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Thursday, December 1, 2022

A Brief History of GE Gas Turbines

Since then, GE, which is currently the biggest original equipment producer in the gas turbine industry, has created and installed a number of generations of steam and gas turbines, generators, heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs), condensers, and other balance-of-plant components. The evolution of GE’s current gas turbine model lineup over the last 80 years is seen here.

1939: The First Industrial Gas Turbine in the World Starts Up for Business

On July 7, 1939, a municipal power plant in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, switches on a 4-MW simple cycle gas turbine for the first time at full capacity. This is the first industrial gas turbine set to ever be built. The company that created the turbine, Brown Boveri & Cie (BBC), was founded in Baden, Switzerland, in 1891. In 1988, it merged with ASEA AB to form ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri), which it later sold to Alstom as part of ABB’s power generating division in 2000. In 2015, GE purchased the power division of Alstom.

With a 17.4% efficiency, the Neuchâtel Gas Turbine begins operating in the commercial sector as a standby unit. The compressor absorbs 11,400 kW of the 15,400 kW produced by the turbine, which runs at 3,000 rpm and has a turbine inlet temperature (TIT) of 550C (1,022F). The compressor’s air inlet temperature is 20C. (68F). It works for about 70 years and is mostly used for standby and peaking tasks.

1949: America’s first gas turbine for generating power

At Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.’s Belle Isle Station, the 3.5 MW gas turbine that was built in a separate structure connected to a 51 MW steam unit starts producing electricity. The axis of the gas turbine is horizontally positioned. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) states that despite having a 3,500 kW rating, the unit’s actual power in use was far higher. Between July 1949 and July 1952, the average output was 4,200 kW, although it frequently produced an electrical output of 5,000 kW. According to reports, the efficiency of the GE Frame 3 unit was at 17%. However, it should be noted that in addition to producing electricity, its exhaust gas was also utilized to warm the feedwater for the traditional steam plant, making it the first gas turbine in the country to operate in “combined cycle” mode.

1951: Derivative of a Two-Shaft

In Rutland, Vermont, GE installs three 5-MW gas turbine power plants based on a two-shaft Frame 3 variant. Twin intercoolers and recuperators are features of the so-called “kilowatt machines.”

1953: The first commercially available intercooler recovered gas turbine with Reheat

Following the Neuchâtel unit, technological advancements in cycle pressure ratio, materials, and coatings allow BBC to increase turbine inlet temperatures to 1,200F. In 1953, the company also begins operation of the 27-MW Beznau II plant, which increases the thermal efficiency of the two-unit 40-MW Beznau power plant in Switzerland to 30%. S. Can Gülen noted in his February 2019 book Gas Turbines for Electric Power Generation that the BBC engineers of the two-shaft Beznau turbine extracted “every bit of efficiency from the Brayton cycle with constrained cycle pressure ratios and cycle maximum temperatures.” In the end, a complete power plant was created rather than a little engine on a skid.

1960: The initial commercial CCGT

A 75-MW combined cycle plant called Korneuburg-A, one of the first of its kind to be built in Europe is placed into operation by NEWAG, an Austrian utility, inspired by recent gas finds in the Netherlands. Two 25 MW BBC Type 12 turbines, a 25 MW steam turbine, and an HRSG with additional firing make up the facility. The unit operates at baseload from 1960 to 1975 with an average of 6,000 hours per year, despite its low efficiency (of about 32.5%), but it quickly becomes unprofitable to operate due to fuel costs and better efficiencies at coal plants, which came online in Europe from 1965 onward and is primarily used for peaking duty after that.

1967: The first GE Combined Cycle Plants

Following the Great Northeast Blackout in November 1965, regulatory requirements compel utilities to install a predetermined proportion of smaller, localized, fast-start generating units with black-start capability in order to boost system reserve margins. GE constructs a 21-MW FS5 at Wolverine Electric Ottawa, again in Ontario, and an 11-MW FS3 in the City of Ottawa, also in Ontario. In his April 2019 book The Development and History of the Gas Turbine for Power Generation, Industrial, and Marine Purposes, consulting engineer Ronald Hunt, a member of the Institution of Diesel and Gas Turbine Engineers (IDGTE), noted that the FS3 had already been tested in American maritime vessels and locomotives.

1968: First LM Turbine

The J79 turbojet, an aircraft that made its first flight in 1955, was modified by GE engineers to become the LM1500, a turbine with industrial and maritime applications. The first LM1500 was erected as a 13.3 MW turbine at the Connecticut Millstone nuclear power station.

