Using a aeroderivative turbine for power generation


The importance of renewable power generation technologies such as wind, solar and tidal cannot be questioned. But what happens when there is no wind or sun and there are low tides? Siemens aeroderivative gas turbine technology is a flexible, economical and efficient alternative to around-the-clock generation, be it for peaking, mid-merit or base load operation.

Siemens aero gas turbines are derived from turbojet/turbofan technologies, designed for civil and military aircraft, and are relatively new to the African power generation sector, which is accustomed to industrial gas turbines. Overall, Siemens aero gas turbines have a simple cycle efficiency that is typically 1 to 3% better than traditional industrial gas turbines.

The technology is a multi-spool design – where each spool rotates at its own optimal rpm for maximum efficiency across its operating range. Siemens aero gas turbines boast exceptionally high cycle capability, and can be started up in less than ten minutes (or less, if required) with no lockout timers after a shutdown (be it a normal or emergency shutdown). Electrical start-up is 500 kW, the equivalent of a small site back-up generator.

Fig. 1: Siemens Industrial Trent 60 gas turbine in the production hall in Montreal, Canada.

These features bring the power closer to the operator, which is able to respond instantaneously and follow load requirements, with no impact to the equipment’s maintenance cycle and no increase to its maintenance costs.

How is a jet engine converted into a gas turbine?

The Siemens fleet of Rolls Royce aeroderivative products can be used as an example. The Aero Trent 800, which has more than 24-million flying hours in civil aviation applications, can be converted into the power plant specific Industrial Trent gas turbine, by simply replacing the fan with a two stage low-pressure compressor with matched flow capacity.

The Industrial Trent features three shafts (HP, IP, LP) that rotate independently and is environmentally friendly, as it is available in dry low emissions and wet low emissions cycle operation, and flexible maintenance solutions are available to ensure maximum return-on-investment.

Another important aspect of aero gas turbine technology is reliability and endurance under stress. The Industrial Trent requires no engine overhaul, as hollow shafts eliminate rotor bow and high nickel casings eliminate stress.

Titanium usage also reduces weight, thereby allowing for a higher power density. Operational expenditure is further reduced thanks to anti-friction bearings that require less lubrication. The ball bearing design is also lightweight with low oil flow and consumption.

Fig. 2: Siemens Industrial Trent 60 package

Siemens aero gas turbines are therefore a low risk economic solution ideally suited to peak, mid-merit and base load applications, which can be used in open cycle, cogeneration and combined cycle power plants, with the key emphasis on having a power plant which offers greater operational flexibility.

Contact Keshin Govender, Siemens, Tel 011 652-2412,

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Source: EE plublishers

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