to six months due to fewer outages and the elimination of power loss,” said Medvetz. “For peaking plants, though, it may be harder to justify the added expense, unless you have issues such as corrosion, which can be addressed with the hydrophobic HEPA filters.” He reports over 100 units installed with Gore HEPA filters. This includes 30 Fs, some Es and aeroderivatives.

WTUI also showcases the major authorized GE service depots: IHI Corp. of Japan, Air New Zealand Gas Turbines (ANZGT), TransCanada Turbines, MTU Maintenance of Germany and Avio of Italy. Each had a booth in an exhibit hall consisting of several hundred booths, and each had the opportunity to address the gathering.

IHI kicked off the depot presentations. Based in Japan, it has two primary works there, as well as offices around the world in places, such as Los Angeles, New York, Australia and Thailand. It has been a GE authorized LM6000 depot since 1995 and is the only Level 4 certified depot inAsia.

“We have recently expanded our operations with a shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we keep a lease engine, and can perform hot section work as well as tooling,” said Kojiro Umene, General manager for Customer Support at IHI.

This facility is operated by IHI partner Reed Services Inc., which is headquartered in Canada but runs its U.S. operations out of Wyoming. Level 1 and Level 2 maintenance and repairs can be carried out there

Next up came TransCanada Turbines (TCT), which specializes in LM6000 and LM2500, aswell asRolls-RoyceRB211 and Avon turbines.According to Dale Goerhing, Director of Customer Support and GE Projects at TCT, the company runs four NorthAmerican and one overseas facility. It added a smaller facility in Bakersfield, California, in the past year, as well as a 225,000 square foot plant inAirdrie,Alberta, which includes nine balancing machines. Construction of an LM6000 test facility is being wrapped up by the middle of 2012.

MTUMaintenance is another GE authorized depot that is expanding. Uwe Kaltwasser, Customer Support Manager, said MTU had opened service shops in Brazil, Thailand and New Braunfels, Texas in the past year or so.On top ofmaintenance, the company has an impressive array of test cells for the LM2500, LM5000 and LM6000. Its primary facility (Level 4) is in Berlin. “Oil & gas accounts for almost 50% of our engines, with power generation being the second biggest sector,” said Kaltwasser.

While Avio is based in Italy, it does almost half its business in NorthAmerica. It focuses on components design andmanufacturing for LM2500, LM6000 and LMS100, with the bulk of business on MRO being on the LM2500, said Claudio Vinci, President and CEOofAvio Inc., theU.S. subsidiary of Avio, located in New Jersey.

The company has many plants within Italy. But it also has operations in The Netherlands and Poland. It runs facilities ranging from Level 1 to Level 4 at various locations around the world to service LM2500 and Level 1 and 2 to service LM6000 in Italy.

The final depot presentation came from ANZGT manager, John Callesen. He made the point that the company welcomed LM5000 business despite the fact that this machine is no longer being manufactured. “We are committed to supporting the LM5000 over the course of its entire lifecycle,” he said.

Serving its customers

GE ended the morning session by promoting its own service centers. The OEMhas expanded its network in the past couple of years in an effort to be positioned close to its customers. That adds up to a Brazilian facility that can do Level 4 work on the LM6000 and will soon add Level 4 capabilities for the LM2500.

The company increased capacity at its Netherlands plant by 50% and is upgrading a test cell for the LM2500+G4 there in the next few weeks. In addition, it added new testing capabilities in Houston to cover more of the GE Aero range, new Level 2 shops in the UK and Russia; and another Level 2 plant is being added in Perth, Australia this year.

Western Turbine Users Inc. (WTUI) exists to provide members a forum for the exchange of technical, operations and maintenance information and experience to improve reliability and economic viability of GE LM2500, LM5000, LMS100 and LM6000 users, manufacturers, and suppliers. For more information on WTUI visit www.wtui.com.