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MARCH/APRIL 2010 - $7.


VOL. 51 NO. 2


The Global Journal of Energy Equipment


The gas turbine aftermarket

Roger Ford
Universal Plant Services

Keith Marler
Allied Power Group

Darayus Pardivala
Sulzer Turbo Services

March/April 2010, Vol. 51, No. 2


The Global Journal of Energy Equipment


Turbo Speak: From the

The spirit of Texas and the U.S.

26 Power generation
Increasing cost of fuel and U.S. dependence on foreign fuel supplies have not
only renewed interest in conserving
energy, but also in generating electric
power using heat wasted from prime
mover processes.

By David Japikse

40 Turbo myth busters


F class machines are the workhorses of

many utilities around the world.
However, many of the early generation
of F-class plants are now nearing ten
years of operation and need to perform
major maintenance. And they are all
candidates for plant-level upgrades.
Klamath Cogeneration Plant, located
near the City of Klamath Falls on the
embarked on an upgrade to increase
output and efficiency, while improving
operational flexibility.
By Kalyan Kalyanaraman

Oil & Gas

By Rainer Kurz & Klaus Brun

22 LNG: A long-term growth

Industry News
A compressor test facility starts up in
Remembering Will Hickham
Air compressors help make snow
Emuge Corp. hosts machining

38 New Products & Services


Cover story
16 Upgrading F-class

In the last issue, we introduced corrosion and discussed some of the types of
corrosion. In this issue, we discuss



Intake filter promises higher

Air compressor uses a permanent
magnet drive
Emission monitoring device can be

The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

market sometimes comes in for disdain
in North America. Detractors point to
heavy opposition to LNG plants that
has thwarted ambitious expansion
plans for the fuel source. The price that
suppliers can obtain in the U.S. is usually less than can be achieved elsewhere. LNG is in the midst of an
unprecedented build out as producers
are looking well beyond the mid-term.
Natural gas demand will grow by
around 50% by 2015. Thus the longhaul prospects for LNG mean big business for global turbine and compressor
By Drew Robb

On the cover:
Klamath Cogeneration Plant
Picture courtesy Iberdrola Renewables

March/April 2010 Turbomachinery International 1

March/April 2010, Vol. 51, No. 2

Fire & Safety
28 Protecting turbine enclosures


There are a variety of fire suppression

systems on the market today to protect
turbine enclosures, from water mist
through carbon dioxide to clean agent,
each of which has advantages and disadvantages. This article will review
those types of systems, as well as a new
class of fire suppression system: hybrid
clean agent-water mist.
Eric McWhirter

Operation &
30 Evaluating intake filters
The gas inlet filtration system protects
the turbine from harmful debris, which
can lead to reduced efficiency and
power, component performance degradation, and blade failures. In this article, five steps are suggested for evaluating a current GT inlet filtration system and determining the need for


Melissa Wilcox
Southwest Research Institute

33 Burning blast furnace gas
ThyssenKrupp Companhia Siderrgica
do Atlntico (CSA) is building a new
integrated steelworks near Rio de
Janeiro in Brazil. CSA has selected
Alstoms KA11N2 LBtu combined
cycle plant to provide power for the
plant using waste gases from the steel
making process.


2 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

Operation &
36 Rejuvenating rusty HRSGs
Combined cycle plants suffer a gradual
decrease in output and efficiency
caused by the buildup of corrosion and
deposits on the fin side of tubes in Heat
Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG).
This problem starts creating a visible
reduction in output after about ten
years of operation.

37 Best practices for the Frame 5

T he GE Frame 5 combustion turbine is
operating in power generation and
other plants worldwide. Many of these
turbines are aging, however, and
require repairs and refurbishments.
Identifying components that need
replacement requires an effective diagnostic process.
Jim Vines
HPI Mechanical Group

20 The gas turbine aftermarket
Americas, Sulzer
Turbo Services,
discusses services
provided by independents.

35 The Houston scene

Roger Ford, Vice
President of
Development at
Universal Plant
Services, discusses the role of


as turbine service pervades this issue
in various ways. The cover story (p.
16) talks about an F-class plant
upgrade performed largely by the
OEM. Maintenance evaluating filters (p.
30), HRSG cleaning (p. 36), Frame 5 (p. 37)
is the theme of many articles and write
ups in the issue. Independents get a fair
share of coverage.
When we talk about independents, the
scene inevitably shifts to Houston a playground of all the majors, as Roger Ford (p.
35) of Universal Plant Services puts it.
Houston is home to more than 20 major
aftermarket companies. The OEMs, too,
have their presence there.
In a moving testimony, Marc Hickham
talks about his father Will Hickham (p. 10),
who, in many ways, was a pioneer in the
non-OEM service of gas turbines. Will set
up shop in Houston after being in
Schenectady, NY. Well, he set up more than
one though, selling them to bigger companies. Will was a pioneer even in that trend.
Its a Houston
cycle, says Keith
Marler of Allied
Power Group. Small
independents start up,
then get picked up by
inevitably, after they
are bought over, they
spawn more independents as some people
Keith Marler
who would prefer Allied Power Group
working for an independent do not like the change and start their
own business.
Is this a Texan trait, then? Ford, while
acknowledging the Texan independent
streak, says this is a larger characteristic of
the rotating machinery industry, where individual talent often shines through in spite of
domination by big companies.
Marler says he is still young enough to
grow the business on his own he is 42
years old, but with nearly 25 years of experience. Marlers story gives a fascinating
insight into the values that ensure success.
He started out as a grinder helper and
sand blaster and worked his way up in Preco
Turbine. He started Turbine Blade Repair

The spirit
of Texas

Services (TBRS) in 2000, grew the company and, in 2005, merged it with Bruce
Agardys Power Spares to form Allied
Power Group.
He learned engineering at the University
of Life, Marler proudly says, and adds that
he never went to any college. Today, Allied
Power Group employs over 90 people and
recently expanded into a 75,000 sq. ft facility. Now that the new Houston facility is
open, Allied Power Group has closed its
other locations in Houston (17,500 sq. ft.)
and Coconut Creek, FL (6,000 sq. ft.).
Marler believes theres potential for Allied
Power to expand to 150,000 sq. ft.
Those who know Marler describe him as
easy going and very humble. You wouldnt
know he is one of the leaders of a big company if you saw him in a store.
What Marler has instead is a work ethic:
Doing one thing and doing it exceedingly well.
Marlers repair business has been helped
by the trend to repair rather than buy parts,
as users try to cut corners and increase profitability. And Marlers Allied Power Group
specializes in F-class repair, which contributes 70% of the companys business.
Thats the market we were going for
and we had prepared the business plan
accordingly, adds Marler. Sales increased
by 22% in 2009 for Allied Power Group.
Darayus Pardivala of Sulzer Turbo Services
also believes that it is the investment in Fclass that Sulzer made a few years ago that
is paying off now for the company.
Allied Power Group is now looking at
servicing steam turbines, with F-class
combined cycle plants coming up for
major maintenance. Servicing steam turbines, according to Marler, is labor-intensive and users do not always stock spare
parts. He expects a lot of repair happening
on diaphragms due to water erosion, and
packing glands.
Next year, Allied Power will get into the
F-class rotor business. The company currently has agents in Europe and Asia along
with satellite facilities. Sweden and Central
Europe are also target locations.
Houston provides resources for these
companies, as they can leverage niches developed by other vendors, such as laser welding
and EDM. The city is also home to talent
the bottomline, as Roger Ford says. TI

Kalyan Kalyanaraman
6 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

Emuge Corporation hosts
machining seminar
In October last year, Emuge Corp. (cutting tools), Hermle Machine Co. (5-axis
machining), Concepts NREC (CAM software), and M&H Probing Systems
(inspection) hosted a one-day machining
seminar. The seminar focused on new
ways to boost productivity, material
removal rates, and optimize tooling when
machining complex bladed components
such as impellers, blisks, rotors and compressors. The event took place at Emuge
Corp.s technology center in West
Boylston, MA.