1969: More Complex Aeroderivatives

The GTS Adm. Callaghan cargo ship operated by the U.S. Navy is powered by the first LM2500, a variation of the CF6-6 flight engine. The turbine has a 16-stage compressor section with 6-stages of variable stator vanes and inlet guide vanes, and it also has a 2-stage high-pressure turbine section that exhausts into a 6-stage free power turbine. The initial design included twin-shaft HPT blades, an ISO power rating of 17.9 MW, and thermal efficiency of 35.8% for the simple cycle. Today, LM2500 turbines are still frequently used. According to GE, the U.S. Navy still chooses the LM2500 to power its most recent surface warships.

1970: Frame 5 Expansion

The single- and twin-shaft, simple cycle, axial-flow Frame 5 turbine continues to sell well. In 1970, a Frame 5 unit with a 24-MW rating was used in a Bahraini aluminum smelter. Due to its reputation as a dependable workhorse, the type has today gained a venerable standing in the gas turbine industry. After the Great Northeast Blackout on November 9, 1965, a black-start Frame 5 in Southampton, New York, started the restoration of electricity on Long Island and finally in New York City, as Dave Lucier, who oversaw GE’s field engineering program, recalled some years ago. He said, “Without the past, the future is nothing.

1970: Frame 7 appears:

The MS7000, a Frame 7 (60 Hz) turbine with a TIT of 1,650F and a rating of 47.2 MW, emerges. Soon after, GE and Alstom start working on the 50-Hz Frame 9 single-shaft machine.

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1970: Launch of the GT Series by BBC:

In response to GE’s plan to construct larger gas turbine units and to fight for market share during the post-blackout boom for gas turbines, BBC creates the GT11 (60 Hz) and GT13 (50 Hz) families. In 1970, the first BBC GT11 gas turbine was fired at Rainbow Lake in Canada. At 3,600 rpm, it has a 32 MW rating.

1971: First E-Class Turbine

At National Grid’s Shoreham Combustion Turbine plant in the UK, the first E-class (7E) makes its premiere.

1972: First 7B

The first Frame 7 B-class turbine from GE, the MS7001B, has a 51.8 MW rating.

1975: First Frame 9

In the vicinity of Paris, EDF installs the first 80.7 MW Frame 9B machine, mostly for peaking duty.

1978: First 6B

The Glendive station of Montana-Dakota Utilities now has the first 6B machine. According to GE Gas Power CEO Scott Strazik in September 2018, the turbine is still in use. According to GE, there are an additional 1,150 6B turbines deployed globally, powering industrial applications and energy production facilities in industries like cement production, petrochemicals, and oil and gas exploration. The business has developed the technology over time. It created technology in 1981 to raise firing temperatures, which led to a 15% increase in output. It first launched dry low-NOx combustion technology in 1991, and it later unveiled a performance upgrade package in 2009 that incorporated technological advancements in materials, coatings, sealing, and aerodynamics drawn from its F-Class line. In an effort to continue investing in its “mature fleets” to keep them competitive, GE 2018 also introduced a 6B fleet repowering solution to commemorate the installment’s 40th anniversary.

1984: Dry Low-NOx Advancement

First-generation BBC-developed “lean” dry low-NOx (DLN) premix combustion launches at the 420-MW combined cycle Lausward plant in Düsseldorf, Germany, with a modified GT13D unit. BBC introduced the idea in 1978 based on the theoretical insight that effective low-NOx combustion required the separation of fuel/air mixing from the combustion process and that combustion itself should take place under “lean” conditions, as Dietrich Eckardt writes in his 2014 book Gas Turbine Powerhouse. The innovation reduced the unit’s NOx emissions to 32 ppm (ppm). Although it was subsequently used in seven GT units, BBC started working on the second generation of lean premix burners because it was “too sophisticated and prone to deterioration after a while,” according to Eckardt.

1985: Cogeneration Milestone

At a district heating system operated by IJsselcentrale in the Netherlands, two GE LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbines, a steam turbine, and a generator arranged in a single-shaft arrangement are erected. The setup is intended to reduce the LM2500 gas turbines’ high initial investment costs. GE claims that the project was also the first time its steam injection method was used. Test results indicate a 50% full-load efficiency.

1987: First GT13E Launched

The first 147.9-MW GT13E unit from ABB (later Alstom, then GE) is successfully commissioned at the Hemweg plant in the Netherlands, which is owned and run by Dutch utility UNA. Before the market forces the industry to create gas turbines with higher efficiencies and NOx emissions below 25 ppm, further 27 units of this sort were placed into operation. It introduces the GT13E2 in 1991. The turbine has a single SILO combustor that is positioned on top.

