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COVER STORY

GAS TURBINES: MOVING TO PRIME TIME
A PROFITABLE GAS TURBINE BUSINESS WILL INCLUDE SALES OF NEW MACHINES AS WELL AS SERVICE
BILL SCHMALZER FORECAST INTERNATIONAL

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or the coming decade, not only will gas turbine production for electrical power generation be one of the more profitable sectors for manufacturers such as GE, Siemens, and Solar, there will also be an increased emphasis on the repair-overhaul and the operation-maintenance sectors.

Edging out alternatives
In spite of lingering fears of a stalled economic recovery, there are numerous factors worldwide and in the U.S. that point to a steady growth of the gas turbine sector. In the next two decades, most agencies are predicting a doubling of consumption of natural gas, as transportation and heating applications that traditionally depend on fuel oil migrate toward electrical energy supplies. A hydrogen economy is forecast for the long term but that is more likely a goal for 2050 than 2030. Agencies surveyed include the U.S Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency and the International Energy Agency. The concept of renewable energy has logically taken center stage. Many factors play a part in this, not the least of which are environmental responsibility, proper stewardship of natural resources, economics and energy security interests. Gas turbines lend themselves to this effort directly and indirectly. Renewable energy is not limited to wind, wave, hydro and solar sources, but also includes many prime applications for gas turbines. Production of cellulosic ethanol fuels, synthetic gases and oils from pyrolysis, and digester gases from agricultural waste are salient examples. Synfuels and biofuels may be the renewable energy source powering the gas turbines. In parallel, the most efficient use of either fuel oil or natural gas is through a gas turbine combined cycle plant. This also adds a security factor in conjunction with less reliable and dispatchable sources such as wind, hydroelectric and solar sources. In North America, three factors lead to the conclusion that as far as gas turbines are concerned, natural gas will be the leading choice for the near future.
10 TMl Handbook • 2011

Figure 1: Some 11,480 gas turbines will be built in the 2010-2019 period

Figure 2: The total value of production of gas turbines will be nearly $138 billion in the 2010-2019 period

The combination of a well established fuel gas infrastructure, advancements in drilling and recovery methods for tight sand gas, and desirable air emission profiles all help tilt the scales toward this fuel. In a report by the Congressional Research Service, it is stated that in the twenty years from 1989 to 2008, gas turbines have overtaken other thermal combustion sources, primarily coal, from 19% of energy production in 1989 to 39% in 2008. It is likely that trend will continue for another two decades.

An emphasis on service
One outcome of the current economic situation is an increased focus on the operation-maintenance and repair-overhaul sectors. Operation & Maintenance focuses on increasing reliability, extending life and increasing efficiency. Repair & Overhaul concentrates on restoring aging plants to near-new status, or even extending service life beyond original design. Repair & Overhaul routinely requires a planned outage, where the plant is out of service, preferably in the lower electricity demand periods in the spring or fall, when
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environmental concerns. The programs were reviewed with consideration to such factors as order patterns.com that the operator will do the right thing. There is no doubt we need to move toward efficient. especially when one finds unexpected erosion. The gas turbine-powered electrical generation market analysis is based on a review of machines either currently in production or projected to be in production by the end of the coming decade. the state air or water board knows www. California. we project that Solar Turbines in San Diego. A current forecast from the World Energy Technology Office of the European Union predicts that within twelve months the “Developing South” (traditionally referred to as the “Third World” or the Developing World) will overtake the northern hemisphere in energy consumption.S.turbomachinerymag. In terms of machines to be produced. A positive outlook Gas turbines will be used increasingly in combined cycle applications with HRSGs converting waste heat into steam. In the 2010-2019 period. this figure is expected to reach 40%. Proper maintenance of air inlet plenum filters. calendar-year dollars).5% . Proper planning and staging of materials are vital for an effective maintenance outage. This also helps individual utilities or operating companies reduce their individual investment in bulkhead spares.540 gas turbine units in the next ten years Figure 4: With gas turbine sales of nearly $60 billion. Probably the best Return On Investment can be found in the training of operators and the recruitment and retention of skilled personnel. lower emissions and high efficiency. including renewable and synthesis fuels. Informed study of the real implications of energy policy and the situation created by various special interests leads to the determination that there are no simple answers. while proceeding to the most efficient operating band of the plant as quickly as possible. lower power generation operational cost. GE is projected to again be the leading market player in terms of value of production. 15% of U. will be the leading player. sustainable. and renewable energy resources. evaporative cool- .S.ing system. financing. fuel and oil filters may be small details but add up to differentiate a poorly operating and inefficient plant from an outstanding and profitable one. Many factors combine to lead to the conviction that gas turbine sales will grow at an annual compounded growth rate of 2.0% worldwide in order to keep up with demand. GE will be the market leader in dollar terms inspections and repairs may be implemented. Another important factor is maintaining other operating parameters. with a 43% share. fuel concerns.480 gas turbine machines will be built for electrical power generation. Some of the factors driving gas turbine demand are: Fuel flexibility. It is also invaluable in this day and age of increasingly complex air and water permitting processes to have experienced personnel on hand who have developed good relationships with the regulatory authorities. producing over 30% of the TMI Handbook • 2011 11 Figure 3: Solar Turbines will produce nearly 3. Steam Turbine Generators using that steam for increased generation efficiency will continue to be the preferred tool in the power generation industry. Forecast International projects that 11. having a value of production in excess of $138. When contracts for hundreds of MWs of power may have severe penalties for loss of availability. When those inevitable anomalies occur. There are literally countless illustrations of the ways experienced personnel recoup many times their salaries in the average gas turbine power plant. Gas turbines are well situated to be part of a sound energy policy all over the spectrum. Boiler water chemistry is another vital area where the attention of operators will prevent premature failures of boiler tubes. and extend the life of Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG).7 billion (in current U. In 1998. such as maintaining optimum cooling on the condenser and other heat exchangers so as to give efficient boiler and turbine operation without wasting energy. power generation came from gas turbines. Operating issues include such things as observing established startup and shutdown ramps so as to reduce thermal stresses.3. Membership in a user group is invaluable. it is plain to see that investment in skilled Operation & Maintenance personnel is well worth the cost. short construction lead time and modular construction. corrosion or cracking on parts such as turbine blades — that is when having a parts pool to draw from may well prevent extended or unplanned outage. and by 2050 these countries will account for two thirds of global energy usage. and geopolitics. lower installed cost. population growth projections. By 2020.