Attendees witnessed firsthand how

integrating the industrys leading
machining centers, end mills, software
and probing systems when applied with
the latest techniques, can improve material removal and tool life. Participants
were taught easier programming, tool
path planning, and proper tool selection
to help achieve better transitions from
roughing to finish.
The seminar included live machining of challenging bladed components
on a Hermle C 30 U machine along
with classroom time and technical presentations. The event highlighted three
different milling applications including
a complex turbocompressor, impeller
and blisk. Attendees saw the entire
process the setting up of components, programming, machining and

Software improves
economizer performance
Economizer supplier, HRST, Inc. (Eden
Prairie, MN), has incorporated Ansys
software in its design and analysis. The
company specializes in equipment that
can withstand fatigue due to cycling. The
software can help HRST perform finite
element analysis inhouse to estimate
fatigue life of components.

Acoustic systems supplier

appoints business manager
Eberhard Erb will be the new Business
Development Manager - Europe at
Universal GmbH. Erbs responsibilities
8 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010


Kobe Steel, Ltd. has begun operations on its new compressor test facility at its Takasago
Works in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. The 4-billion-yen ($44 million) facility will
be able to test large-capacity process gas compressors with variable-speed motors rated
up to 20,000 kW. The facility doubles Kobe Steels testing capacity. Test facilities are essential to confirm the mechanical stability and design performance of compressors. The facility will help Kobe Steel make inroads into markets in the U.S., Europe, China and the
Middle East.
Kobe Steel estimates that it has a 10% share of the world market, which it aims to
increase to 20% by 2012. It also plans to increase its market share of large-capacity screw
and reciprocating compressors.
Kobe Steel forecasts that its compressor business will post sales of 74 billion yen in fiscal 2009, ending in March 2010. The company anticipates that sales will steadily grow
in fiscal 2010.
Kobe Steel currently makes a variety of compressors with motor ratings ranging from
1.5 kW to several tens of thousands of kW. Some of Kobe Steels compressors are used

Kobe Steels new compressor test facility in Japan

in process gas for petrochemical and oil refining plants; associated gas for oil and gas
drilling; natural gas and fuel gas for power generation; and blast furnace byproduct gas
at steel plants. Other emerging markets served by Kobe Steel include CO2 compression.

include the promotion and sales of

Universals acoustic and emission technologies throughout continental Europe.
Erb was recently a Business
Development Manager for Precision
Polymer Engineering Ltd and has also
served in a similar capacity with Eaton
Fluid Power. Universal is a supplier of
acoustic and emission technologies.

mance testing. The plant commenced

operation in simple cycle service with the
commissioning of the first turbine and is
expected to enter into combined cycle
operation by the fourth quarter of this
year. GE and Ranhill have also signed a
21-year contractual service agreement
that covers repairs, upgrades and outage
services for the turbines.

A 6FA plant starts operating

in Malaysia

A mega multiphase pump

passes factory testing

A GE Frame 6FA gas turbine has been

commissioned at the Ranhill Powertron II
plant, in the state of Sabah, East
Malaysia. The 190 MW combined cycle
facility will help meet Malaysias
demand growth, which is projected to
average at about 3% per year until the
year 2020. Both Ranhill Powertron I and
II are owned by Ranhill Power Sdn Bhd,
a subsidiary of Ranhill Bhd.
GE supplied two Frame 6FA gas turbine-generator packages, training and
technical advisory services and perfor-

A twin-screw, multiphase pump that can

transport 12 mbpd of oil and 13 MM scfd
of gas has passed a Factory Acceptance
Test (FAT) at the Leistritz Pumpen
GmbH factory in Nuremberg, Germany.
The pump was the first of 16 ordered in
August 2009 by Pemex, the national oil
company of Mexico.
Leistritz will supply these pumps as
part of complete packages that include
piping, valves, E-buildings, controls and
automation. The packages will be
(Continued on p. 10)


I.W. Will Hickham died March 1st from a long illness with Celiac Disease. Will
Hickham was one of the early pioneers in the turbomachinery Industry.
Will began his career in the late 50s as a young engineer with GE in Schenectady,
NY. Will was later transferred by GE to Houston, Texas, where he worked as a service
engineer whose job was troubleshooting large steam turbines and gas turbines.
During his employment at GE, he
became increasingly passionate about his
chosen profession. He spent a great deal of
time in area plants, servicing and installing
turbomachinery. This gave him varied
experience. He loved solving unusual problems. Will was always eager to share his
experiences with just about anyone who
would listen.
Will later developed a keen interest in
the field of vibration analysis. For years he
always carried a portable analyzer in the
Wiill Hickham
trunk of his car. He was ever ready, day or
night, to head out to one of the many
plants in South Texas.
In the early 1960s, Will, along with partner Clyde Ashley, formed Ashley, Hickham, Maintenance and Engineering Company.
This turned out to be noteworthy in that Ashley, Hickham was one of the first nonOEM repair facilities in the industry.
Ashley, Hickham became a dominant player in the industry and evolved into Ashley,
Hickham, and Uhr. Later the company was sold to DeLaval (to become Deltex). The
company would eventually be integrated into TurboCare.
Will dabbled in other ventures for a few years, but eventually gravitated back to this
true love repair of rotating equipment. In the late 70s, Will started a new venture
I.W. Hickham Company (later renamed Hickham Industries).
Hickham Industries quickly became the innovator in the industry, becoming a
leader in the manufacturing of non-OEM compressor wheels, aftermarket screw compressor repair, advanced rotor balancing techniques and rotor storage. Will Hickhams
plan was to always add at least one novel innovation to the company's offerings each
Will Hickham also had an uncanny ability to surround himself with talented people.
Many former employees remain the dominant players in the industry even today.
Will Hickham will be remembered by many as a pioneer and innovator in this industry. He will also be missed by many others as a father, family member, friend, or as
a mentor. He was a truly unique individual definitely one of a kind.
By Marc Hickham
installed on three platforms KuMaloob-B, Zaap-B and Zaap-D located in the Gulf of Mexico. The pumps will
be driven by 2,500 hp, 1,800 rpm electric
The pumps will be shipped to a fabrication facility in New Iberia, LA, for
packaging together with electric motors,
piping, auxiliary systems and controls.
The complete skids will be barged from
Louisiana to Mexico later this year.