1988: LM6000 Launched

The LM6000, a turbine that is based on GE’s CF6-80C2 high bypass turbofan aircraft engine, is added to the LM fleet by the company. In the simple cycle, the two-shaft, high-performance gas turbine has an efficiency of 41.9 percent at the ISO rating point and a maximum output of 36.6 MW.

1990: Beginning of the F-Class Era

At the Chesterfield Power Station of Virginia Electric & Power Co. (VEPCO), the first F-class machine, a 147-MW 7F with a TIT of 2,300F, started running on June 6, 1990. The prototype had a combined cycle output of 214 MW and an efficiency of 45.2%, according to a variety of sources. The prototype was initially utilized for simple cycle testing before being converted to a combined cycle in 1992. (and 150 MW and 34.5 percent in simple cycle mode). The 7F Users Group asserts that Chesterfield 7 signaled the start of the heyday of gas turbine technology (which ended in 2015, according to some industry observers). The group also notes that the complexity of F-class vehicles has increased “over time to satisfy ever-demanding environmental requirements and owners’ ambitions of improved efficiency and availability/reliability.”

According to GE, the development of F technology in the 1980s was a “quantum jump in the operating temperatures, cooling technologies, and aerothermal performance of heavy-duty gas turbines.” Since GE introduced the MS7001F in 1987, the technology has been scaled up and down, and it is now available in outputs ranging from 51 MW for a 6F.01 simple cycle plant to more than 1,000 MW for a 31 7F.05-based combined cycle plant. This design was motivated by “the demand for higher efficiency plants with lower emissions and lower cost (per kW/hour).” There are now 6Fs and 9Fs added to the family. In industries as varied as aluminum smelting, refineries, and food processing, more than 1,500 F-class machines have been installed globally with applications ranging from power generation, combined heat and power, and mechanical drive applications.

1991: Dry Low NOx Commercial Solution

Dry low-NOx (DLN) combustion systems were first developed and tested by GE in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1991 that these systems were made available commercially for use in gas and heavy-duty gas turbines. The DLN-1 solution for E-class turbines and the DLN-2 solution for F-class turbines—the latter of which has also been used for EC and H-class machines—are the results of research work. In May 2018, GE proposed a “flex” upgrading solution that combines the DLN 2.6+ combustor with axial-fuel-staging technology. GE first launched a DLN2.6+ combustion system for new and existing 7F gas turbines in 2015. The business said earlier this year that it had finished the first installation of a novel technology for gas-fired power plants that can lower NOx to 5 ppm.

1992: The First 9F

The first 9F starts up in basic cycle mode at an EDF site in northern Paris, while a 159-MW 7F with a 2,350F TIT starts up at a second Chesterfield plant (Chesterfield 8) in Virginia. The 212-MW turbine was created by GE and Alstom together.

1992: A GT13E2

The 166-MW GT13E2 gas turbine is made available by ABB. The GT13E2 is superior to the GT13E in that it has a higher TIT of 2,012F and an improved compressor ratio of 15.0:1. The turbine model is still on the market from GE. According to the manufacturer, the GT13E2 2017 produces 210 MW with a 38 percent simple cycle efficiency and a combined cycle efficiency of more than 55 percent.

1996: Power Plant on Wheels

The TM2500, a trailer-mounted portable aero-derivative from GE, is introduced as a “power plant on wheels.”

1997: F-Class Competition Yields the GT24/GT26

The first F-class model was released by GE in 1987 and was a 150 MW Frame 7F. Westinghouse (in partnership with Mitsubishi) swiftly introduced the 501F in 1989, and Siemens followed in 1991 with the V94.3. In order to position itself to catch up with its rivals, Eckardt says that ABB “opted for a ‘leap frog’ strategy.” In December 1991, the company released its own GT24 (60 Hz)/GT26 (50 Hz) products. In 1993, the Gilbert power station in New Jersey received a 165-MW GT24 prototype. It was the most compact model on the market and the only one to use sequential combustion with a particularly high compression ratio, the author writes. It was presented as a breakthrough approach. Additionally, it had a 56 percent efficiency, which was 2 to 3 percent higher than that of its rivals. In 1997, the GT26 was introduced. One of the first power plants to use GT26 gas turbines is the 770 MW Rocksavage power plant in the UK.

