The performance of gas turbines (GT) for power generation has a fundamental influence on the bottom line. Lack of availability, reduced power output and maintenance overheads all link directly back to profitability. As the efficiency of GTs continues to increase, with models such as the GE H-class now pushing power plants above 60% net efficiencies, the cost for loss of performance gets higher. It doesn’t take a math whizz to see that the more power generated by a GT, the more power is lost if it underperforms or has to be shut down!
This new breed of efficient GTs aids the global push in the reduction of CO2 emissions to address climate change. They offer:
- Fast start-up and ramp rate capabilities.
- Greater turn down, and more cost-effective spinning reserve.
- Better fuel efficiency, and lower operating costs, which, in turn, equates to reduced environmental impact.
Consuming vast quantities of air, however, the quality of this air has a huge impact on GT performance, and the higher the GT efficiency, the greater the potential impact. This means the design of the filtration system has an even more crucial role to play in overall operational efficiency and reliability.
But what is so different about these high-efficiency GTs and why do they need different protection to older E-class or F-class models? They face all the same environmental perils as current GT installations – but their finely tuned performance is precision-engineered, packed with technology, latest advanced materials and finishes. This means they require more rigorous protection from the fouling, pitting and corrosion that finer particulates and contaminants in the inlet air flow cause to blades, stators and buckets.
You might consider just using finer filter media to catch the contaminants. Along this path, however, lies many troubles. Often the worst thing to do is to employ the finest, high-efficiency media as this easily blocks, can cause quick rises in differential pressure leading to unplanned GT “runback” or even shut down and increased maintenance overheads. On the business side of things, huge dollar losses from drops in power output are even more preeminent with pressure rises when operating these bigger, more efficient machines.
If you want to find out how you can ASSURE the performance of high efficiency GTs, the answer is multi-faceted. It requires deep understanding of real-world operating conditions and the demands of these impressive machines. And an understanding of what really matters inside the inlet house – and that can only come from experience.
The filtration system is only as good as its weakest part. Many different factors about filter design equate to assured performance, including:
- Pleat design
- Choice of media, across multiple filtration stages
At the end of the day, assuring the performance of H-class or equivalent GTs, requires a revolution in filtration design to provide maximum protection and reliable performance in the harshest installation environments.
Introducing clearcurrent® ASSURE
clearcurrent® ASSURE range of filters features an innovative design that helps to boost GT performance, reduce lifecycle costs, improve safety, increase availability and extend GT life. Features and benefits include
- Hydrophobic and oleophobic properties remove problematic contaminants carried through to the GT in liquid forms.
- Consistent performance through all filtration stages equates to predictable differential pressure.
- Made to an exact fit in the inlet house to prevent them from being bypassed.
- Extended service life.
- Reduced lifetime cost.
- Robust construction stands up to the harshest environments.
This article was originally published in the print and digital magazine 2-2021 Issue of Power Engineering International and again in the online version here: Why compromised filters mean compromised gas turbines.
This post was contributed by Tim Nicholas, market manager, PowerGen, Parker Gas Turbine Filtration Division.
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