Wind turbines drive permanent magnet generators

The Switch (Vantaa, Finland), an electric
equipment manufacturer, will supply two
direct-drive prototypes to Schuler Group
of Germany a project developer. The
package consists of 3 MW permanent
magnet generators optimized to work
with 2.7 MW Full Power Converters
The Schuler Group is currently
10 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

expanding its focus from the automotive

industry to the wind market. The company aims to develop and supply large-scale
wind power plants for Germany initially,
and then other Central European and
international markets.

Manufacturing wind turbines

in the UK
Siemens Energy plans to build a new production plant for offshore wind turbines
in the UK. Siemens has implemented
eleven projects with a combined capacity
in excess of one GW, with more than half
in the UK. From 2015, it is anticipated
that more than 1,000 wind turbines will
be erected in British waters.
Siemens expects that offshore projects with a combined capacity of 32 GW
will be implemented in the UK by 2020,
which could meet a quarter of Britains
power demand.
The planned production plant in the

UK will create more than 700 new jobs.

Siemens is currently appraising the suitability of potential sites for the production plant, both on the east coast and in
the northeast of the UK, with a special
focus on the harbor infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Jens-Peter Saul has been
appointed the new CEO of Siemens
Wind Power Business Unit. He succeeds
Andreas Nauen, who is leaving Siemens.
Saul was previous Managing Director of
Siemens Energy in the UK and also
responsible at Energy for the Regions
North and West Europe.

Rolls-Royce wins pipeline

contract in India
Rolls-Royce, has won a second contract
in two years from Gas Authority India
Limited (GAIL) to supply power systems
for a gas pipeline project. The new contract is valued at $90 million.
This new order is for four RollsRoyce RB211 packages, which will be
used on the 500 km Vijaipur-Dadri
Bawana Pipeline (VDPL) running from
Vijaipur to Dadri, part of the larger VDPL
project. This follows a $130 million contract award in 2008 for six RB211 gas
compressor sets for the 600 km DahejVijaipur (DVPL) pipeline that runs
between Dahej in Gujrat to Vijaipur in
Madhya Pradesh.
The four new RB211-GT61 Dry Low
Emissions units will be sited at two compressor stations, Kailaras and Chainsa,
joining the other six to be located at
Vijaipur and Jhabua. All ten sets will
drive RFBB36 gas compressors designed
and manufactured by Rolls-Royce.
The RB211 gas generators will be
manufactured at the companys Montreal,
Quebec, facility while packaging of the
units and the manufacture of the compressors will take place in Mount Vernon,
Ohio. The equipment is scheduled for
delivery in the first quarter of 2011.

Gas compression provider

expands its management
Valerus Compression Services (Houston,
TX), a provider of gas compression, processing and treating services, has
announced two new members to its leadership team: Scott McKinnon, vice president of procurement and Frank Smith,
vice president of production equipment.
McKinnon will be responsible forvendor relationships and purchasing in
the manufacturing, packaging and general operations areas. He previously
worked at Ingersoll Rand Company
where he most recently served as a sector
vice president and oversaw spending in
manufacturing and assembly facilities
around the world.
(Continued on p. 12)


The applications for compressed air can vary from removing the husk off of onions in
a food manufacturing plant to blowing glass bottles for breweries. An intriguing compressed air application is artificial snow making.
When winter arrives, many look forward to taking to the slopes for recreational skiing and snowboarding. Mother nature cannot always be counted on to provide consistent snow. Mild climates in many popular ski regions have resulted in snow shortages, making artificial snow necessary for some ski parks to operate. Throughout North
America, most ski parks depend heavily on snow making equipment to keep sufficient
snow on the slopes and provide an extended ski season.
A compressor, water pump and snow cannon (Figures 1, 2) are necessary components in any snow making operation. A
system of snow cannons is used to blast a
combination of cold water and compressed air over the ski slopes and trails.
Providing ample temperature, the produc-

Clockwise from right

Figure 1: A snow cannon
Figure 2: A compressed air system
for snowmaking
Figure 3: Camerons compressors
used in the application

tion of artificial snow is achieved with this process. A snow system can account for up
to 25% of a ski parks annual operation expense, so selecting the most efficient equipment is critical. Centrifugal compressors are typically the machines of choice in most
snow making systems, due to the fact that this type of compressor typically has the
most economical cfm-per-bhp, compared to rotary screw and reciprocating compressors.
Cameron Compression Systems provides oil-free centrifugal air compressors for
snowmaking applications (Figure 3). Its TA-6000 centrifugal compressor is used in ski
parks, such as Angel Fire Resort, Holiday Valley, Gore mountain and Alpine Meadows.
This multi-stage geared compressor is available in up to 1,750 hp with capabilities of
15 psi and a flow range of 8,000 CFM. Compressed air technology allows ski parks to
realize a longer season by guaranteeing snow showers in the weather forecast.

Frank Smith will be in charge of overall business services with an emphasis on

shale gas. Previously, Smith served as the
executive vice president of Natco, an oilfield equipment supplier.

FS-Elliott makes organization

FS-Elliott Co., a supplier of centrifugal
air compressors, has appointed Al Giglia
as Vice President of World Wide Sales.
Giglia brings with him 29 years of experience with industrial machinery and
products for global markets.
Michael Gibala will serve as the new
Director of Global Services. Gibala
12 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

assumes this new role with more than 10

years of sales, marketing, and service
experience in the energy and rotating
equipment industries.
Donald Ravicchio will be taking the
new position as Vice President of
Marketing. Ravicchio has more than 35
years of experience in marketing and
sales of rotating machinery.

Expanding a service shop in

Abu Dhabi
GE and Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies
(ADAT) will expand the Gulf Turbine
Services (GTS) repair facility in Abu
(Continued on p. 14)



-class machines are the workhorses

of many utilities around the world.
However, many of the early generation of F-class plants are now nearing ten years of operation and need to
perform major maintenance. And they are
all candidates for plant-level upgrades.
Since the introduction of the F-class,
OEMs have introduced advanced versions. For instance, Siemens has FD, FD2,
FD3 and F4, each an improved version
over the other, in terms of output, efficiency, emissions and operational flexibility
(Figure 1). And the advancements in the
improved versions can be transferred to
the earlier models as upgrades.
Klamath Cogeneration Plant (Figure
2), located near the City of Klamath Falls
on the Oregon-California border, has
embarked on an upgrade to increase output and efficiency, while improving operational flexibility. The plant employs two
Siemens W501 FD2 gas turbines (now
known as SGT6-5000F) serving a combined cycle-cogeneration application.
During a scheduled outage in 2009,
one of the two turbines was upgraded,
and the other turbine is scheduled for an
upgrade this year. Greg Perona,
Marketing Manager for GT modernizations at Siemens, considers it significant
that Klamath decided to complete four
upgrades at one time.
An FD3 thermal performance upgrade
package (Figures 3, 4) increased the output and heat rate 30 MW and 80
Btu/kW-hr. Incorporating production
combustion hardware from the F4 to the
Klamath unit allowed an increase to the
combustion inspection interval from
8,000 hours to 12,500 hours.
A low-low turndown upgrade essentially a CO emission product gives
increased operational flexibility. Typically
the operating range is 70% to 100% to
maintain 25 ppm NOx and 10 ppm CO. But
by bleeding the air and bypassing the combustion system, CO emissions can stay
within limits down to 50% of the output. In
addition, an inlet heating system has been
installed to help Klamath turn down the
output to 60% as required even during icing
conditions in winter.
Perona adds that several W501F
plants have been upgraded recently. A

16 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

Figure 1: Advanced versions of the F-class introduced by Siemens. These upgrades are designed
so that they can be transferred into earlier models

total of 15 units have been upgraded

using FD3 upgrade technology of which
four have the complete package. And
Siemens currently has orders for six
more. Once the U.S. emerges from the
current turndown in demand, extra power
and fuel savings will be a significant
advantage for these gas-fired plants.

