Tuesday: Today’s conference was mostly for the actual users, so as a vendor, I was limited to one session in the morning, and the technical presentations in the afternoon.
We had a few more Depot presentations – IHI and AVIO (TCT, MTO and ANZ had presentations on Monday morning). I think IHI wins for the oldest company – having opened their doors building steam engines for ships back in 1853. AVIO was impressive, in that 16% of their personnel are in Research and Development. AVIO also designed the IPT for the new LMS100 (according to their presentation).
The statistical analysis provided by Mark Axford showed that the GE Aeroderivative units are still selling strong – with a noticeable increase in sales going to the Middle East. But, the general feel was with the US economy slowing down, eventually electric demand will also level off and possibly decline as well – leading Mark to forecast fewer sales for all power generation equipment in the near future.
The highlight of the afternoon (besides talking with people at my exhibit booth) had to be Tony and his discussions relating experiences with the first LMS100 plant in operation. As with any Serial Number 1 engine, Tony and his people have had to work through some issues. But, even with all they’ve been through, optimism for the LMS100 remains high. Of course, with 22 more units already on order… new owners need all the optimism they can get!
The two technical presentations I attended were very interesting as well.
The first was on “simplified combined cycle” or SCC. In a normal combined cycle unit, the hot gas turbine exhaust gases are used to make steam, which is then sent to a steam turbine to make additional power. In the SCC, the exhaust is still used to make steam, but that is then re-injected into the gas turbine – no steam turbine required. This works well with the aeroderivative units, which makes less steam due to the lower exhaust energy (due to higher overall efficiency of the gas turbine). The SCC does not need a steam turbine, which makes capital costs a lot less, and also reduces the number of items needing O&M support. The SCC discussed in the presentation required new combustion nozzles, for the steam injection ports. One great side-effect of the steam & fuel mixing prior to combustion was a significant reduction in NOx with little impact to CO. In some cases, they reported a return on investment within one year. Seems like a great way to go, to me – assuming you have water available to send out the stack…
The second presentation was on the use of alternative fuels in the Lm6000 gas turbine. Biodiesel and Biofuels (i.e. ethanol) can now be mixed to a point where they meet the GE LM6000 fuel spec. GE has run sucessful field tests with B99.9 fuel blends. The biggest issue with retrofitting a unit for flex-fuel consumption looks to be the fuel flow rates required. Bio fuels are a lower heating value fuel – requiring more mass flow per hour to the unit – which in some cases pushes the piping and valves to their limits on capacity.
The evening wrapped up in hospitality suites provided by ANZ (thank you for the wonderful New Zealand lamb chops, mussels, and Pavlova – a sweet meringue cake) and AP&M. AP&M again won for the most lavish hospitality suite – complete with good southern cooking (including deep fried pickles and Lynchburg lemonade) and the Charlie Daniels Band! Yes, the Charlie Daniels Band came to perform for a group of engineers in San Diego – and yes, he did play the Devil Went Down to Georgia. What a show!