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GE’s 9EMax gas turbine solution achieves first fire operation
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2017.05.05  06:17:00
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Switzerland —GE’s (www.ge.com) Power Services has achieved a significant milestone with its 9EMax gas turbine upgrade solution. The 9EMax has completed initial validation testing and is commercially available to 9E gas turbine customers around the globe.

During the testing, the first-ever installed unit achieved full-speed, no-load operation as well as plant-rated baseload. In addition, the successful completion of the validation testing has demonstrated the 9EMax can operate as configured.

“March and April have been full of milestones for the 9EMax solution, as we put the first-ever installed unit to the test at a utility customer’s site in Asia,” said Eric Gray, general manager of Gas Plant Solutions for GE’s Power Services. “First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and runs on fuel at the site. We completed the ‘first fire’ milestone with the unit successfully reaching full speed at no load, and it proved to deliver significantly more power and efficiency compared to current 9E gas turbine operations.”

The validation test monitored and mapped the unit’s behavior at typical operating parameters. During the tests, over 1,000 pieces of instrumentations were used to collect data and improve the performance of the machine. The sensors collected over 14 terabytes of data, highlighting 9EMax’s capabilities. For example, 9EMax is able to:

• Increase turbine output up to 145 megawatts (MW) in simple-cycle operation and up to 210 MW in a combined-cycle configuration.

• Achieve up to 37 percent efficiency in simple cycle and up to 53.5 percent efficiency in combined-cycle configuration.

• Deliver maintenance intervals of up to 32,000 hours or 900 starts—equivalent to approximately four years of typical plant operation.

• Offset as much as 2-3 percent of normal performance degradation between maintenance intervals in extreme ambient operating conditions.

9EMax can operate at partial loads, making it ideal for power producers looking to add renewables to their energy mix. It also includes an array of digital solutions to boost operational reliability, improve combustion operations and manage emissions. In addition, GE’s software solutions help offset degradation between maintenance intervals and operating challenges on hot days.

The new four-stage 9E gas turbine is available in three solutions:

1. The 9E.04 is the new unit configuration and serves customers with new unit needs.

2. For older units that are reaching the end of their life, the 9EMax flange-to flange (F2F) solution provides the best approach to revitalize mature plants, restarting the clock on starts and fired hours.

3. For younger units, the 9EMax turbine module represents a new alternative to F2F replacements, boosting efficiency approximately 4 percentage points and output up to 145 MW with respect to the previous 9E.03 turbine module. This option also leverages existing compressor and combustion systems to increase the value of the existing assets.

GE’s FastWorks Methodology

9EMax, part of GE’s Fleet360* platform of total plant solutions, was developed utilizing GE’s deep domain experience from its global fleet of more than 700 units and with insights from more than 30 million hours of operating data from its installed base. The combination of this data and expertise, along with GE’s FastWorks solution development methodology, helped ensure 9EMax was developed with customers’ dynamic needs in mind.

“The FastWorks approach enabled us to gauge what factors customers look for most when deciding to modernize their power plants and generation equipment, and those conversations pointed to common threads: increased efficiency, additional output and flexibility,” continued Gray.

9EMax was developed by a team of 300 employees from around the world. GE engineers in the U.S. developed the first two stages of the turbine and then passed the work off to our GE team in Poland who developed the second two stages. Meanwhile the GE group in India was working on all the data analysis, and experts in France were leading the manufacturing. This essentially meant the entire team could work 24-hours a day by passing jobs from one time zone to the next.

“Using FastWorks ultimately reduced the time to completion by 25 percent, from four years to three years. The first 9EMax solution was brought online in March 2017 and will help achieve customer goals,” ended Gray.

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