A clean plant
The Klamath plant is operated by Pacific
Klamath Energy, Inc., an affiliate of
Iberdrola Renewables (IBR). The companys focus is renewables with onshore
wind as the top focus in the U.S. Gas-fired
generation, such as the Klamath plant, is
a flexible resource that complements our
wind generation in the Northwest and
helps us optimize our use of transmission
between the Pacific Northwest and
California, the company says.
Commissioned in 2001, the Klamath
Cogeneration Plant employs two natural
gas-fired combustion turbines and one
steam turbine. A peaking plant of 100
MW in the same location uses four gas
turbines in simple cycle.
IBR manages Klamaths fuel supply
and markets the output of the plants to
wholesale customers in California and

the Northwest. The cogeneration plant

creates up to 275,000 lbs/hr of steam for
manufacturing use at a nearby woodproducts plant, Collins Wood Products.
The net energy efficiency is 54% LHV.
The plant is cooled with recycled
municipal wastewater effluent, reducing
the citys current wastewater discharge
by about 2.3 million gallons per day.
The Klamath Control Room is the
nerve center for these plants with 18 computer screens for monitoring and controlling plant conditions. The plant requires
just two operators for operation one in
the control room and one outside.
All major equipment and control systems can be remotely operated from the
control room. A staff of 22 are on site to
manage, maintain and operate the plant.
The overriding objective of the
upgrade was to invest in technology so
that the plant stays on the cutting edge,
says Mike Roberts, Managing Director,
Power Asset Management & Operations
at IBR. The business drivers were the output increase, heat rate improvement,
extension of maintenance intervals and
improvement in turndown. Due to the
(Continued on p. 18)

Figure 2: A view of the 506 MW Klamath Cogeneration Plant

operator would look at a camera installed

in the inlet, or physically look through a
porthole to see if icing was happening.
Then the load would be raised. If the
Inlet Guide Vanes are opened to 70%,
theres no danger of icing, adds Martens.
With the upgrade, bleed heat air is let
in, instead of the output being raised.
While the control system provides for an
automatic action, this winter Klamath
staff manually performed the action of
letting in hot air to know more about
the system and master it. Since the heat
rate would go up if the inlet bleed heat is
let in, the decision has to be managed,
says Roberts.

Outage planning
Figure 3: FD3 thermal performance upgrade with row 4

Figure 4: The ugpraded rotor assembly

Figure 5: The single-piece exhaust

upgrades, our cost structure has improved,

and all the positive attributes of an F-class
plant have been enhanced. Also, its
handy to have a flexible gas-fired asset to
complement the wind, adds Roberts.

7), which uses compressor discharge air,

consumes parasitic power. The trade offs
were analyzed and it was found that payback would be quick, plant staff say.
With this upgrade, the plant can be
operated at low loads in the night without
requiring to be stopped, and thus avoid
cycling the plant. A large operating
range is a critical component for us. We
need as much flexibility as possible to
optimize these assets, says Roberts.
Martens explains that there are two
forms of inlet bleed heat in the marketplace. One form admits the inlet bleed
heat in the air duct, while the other sends
it to the inlet filters. Klamaths icing
occured at the inlet bellmouth and compressor first stage, rather than the filters.
Klamath chose the system that bleeds
into the air duct.
Before the inlet heating was installed,
Klamath had to raise output every time
there was a danger of icing happening.
An alarm at the controls would sound
when humidity, temperature and dewpoint conditions would favor icing. The

Enabling improvements
One could keep pushing on the gas turbine
performance, but the plant itself is limited
by the Heat Recovery Steam Generation
(HRSG) and the steam turbine, says Ray
Martens, Plant Manager at Klamath. We
studied the balance of plant to evaluate if
they can handle the improved gas turbine
performance, he says and adds, 30 MW
was as far as the HRSG, steam turbine and
condenser would permit. We added a few
banks of radiators to the transformer to
dissipate the additional heat generated by
the higher output.
Klamath Falls winters can be quite
severe, says Martens. We had icing
problems before and, in the past, had to
keep the plant running at a higher level to
avoid ice formation in the inlet.
The inlet heating upgrade (Figures 6,
18 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

The timing of the upgrades was critical.

The plant was due for its scheduled major
overhauls. Further, the Siemens W501F
had an issue with cracking in the exhaust
cylinder and manifold, which had to be
addressed during the outage. The exhaust
cylinder, which carries the rotor bearing,
was replaced with a new single-piece
design (Figure 5).
The Klamath steam turbine was an
ABB design, which was bought by
Alstom. But the control system stayed
with the ABB after the acquistion, plant
staff say. We decided to upgrade the
control system to obtain better support
for these systems. After reviewing several systems, we chose to go with the
Siemens SPPA-T3000, which provides a
single platform for both gas turbine and
steam turbine controls.
The major outage also coincided with
the expiration of the existing Operating
Plant Service Contract (OPSA) with
Siemens. Klamath has negotiated a Term
Warranty agreement with the OEM. The
main difference for us is that this agreement assigns the risk on both parties,
instead of the majority of the risk residing
with the owner, says Martens
He adds that Siemens is at a point
when many of the original parts that were
supplied with the unit are being phased
out. New materials and coatings have
been introduced, and this was time for
Klamath to procure those new parts under
a different agreement. Lots of stars were
aligned in our case, adds Martens.
Next year will mark Klamaths 10th
year of operation when the plants power
contracts will expire. Since we will be
remarketing the plant next year, we made
the investment for the upgrades, says
Klamath performed a pre- and postoutage performance test that showed that
Siemens has achieved its performance
and emissions guarantees. Guarantees

first units outage was scheduled as a 51

day - 53 day outage, April to June, but it
was extended by a week.