2003: Start of the H-Class Era

At Wales’ Baglan Bay Power Station, GE introduces the first H-class system (H-System), 9H, a 50-Hz, 480-MW turbine with 2,600F firing temperatures. The single-shaft combined cycle plant 9H reaches a firing temperature that is significantly higher than 2,600F. The H-System, however, was a commercial failure even if it was “an unquestionable triumph from a technology perspective,” as Gulen writes in his book from February 2019. He says that the longer-than-average length of the major maintenance outages increased the expense and complexity of single-crystal, hot-gas-path components with advanced thermal barrier coatings. The 60-Hz Inland Empire Energy Center, one of the six H-System combined cycle power plants that were built and are still in operation commercially, has attained significant heat rate and NOx emissions metrics, however, GE no longer provides the H-System. Its HA models are the brightest stars in the H-class lineup.

However, the introduction of the H-System by GE intensified rivalry among significant makers of big gas turbines, who increased their efforts to improve gas turbine efficiency. In 2011, Siemens’ 8000H gas turbine in Irsching, Germany, which ostensibly had the same TIT as the H-System (2,732F), but a lower firing temperature, breached the 60 percent thermal efficiency barrier. Together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Westinghouse pursued the intermediate G-class firing temperature, a technology that is presently provided by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS). The J-class, whose combustor technology is based on the steam cooling system used in the G-class, is being developed by MHI in place of the H technology, which was abandoned in favor of it.

2005: The 6C Begins to Grow

Turkey debuts a 130-MW 2x Frame 6C (6F.01) CCGT. The 6C, currently referred to as the 6F.01, was first released in 2003 with a 42 MW capacity and then increased to 46 MW after site validation. For gas turbines with an output range of less than 100 MW, according to GE, this type is the best in the business for cogeneration and combined cycle efficiency. Because of its enormous exhaust energy, it is possible to produce a large amount of steam for either power generation or cogeneration. It accomplishes over 58 percent efficiency in a 2-1 combined cycle configuration and over 80 percent efficiency in cogeneration operation, according to the statement.

2009: The MXL2 Upgrade by Alstom

At Spain’s Castejon power station, Alstom has upgraded its GT26 MXL2 advanced gas turbine. Owners of GT26 engines can take advantage of new compressor optimizations as well as coating and cooling advancements in the HP and LP turbines thanks to the MXL upgrade. It also makes the equipment last longer. Although Alstom also implemented the first MXL2 upgrade for its GT13E2 gas turbine at the South Humber Bank Power Station in the UK in 2012, the MXL idea initially debuted as a standard feature of the newer GT13E2 fleet. The MXL2 upgrade is currently available for GE’s GT13E2 turbines, which it purchased from Alstom in 2015. 

However, in order to maintain competitiveness, GE and the European Commission reached an agreement as part of the Alstom acquisition to sell off a portion of Alstom’s gas turbine business. Alstom’s GT26 and J-class GT36 gas turbine technologies, as well as some of the GT26 services contracts, were all sold to Ansaldo Energia as part of the divestiture. However, GE kept all of the GT24 service contracts. Ansaldo now provides the MXL2 upgrade for the GT26, and in 2019, GE released the GT26 HE, a new product that included the upgrade. Ansaldo now provides the MXL2 upgrade for the GT26, and in 2019, GE released the GT26 HE, a new product that included the upgrade.

2014: GE introduces its HA Line.

The 9HA (50-Hz) and 7HA (60-Hz), two new air-cooled H-class turbines from GE that were produced through advances in materials, aerodynamics, and advanced manufacturing, represent a significant new milestone. The turbines also take advantage of the new digital era’s enhanced performance and efficiency, which is driven by integrated software and analytics. The 290 MW (7HA.01) to 571 MW (9HA.02) turbines, according to GE, will break efficiency records.

2015: Alstom’s Power Business is acquired by GE

After receiving regulatory permission for a $10.6 billion deal spanning more than 20 nations and regions, GE finalized the acquisition of Alstom’s energy business in November 2015.

The transaction is GE’s largest ever. GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s complementary technology, global capabilities, installed base, and people, according to Jeff Immelt, then-CEO of the company, provided immediate benefits for customers, particularly for ongoing projects utilizing GE 7HA gas turbines and Alstom’s HRSGs and steam turbines. It is also advantageous for some suggested projects. Alstom, meanwhile, “certainly performed below our expectations,” according to John Flannery, a different former GE CEO.

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Four factors contributed to GE’s acquisition of the French firm: its installed base; a wide range of steam and power islands products that it believed it could cross-sell; synergies between operations, expenses, and revenues; and the ultimately profitable talent of Alstom’s staff. However, according to Flannery, the market was “obviously considerably lower than what we underwrote in that company,” which damaged GE.