solar. Heat recovery units add the ability to cooperate with industry and provide steam for power or processes. Siemens SGT5-2000E/3000E/4000F. but we believe they will be abundant from about 2014. we foresee annual gas turbine production rising to a plateau in the range of 1. Gas turbine machines with a power output of 125 MW and larger are projected to account for over 20% of total production in the decade to come.machines (Figures 1 . and exotic means such as geothermal energy. entire cities can be powered by 200 MW units. Siemens Westinghouse SGT6 3000F/5000F/ 6000G. Looking at the effectiveness of gas turbines as industrial workhorses will help explain why they remain the logical choice for a majority of new power plant projects.turbomachinerymag. As the growing demand translates into orders. and Mitsubishi Model 501 and 701 series. civic centers and shopping malls are good applications for 200 kW units. Renewable fuels show promise. but gas turbines are increasingly being adapted to many schemes to improve the efficiency and reliability of power projects. new electrical power generation capacity can come from several sources: Fossil-fuel-burning machines such as gas turbines (including microturbine machines of under 250 kW) and the new wave of gas engines and diesels. careful consideration of energy demand vs. food waste. Simple cycle Figure 5: Gas turbine electrical power generation: Power class unit comparison. hydroelectric. and will continue to do so for the near future.200 units per annum in the period 20122014. ocean currents. as well as synthetic fuels from coal and biomass. and wind power. 2010-2019 machines with Intercooled Recuperated systems can see up to 35% efficiency. production should gradually taper off in a normal sinusoidal trend. and fuel cells. After that. When the need becomes sufficient. In that group are the GE Energy Frame 7 and Frame 9. Wind power.com . Alstom GT24/26 and Type 13E. waste-to-energy plants (which burn paper or wood. This also highlights the fact that in combined cycle and cogeneration applications. investment is required. With the energy demand projected in the next decade. The product would be more expensive than the value that can be obtained from them. is not avail- Figure 6: Nearly 1. nuclear. Fuel cells are still considered to be in the demonstration stage despite their immense appeal stemming from their “relocation” of harmful emissions. scrap. Multiple applications One of the beauties of gas turbine machines is their modularity and extreme flexibility. and the newly announced Siemens SGT5-8000H. or even supply a municipality with district heating or cooling. there will be room for unprecedented development in all sectors and regions. It makes no sense to adopt a multi-step process to produce the fuels.320 turbines with a power output of over 180 MW each will be produced in the period 2010-2019 12 TMl Handbook • 2011 www. No solitary source will meet all of the world’s power requirements. while commercially available. and bagasse).8). Schools. efficiencies up to near 60% are realized.

com Figure 8: In dollar terms. His previous experience includes service as an operating engineer for Bechtel Power Corporation at the 660 MW Doswell Combined Cycle Facility in Ashland. permitting and construction before nuclear energy could be a significant force in energy production. . and surface transportation — and on large steam turbine machines used in combined-cycle installations. and even biofuels burned in increasingly more efficient gas turbines. the pendulum most likely will swing toward less coal and more liquid and gas fuels. mechanical load drive duty. too. solar. VA. followed by attempts to obtain financing and approvals. but in the interim. its overall efficiency is about 50%. with some approaching 45%. such as the latest H class machines from GE or Siemens. www. TI Author Bill Schmalzer is an analyst for Forecast International’s Industrial & Marine Turbine Forecast. Today. while some are advertised as already having a 60% efficiency in combined cycle mode. is expensive on a 14 TMl Handbook • 2011 dollar per-kilowatt-hour basis. and finally. whose efficiencies range from 20% . gas turbine machines have simple cycle efficiencies of at least 35%. nuclear In the North American Market.to fifteen-year lag period just for the initial front end design. His focus is on gas turbine engines used for electrical generation. the class of >180 MW will account for nearly 42% of gas turbine sales in the period 2010-2019 able everywhere. For a well-balanced energy portfolio. there will be a ten. renewable energy and clean coal will be required. Above the level of microturbines. from 1997-2000. short of unprecedented changes. nuclear power. The viable alternatives are limited. Solar power is appealing. Nuclear power and hydroelectric plants are expensive and require a long period of environmental hearings.turbomachinerymag. CT. a reluctance to embrace nuclear energy has created a situation where. The annual sales of gas turbines of over 180 MW will increase by over 35% in 2016 compared to 2010 Not yet. electrical power storage technology is immature and cannot handle high capacities. but shares the drawbacks of wind power — it is not available everywhere. construction. and it is expensive in the near term on a dollar-per-kilowatt-hour basis. Further.28% are what we consider to be true gas turbine machines that range in power output from 200 kW to 250 kW at the low end to the super-high power machines of 350+ MW. and operations manager for a 540 MW combined cycle power plant in Bridgeport.Figure 7: Gas turbine electrical power generation: Power class value comparison 2010-2019.