Addressing safety
During the outage, the plant staff became
project managers. While operators performed routine work, the maintenance
department was responsible for managing the contractors. We peaked at 190
people during the outage, says Martens.
Safety is a big concern at these mega

outages. Martens says they had no losttime accidents. A recordable happened,

as a mechanic, who was not a plant
employee, injured his back when he
picked up a drill and placed it on a table.
Besides that, and in spite of rigging and
other challenges, Siemens gave high priority
to safety during the planning and execution
of the outage, says Martens. A safety officer
was always present on site. From our side,
we decided that every employee will have a
day off after 14 days of working. TI

Figure 6, 7: Inlet bleed heat system (top and


also apply to performance degradation of

the gas turbine after 25,000 hours of
Planning for the outage and deciding
what exactly should be upgraded or
changed took nearly a year and half.
This involved dialogue between the
plant staff, the asset management team
and Siemens to flesh out as many
options as possible.
Roberts says: We had a number of
options: No upgrade; just a major maintenance; output increase without turndown and so on.
The team created alternative scenarios:
What happens if we run the plant 3,000
hours and 300 starts, 4,000 hours a year
and 100 starts, and so on. Financial models were created to evaluate each option.
Thats the nature of our business, says
Roberts. We are never certain how
exactly the plant will run next week. For
instance, it took almost three months just
to decide on whether to go for the inlet
heating upgrade option since the trade off
for lowering the load was parasitic power
At the end of it, we decided that we will
go full hog, says Roberts. And we now
conclude that we made the right decision.
For instance, due to the inlet heating
upgrade, we cycled less during this winter.
Klamath has scheduled a similar
upgrade for its second unit this year. The

March/April 2010 Turbomachinery International 19


Can you discuss the
aftermarket trends?


Darayus Pardivala,
President Americas,
Sulzer Turbo Services,
discusses services
provided by independents

We are a global player and we see that each

local market has its own characteristics.
More and more of our customers want full
service solutions availability in their region
and this is one reason we have expanded our
global footprint.
Even within the U.S., we have different
markets, each with its own characteristics.
The over-arching trend is price competitiveness, without any compromise on quality
and speed of response. There is increased
price pressure in the hydrocarbon processing
industry, making it one of the most competitive markets today.
In North America, the older gas turbines
are certainly reducing. The growth has been
on the high-tech gas turbine side.

Who are your competitors?

Primarily OEMs, and the larger third-party
players. There are of course numerous local
players specializing in their own niches.

How has the recession

affected you?
From our perspective, the recession affected
different areas of our business differently. In
the hydrocarbon processing, which includes
refining and chemical processing, we saw a
drop in business. We saw much less of a drop
in the power segment. This was primarily
because we were ahead of most independents
with our new technology repair investments.
Starting in 2003, we began investing in
and developing new repair technologies,
tooling, people and facilities for F-class
turbine repair. We now have a broad spectrum of references on all the F-class
machines. Today, we can safely say that we
can repair almost any engine component on
F-class turbines, and our customers have
the assurance of knowing that we have the
experience and competence to be an alternate to the OEM.
While our business was not hit especially hard by the recession in 2009, 2010 has its
own risks and uncertainties. Service businesses tend to be hurt late in a downturn
cycle. We appear to have outperformed
many of our competitors and believe that
this is mainly due to our concentration on
providing our customers with the best service experience possible.

Do you provide parts for

To date, our focus has been on repair and
comprehensive service for the complete turbine. We have developed extensive hot section component repair, field service and
rotor repair capabilities. At any given time,
there are always a few F-class rotors in our
shops, which is a significant indicator of our
strength and the trust we have generated
20 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

with our customers on these units.

Our company in the Netherlands has
supplied hot section F-class parts on certain
engines and also repaired the 50 Hz F-class
rotors. The decision to manufacture hot section components is extremely complex and
involves the active support of our customers,
which we are happy to say is in place. We
also have numerous sets of our compressor
blades running in F-class engines for both 50
Hz and 60 Hz models installed over the past
four to five years.

What sort of service

contracts do you offer?
Our contracts are entirely based on user
requirements. In Latin America, Europe and
the Middle East for instance, our customers
have told us that they value Long Term
Service and Parts Agreements and we provide those services. In the U.S., the requirement for LTSAs has reduced.
Many users, the bigger ones especially,
have come to the conclusion that they can
manage their maintenance themselves. We
are flexible with the way we structure our
contracts. For instance, a customer may
enter into a single source service agreement
with us. In return, they ask that we give them
a standard and consistent pricing, high quality and priority service.

Can you discuss the

Houston scene?
Houston has the largest number of turbomachinery repair centers anywhere. Every OEM
has set up shop here, besides the 20-odd
independents. Small players look at organic
growth, and the OEMs often look at acquisitions to increase their footprint. Thanks to the
support of our loyal customer base, today we
have the largest and most technically
advanced service center in Houston.

Tell us about your company

Sulzer is a 175 year old engineering and
technology company headquartered in
Winterthur, Switzerland. In the U.S.,
Sulzer Turbo Services has locations in
Houston and New Orleans. We also have
facilities in Canada, Brazil, Argentina,
Venezuela, Uruguay, the Netherlands,
Indonesia and Switzerland, and many
local Sales offices. While the capabilities
of each service center may vary based on
local market needs, we have the ability to
leverage the expertise of any of our locations to meet the requirements of our
clients, no matter where they may be
located. Today, with our multiple locations, we provide service in close to one
hundred countries.
Our newest group, Contracts and
Engineering, works with clients globally
supporting our larger contracts for LTSAs,
LTPAs, relocations and rerates. TI




he Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

market sometimes comes in for
disdain in North America.
Detractors point to heavy opposition to LNG plants that has thwarted
ambitious expansion plans for the fuel
source. The price that suppliers can
obtain in the U.S. is usually less than can
be achieved elsewhere.
Further, natural gas through indigeneous shale gas has emerged as a
gamechanger. As well as the U.S.,
Canada has emerged as an area replete
with shale gas resources.
The availability of shale gas will
impede LNG imports to the U.S. and
affect the global LNG chain, says Laura
Cozzi, an analyst and deputy chief economist at the International Energy Agency
(IEA). We expect to see LNG prices
going down due to the U.S. gas market
having a supply glut. Global capacity utilization of LNG, which runs at about
88% today, might shrink down to 73% in
the next five to ten years.
As shown in Figure 1, LNG capacity
will significantly exceed demand over the
next few years. While capacity will grow
by 40% by 2015, consumption will only
increase by 15%.
Nevertheless, LNG is in the midst of
an unprecedented build out as producers
are looking well beyond the mid-term.
Figure 2 shows that natural gas demand
will grow by around 50% by 2015. Thus
the long-haul prospects for LNG mean
big business for global turbine and compressor suppliers.

The poster child

The poster child for all that is grand
about LNG is Qatar. That small nation
had become the global leader in LNG
production since 2006, having leapt
above Indonesia, Algeria and Malaysia.
Over the next five years, Qatar plans to
become more dominant by exploiting
even more of its 15% share of the
worlds proven gas reserves 900 trillion SCF.
That said, Hamad Al-Muhannadi,
Operations Manager at RasGas, says that
the LNG outlook has slowed down compared to that of two years ago. Currently,
Qatar produces over 41.7 million tons per
22 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

Courtesy of IEA.