2016: Initial HA Deployment

At EDF’s Bouchain facility in France, the first 397-MW 9HA.01 with a 62.22 percent efficiency goes online. In 2017, the project is a POWER Top Plant.

2017: LM9000 Launched

The LM9000, a 67-MW to 75-MW power plant derived from the GE-90 aviation engine that is installed on a Boeing 777, is introduced by GE as market demand for aero derivatives increases to assist balance the growing shares of renewable energy sources.

2017: Relaunch of 6F.01 for Distributed Market

GE relaunches the 6F.01 turbine, equipping it with cutting-edge materials and technology taken from GE’s H- and F-class gas turbines, in an effort to establish some clout in the booming distributed energy industry. First, the Huaneng Guilin Gas Distributed Energy Project receives the relaunched model. The 50-MW 6F.01 at that project claims an 81.15 percent fuel utilization rate and a total cycle efficiency of 57 percent.

2017: Deployment Milestone for 7HA.02

The 7HA.02 turbine makes its premiere at Exelon’s Wolf Hollow and Colorado Bend projects in Texas. The combined plant output of both plants, which are 21 multi-shaft configurations, exceeds 1,000 MW at each location.

2017: Initial 7HA.01 turbines go into service

Six 7HA.01 gas turbines and two steam turbines are being installed by GE and Toshiba at Chubu Electric Co.’s Nishi Nagoya thermal power facility in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. In September 2017, the first unit in the three-unit complex began to operate for profit. Block 1 has broken yet another world record for maximum gross efficiency with a gross combined cycle efficiency rating of 63.08 percent. At the end of March 2018, the second block of three units began to operate commercially. In 2018, the project was a POWER Top Plant.

2018: HA dual-fuel

The Sewaren 7 combined cycle power plant in New Jersey will start commercial operation in June 2018 thanks to PSEG Power, a PSEG subsidiary. The 7HA.02, a 540 MW unit, is the first dual-fuel H-class turbine in existence. The facility is built to run on two different fuels, including ultra-low-sulfur distillate (ULSD) fuel oil and natural gas. The dual-fuel capability increases the dependability and reliability of the plant by allowing the use of ULSD in the event of a natural gas supply shortage.

2019: Initial 9HA.02 Shipment

The 571-MW 9HA.02, GE’s largest HA turbine to date, has been sent to Southern Power Generation Sdn Bhd (SPG) for use in the 1,440-MW combined cycle power plant known as Track 4A in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia. It will have two generating units that are each furnished with a GE 9HA.02 gas turbine, generator, and HRSG.

2019: 7HA.03 Unveiled

The 7HA.03, the newest model in GE’s high-efficiency air-cooled (HA) gas turbine range, was unveiled in 2014. The business also states that starting in 2022, Florida Power and Light’s (FPL’s) Dania Beach Clean Energy Center will be the first to exhibit two of the “biggest, most efficient, and adaptable gas turbines” for the 60-Hz market. In comparison to the 7HA.02, which was its predecessor and is rated at 384 MW, and the 7HA.01, the first-generation gas turbine in the HA class, which is rated at 290 MW, the 7HA.03 will have a single-cycle net output of 430 MW. A 1/1/7HA.03 plant could produce 640 MW in the combined cycle and 1,282 MW in 2/1. The 7HA.03 will have a net combined cycle efficiency of 63.9 percent, which is a 0.4 percentage point improvement over its predecessor, the 7HA.02, according to GE. This is because it integrates the most recent developments in manufacturing technology and benefits from refined technology from earlier models.

2021: Launch of the First 9HA.02 Turbines in Commercial Service

At the 1.4 GW Track 4A power plant in southern Malaysia, GE starts up the first two 9HA.02 turbines, which are among the biggest gas-fired power generation models in the world. Despite the dangerous COVID-19 pandemic’s delays, the project is successfully launched. The 9HA.02, rated at 575 MW under ISO standards, increases GE’s aim to attain 65 percent by the early 2020s by pushing net efficiency “beyond 64 percent combined cycle efficiency.” 

The 16 combustors in the 9HA.02 also incorporate breakthroughs in combustion and additive manufacturing, some of which were previously featured in the 7HA.01 and 7HA.02, such as the DLN (dry low-NOx) 2.6e combustor with axial fuel staging (AFS), which allows for lower nitrogen oxide emissions with improved turndown. The premixing fuel nozzles have undergone evolutionary improvements, but the 9HA.02 is the first to do so. GE developed this technology in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy to “provide a step-change increase in performance, emissions, and fuel flexibility.”

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