Figure 1: The rapid build out of LNG facilities

will result in a gas glut over the next few
years. Between 2007 - 2015, total LNG
capacity will have increased over 40% and
usage will increase by approximately 15%

Figure 2: Despite weaker short- and midterm demand, LNG producers are clearly
planning for the long haul. According to IEA,
gas demand will grow 50% between 2007
and 2030

annum (mtpa). The immediate goal is 77

mtpa by 2011 with a longer range target
of 250 mtpa by 2020. Bottom line: LNG
is gearing up for an even bigger future.
Since the first LNG facility opened its
doors in Qatar in 1964, production has
gradually ramped up until the first
megaproject opened in 1996 under
QatarGas. The acceleration since then
has been spectacular. A 2 mtpa train went
into operation in 1997 then a 3.5 mtpa
one in 1999. 2004 saw the introduction of
RasGas Trains 3, 4 and 5 at 4.7 mtpa
each. Last year saw the first 7.8 mtpa
trains trains 4 and 5 at QatarGas.
GE appears to have cornered the LNG
turbocompressor market, particularly in
Qatar. QatarGas Train 4 and 5 each have a
125 MW, GE Frame 9 gas turbine, a lowpressure compressor (3MCL1403), with a
horizontally split casing, and the highpressure MCL1402. Meanwhile, RasGas
launched Train 6 last year and Train 7 is
in final start up.
Train 7 of RasGas will be producing
by the end of February, said AlMuhannadi at the recent GE Oil & Gas
meeting in Florence, Italy. For 2010,
trains 6 and 7 of RasGas will be completed, as well as trains 4 to 7 of QatarGas.
But Qatari strategy does not just center upon bigger trains. The entire value
chain has come in for attention. Larger
and more efficient ships, such as the QFlex and the Q-Max, have boosted capacity considerably. Similarly, an Adriatic
terminal has recently been inaugurated
17 km off the coast of Italy.
In Qatar, work is being done with a
new process called AP-X to achieve
higher capacity. This requires an additional propane compressor to be added.
While Qatar leads the way, Australia

is following closely in its wake. Within a

few years, Australia will have moved up
to second place in world LNG production. New projects amounting to a $100
billion investment should increase capacity by four times to over 90 mtpa by
2020. These projects include Pluto,
Ichthys, Pilbara LNG, Darwin Train 2,
Wheatstone, Gladstone coal seam
methane and Gorgon.

From subsea
The Gorgon LNG project is to be situated on Barrow Island off the northwest
coast of Australia (Figure 3). It consists
of three 5 mtpa trains and a pipeline to
the mainland.
The project has been in development
for some time, although it has been experiencing delays due to logistics,
approvals and contract negotiations.
Everything was finalized, however,
towards the end of 2009.
GE Oil & Gas will be supplying
propylene and methane compressors for
LNG, as well as a Frame 9 for power
generation and CO2 reinjection technology for carbon sequestration. This LNG
megaproject is just one of many that is
managed by Project Resources
Company (PRC), a division of Chevron
that conducts project management.
Chevron defines a megaproject as one
costing over $1 billion.
PRC is currently managing 17 such
projects worldwide within a portfolio of
60 to 70: five in North America, two in
South America. two in Africa, one in
Europe, two in the Caspian Sea area, four
in East Asia and one in Australia.
Michael Illanne, President and
General Manager of PRC explains the
(Continued on p. 24)

Figure 3: The Gorgon LNG project off the coast

of Australia sources gas from a subsea site
and consists of three 5 mtpa trains

unique nature and complexity of

megaprojects. They require an
increased focus on quality of service
and deliverables as the penalty for
underperformance is exceptionally
high. The track record on large projects for the industry has not been that
good. There is still a lot to learn.
In terms of scale, Illanne said
Gorgon is the largest ever construction
project in Australia, which will eventually amount to 10,000 jobs. Chevron,
ExxonMobil and Shell are all involved
in this subsea site that ranges from
depths of 200 m to 1,300 m.
The three LNG trains and a CO2
injection facility at Gorgon amount to
GE contracts for $900 million in rotating equipment, $800 million in subsea
gear and $500 million in services. In
addition, one 72 km pipeline and another 174 k pipeline will be built. These
are being designed as modularized
facilities. 250,000 tons of modules
and pipe racks will be assembled on the
island, says Illanne.
As the gas at Gorgon has a high CO2
content, it will be separated out, pressurized and injected into a saline aquifer.
When completed, it will represent the
largest CO2 injection project in the world.
Overall, the project will involve five GE
Frame 9 turbines as well as six refrigeration trains.
Megaprojects are becoming the new
normal, says Illanne. We expect to commence 20 more in the near future on top
of all those ongoing.
As well as Gorgon, ExxonMobil is
involved in other megaprojects.
According to Al Hirshberg, Vice
President of Deepwater Projects for
ExxonMobil, the company got the go
ahead last year for a massive facility in
Papua New Guinea, which will include
a 600 km pipeline.
ConocoPhillips, too, is a major player.
Two years ago, the company first
24 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

deployed an LM2500 aeroderivative gas

turbine at its Darwin plant the first of
its kind in the world. ConocoPhillips has
developed an LNG Optimized Cascade
Process employed at Darwin.
We have higher capital costs facing LNG, as well as challenges with
resources and locations so selection of
drivers and compressors are our
biggest technological decisions, says
Fritz Krusen of ConocoPhillips. We
like the flexibility offered by multiple
shaft turbines.
While steam drivers were used initially, LNG has moved on to gas turbines starting in the 1969 at an LNG
plant in Kenai, Alaska. According to
Krusen, the GE Frame 5 installed at that
plant is still running well and the facility has never missed a shipload. He
added that the GE Frame 5D is the
workhorse of the LNG industry.
In the mid-nineties, Atlantic LNG Train
1 used six Frame 5Cs. Atlantic LNG Train
2 moved on to Frame 5Ds. Now Atlantic is
up to a fourth train and continues to use
Frame 5 Ds. That model has also been
deployed by ConocoPhillips at Egyptian
and Equatorial Guinea LNG plants.

Innovating for efficiency

The recent move towards aeroderivatives,
says Krusen, is all about efficiency.
Darwin LNG has six LM2500 turbines:
two each for use with ethane, propane
ConocoPhillips likes what it calls the two
trains in one approach, i.e., the main train
has two turbines and two compressors for
propane, two of each for ethylene and
two of each for methane. This is done to
enable a better ramp up and down capability. Meanwhile Frame 6s and 7s are
being used in this two-in-one approach at
plants in Angola (under construction and
will amount to 5.2 mtpa).
Krusen advocates inlet air cooling in
tandem with LNG. The logic is simple.
Cooler air means more LNG production
in summer. By expending a little energy to cool the inlet air, you make a lot
more LNG.
To gain more production, the company has been upgrading its 5C fleet to 5Ds.
Atlantic 1 is an example. Similarly, two
propane LM 2500s at Darwin have been
upgraded to the PGT25+ G4.
The same is planned for two ethylene
and two methane compressors at Darwin.
Two down, four turbines to go in April.
ConocoPhillips is also looking at
incorporating the LM6000 into its LNG
operations, likely in two floating LNG
platforms currently in the design stage.
These will be in the 3.5 mtpa to 5.7 mtpa

range and will use aeroderivatives in

order to keep the weight down.
Meanwhile, GE is currently working
on a Dry Low Emission version of the
LM6000 for LNG. It is being developed
based on LMS100 technology. This new
LM6000 iteration completed validation
testing last year with NOx recorded at
less than 25 ppm. The first engine is due
to go to final testing in Q3 2010.
For the Frame 7 and 9 machines used
in LNG, the company has been investing
in better liner materials a change from
Hastelloy X to Nimonic 263 which has
better creep resistance. Also, the thermal
barrier coating has been improved on the
combustor liner. This has resulted in the
maintenance interval being extended to
24,000 hours.
After gaining experience with modular construction with the Frame 5Ds
being used at Ras Laffan in Qatar, and at
Atlantic LNG in Trinidad, GE Oil & Gas
has just announced that it is now offering
modularization on the Frame 7 and
Frame 9. This will reduce LNG downtime by cutting the time for a Frame 7
engine removal and replacement down
from 24 days to 12 days. GE has two new
orders for PGT25+ G4s 10 units for an
LNG plant in Australia and six more for a
facility in Central Asia.
Just as turbines have come in for
attention to keep pace with rapid LNG
expansion, so too have compressors. New
impeller geometry, for example, means
higher flow rates and more efficiency as
well as lower fuel consumption. And a
complete redesign of the barrel casings
used in BCL compressors has debottlenecked these products.
We have reduced the bearing span
and created a higher design pressure for
LNG applications, says Antonio
Pelagotti, engineering manager for compressors at GE Oil & Gas. We built the
first of these new compressors in 2008
and now have more than 40 casings at
LNG plants such as in Angola.

Attached with strings

A tour of GEs test facility at Massa,
Italy, shows the long-term demand for
LNG. Gianluca Bancci, testing leader
at GE Oil & Gas, says that in 2009,
Massa completed eight tests of gas turbines used in power generation, two
LNG train tests, two pipeline compressor tests, two tests of reinjection equipment and four natural gas compressor
tests. Three LNG string tests are
planned for this year, and for 2010,
eight. Once ready, the three 5 mtpa
trains destined for the Gorgon project
in Australia will be tested here. TI




ncreasing cost of fuel and U.S. dependence on foreign fuel supplies have not
only renewed interest in conserving
energy, but also in generating electric
power using heat wasted from prime
mover processes. Such systems are based
on the Rankine Cycle or reverse Rankine
(i.e., a vapor compression) Cycles, and
can use water or organic-based (i.e.,
refrigerant-type) working fluids for
Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power
generation, as well as heat pumping.
Such systems may also use a wide
range of renewable heat energy sources in
addition to fossil fuel-fired prime movers.
For example, geothermal heat recovered
from the earths mantle as deep as 10,000
ft is being used for district heating as well
as power generation. These waste heat
sources typically have temperatures below
1,000F, and often require the use of
organic working fluids to effectively
recover the waste heat.
Carbon dioxide operating in the
supercritical range has also been studied
as an effective working fluid. It is interesting to consider the advantage that
this fluid has in being a fluid that is
almost universally considered to be best
kept contained rather than released into
the atmosphere. It would seem politically correct indeed to contemplate that the
CO2 containment vessel is the closed piping of a power producing cycle that generates as much power from the exhaust
gas of a fossil fueled power plant as needed to drive compressors for later sequestration of the CO2.
There was considerable interest in the
newly formed U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) during the 1970s to develop ORC systems for waste heat sources
that were generated from prime movers.
These systems had two basic attributes
that are essential for economic power
recovery: The generation of large
amounts of waste heat from the prime
mover and the generation of this waste
heat for long periods of time. When you
consider that approximately 1/3 of U.S.
energy requirements are used in the
transportation sector, it was reasonable
that the DOE would support projects that
could increase the fuel economy of
mobile sources of waste energy, i.e.,
vehicles as well as stationary industrial
sources, where another 1/3 of the fossil

26 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

fuel energy is consumed.

Systems developed for mobile vehicles can also take advantage of the cost
reduction inherent in systems that are
mass produced in the hundreds of thousands per year. Examples of such systems
are long-haul, tractor-trailer vehicles,
locomotive diesel, and barge tow boats
where the two major attributes for an economically viable ORC waste heat recovery system continuous and large
amounts of waste heat are clearly
available while transporting freight long
distances. For example, 30 kW waste heat
recovery systems were prototyped for the
DOE for long haul vehicles in the 1980s.
This interest has been renewed by the
DOE as evidenced by their support of
several projects for fuel economy
improvement including waste heat recovery from long-haul diesel engines. Such
systems can improve the fuel economy
by as much as 5% even while maintaining current emission standards.
Additional Feasibility Analysis studies
were conducted in the 1980s for designing
a larger system: 400 kWe ORC System to
recover waste heat from Mississippi River
barge tow boats. These boats take days to
traverse the length of the Mississippi River
under almost full power as they transport
freight to ports along the river and ultimately to the coast. Similar ORC technology was used to develop a 75 kWe power
ORC system for a digester gas-fueled,
600 kWe (derated from a 900 kW base
design) Waukesha engine.
Applications of ORC power systems
to exhaust gases generated by engines
fueled by landfill gas are also feasible. It
may even be interesting to consider compressing the landfill gas for use with local
utility vehicles as Landfill-Compressed
Natural Gas (L-CNG) engines; augmenting the present common practice now to
use CNG for intercity buses or utility
fleet vehicles.
Is it too forward thinking to contemplate that some of the energy of compression for the CNG fuel can be recovered
during the necessary pressure reduction
of the fuel as it leaves onboard storage?
The gas is initially stored at 3,000 psig
and the pressure continually falls as the
fuel is drawn from the fixed volume tank.
And can the recovered energy be delivered to the fuel injection system, which

requires the fuel at only slightly above

atmosphere pressure?
While contemplating in this forward
thinking manner, shouldnt the hybrid
vehicle engines operating at near constant power and speed have turbogenerators included to be sure that none of the
waste heat energy from the exhaust
bypasses the engines turbocharger,
assuming of course that a turbocharger is
being used with these engines?

Applying to geothermal
The U.S. still leads the world in the use of
a plentiful natural resource: Geothermal
energy that can be tapped to convert the
earths thermal energy into electric power.
Such systems can take advantage of the latest design techniques for maximizing the
efficiency of turbomachinery, which is a
major component of these power systems.
For example, the analysis and design of turbine-driven pump units can be quickly performed through Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Stress
Analysis (FEA) using Agile Engineering,
minimizing design iterations required to
match the operating speeds of the turbine
and the pump.
The basic ORC technology can be
drastically improved over those systems
first prototyped in the 1970s and 1980s
with the availability of advanced computer control systems, advanced materials,
and enhanced CFD modeling of thermofluid analysis. This would not only
increase the overall cycle efficiencies but
also reduce design and analysis costs and
thus improve payback. TI
Note: In the next issue, Japikse will discuss
wind turbine design and carbon capture.

David Japikse is Chairman of the Board,
founder, and CEO of Concepts NREC. Japikse
has written or co-authored
six books: Introduction to
Centrifugal Compressor
Design and Performance,
Centrifugal Pump Design
and Performance, Axial and
Radial Turbines, Advanced
Experimental Techniques in
Diffuser Performance.




fire in a turbine enclosure typically

results in damaged equipment,
lengthy and expensive cleanup,
and extended outages sometimes costing into the millions of dollars
in lost equipment and productivity. There
are a variety of fire suppression systems
on the market today to protect turbine
enclosures, from water mist through carbon dioxide to clean agent, each of which
has advantages and disadvantages. This
article will review those types of systems,
as well as a new class of fire suppression
system: hybrid clean agent-water mist.

Fire fighting, a comparison

Intermediate- and high-pressure mist systems release water into a fire via nozzles
on branch-line piping, often using a gas
as a propellant, and work by emitting
about eight gallons of water per nozzle
per minute for high-pressure systems and
about 37 gallons for intermediate-pressure systems. The water extracts heat
from the fire, and the generated steam
displaces oxygen and aids in the radiative
and convective heat blocking.
In intermediate-pressure systems, the
water droplet size is anywhere from 400
microns to 1,000 microns. These droplets
soak the fuel source, but the large size and
momentum generally make these systems
less effective for shielded fires. High-pressure water mist systems, with finer droplet
sizes of 50 microns to 100 microns, are
more efficient for large fire extinguishment.
The main downside of water mist systems is that they can be damaging to electrical equipment. Furthermore, placement
of nozzles is critical, for instance, all the
way around the turbine to achieve uniform
cooling. Non-uniform cooling can cause
the casing to shrink or deform at a different rate than the blade on the inside, which
can severely damage the turbine.
In addition to these disadvantages,
water mist systems typically cannot be
zoned and are not generally used for local
applications. Finally, since water mist systems tend to distribute water particles at
lower velocities, air flow in the room and
air currents created by the fire plume can
compromise their ability to attack the fire.
CO2 systems have been an extinguishing agent of choice for the protection of
turbines because they are nondestructive
28 Turbomachinery International March/April 2010

Figure: This hybrid water mist-clean agent

system introduces water to a jet stream of
nitrogen at supersonic speed, creating a
swirling pattern that quickly fills the hazard
space and attacks the fire

to equipment, but the risks of these systems can outweigh the advantages. CO2
systems work primarily by removing oxygen. Activation of these systems can be
deadly to personnel, so a delay is required
prior to discharge. This delay can cause
further damage to equipment.
As much as 50% of the time, CO2
systems are ineffective because they have
a definitive hold time requirement and,
typically, turbines are not tight rooms
they have openings. Room integrity is
critical for CO2 systems to function properly. Additional downsides to CO2 systems include high maintenance requirements, inability to cool the room, and the
agents non-sustainable attributes.
The last type of traditional fire suppression system is the clean agent. This
includes two subcategories: chemical and
inert gas. Inert gas systems extinguish fires
primarily through oxygen reduction. They
have limited thermal cooling capabilities
and do not reduce radiative or convective
heat transfer. The fuel is not cooled, and
reignition from hot objects is possible.
Chemical agents rely on flame temperature reduction due to the thermal
characteristics of the agent or disruption
of the combustion process. Similar to
inert gas systems, chemical clean agent
systems do not reduce radiative or convective heat transfer or cool the fuel.
Meanwhile, in 2009, Factory Mutual
established a new category of fire suppression system: FM5580 for hybrid clean

agent-water mist systems. These work by

dispensing a uniform blend of water and
clean agent, such as nitrogen. Water is
introduced to a jet stream of nitrogen at
supersonic speed. The nitrogen atomizes
the water, forming a dense homogeneous
suspension that is transported into the protected space at 40 miles per hour.
The novel swirling pattern quickly fills
the hazard space and attacks the fire, overcoming aerodynamic forces that typically
decelerate and diffuse water droplets
(Figure). The size of the droplet is less than
10 microns, which is up to 100 times
smaller than water particles delivered
through traditional water mist systems.
This allows for improved heat absorption
and total extinguishing. The small droplet
size combined with the minimal amount of
water released per emitter as little as
one gallon per minute virtually eliminates any wetting in the space, preventing
water damage and costly cleanup.
The nitrogen and water mist function
as complementary extinguishing agents.
For small fires, the nitrogen is the primary extinguishing agent, reducing the oxygen level in the space to a breathable
level where combustion cannot be sustained. In large fires, the water mist is
more effective, cooling the fire by
absorbing the heat and reducing the available oxygen. The water droplet surface
area is 90 times greater than that of any
standard sprinkler system, providing
maximum heat absorption efficiency.
This system employs non-toxic water
and nitrogen. Further, reduction of oxygen
in the space is maintained by the system at
levels within safe breathing tolerances and,
therefore, personnel evacuation and discharge delay are not required. As an additional design advantage, room integrity is
not essential, allowing fires to be extinguished in open, naturally ventilated areas.
Placement of emitters and piping is
flexible, and single or multi-zone layouts
are possible. The system operates on a
potable or distilled water supply, as well
as local sources of nitrogen. Deionized
water may be used where electrical hazards are present. System maintenance is
less than other fire suppression systems,
and it can be rapidly reset following discharge, minimizing facility downtime.

Rapid extinguishing
First, the hybrid system provides uniform cooling to eliminate damage to
motors or controls. Activation of the


The Victaulic Vortex fire suppression system is a pioneer in hybrid clean agentwater mist technology. The system has
received Factory Mutual Approval for the
protection of combustion turbines,
machinery spaces, and special hazard
machinery spaces in enclosures with volumes not exceeding 127,525 cubic ft
(3,600 cubic m) and a maximum height
Victaulic Vortex emitter
of 24.6 ft (4.9 m). Installations covered by
this approval include:
Machinery space applications such as oil pumps, oil tanks, fuel filters, generators,
transformer vaults and others
Special hazard machinery space applications such as internal combustion
engines or other equipment using fuel and lubrication fluids with volatilities less
than or equal to heptanes and incidental use or storage of limited quantities of
flammable liquids of not more than two 55 gallon (208 L) drums
Protection of combustion turbines in enclosures
three-dimensional total flooding system
results in uniform cooling because the
water and clean agent blend is transported throughout the area and completely surrounds the equipment. The
small water droplets blanket the equipment with minimal to no wetting, and
do not directly impact turbine equipment. With the ability for one emitter to
protect up to 2,500 cubic ft, fewer emit-

ters are required for total flooding,

resulting in design flexibility.
Second, unlike CO2, inert gas, chemical clean agents and some water mist systems, room integrity is not required. This
is important because turbine spaces are
not tight enclosures. Without room
integrity, other fire suppression systems
could be rendered ineffective.
Third, due to the high velocity swirling

dispersion, the small droplets are able to

penetrate into vented and shielded areas,
fully extinguishing fires in isolated equipment. Finally, inadvertent discharge is less
of a worry than with other fire suppression
systems because the mist is not damaging
to equipment nor is it dangerous to personnel. In fact, after discharge, residual
moisture is barely detectable.
The reduced amount of water discharged in such fine particles creates a
dew-like residue, as opposed to the high
levels of water accumulation that results
from the discharge of sprinklers or water
mist systems. The system is also easily
and quickly reset, with no need to specially order proprietary chemicals from manufacturers, minimizing downtime. TI
Eric McWhirter is the
Fire Suppression System
Product Manager for
Victaulic (Easton, PA), a
manufacturer of fire protection and suppression
See for
more details.

March/April 2010 Turbomachinery International 29