INDUSTRY BRIEFS: Remembering Sep van der Linden

sep-v-d-lEight Bells: Sep van der Linden, 83

Industries are defined by people and their accomplishments. It is the people who are important, not so much the companies they work for. Septimus Strathearn van der Linden, who died suddenly Aug 29, 2016 at home in Chesterfield, Va, was an expert in the area of gas-turbine applications for electric power systems and a tireless proponent for these machines throughout a professional career spanning seven decades.

One might say he and the GT shared a separated childhood. Van der Linden was born Aug 4, 1933 in Vryburg, North Cape Province, South Africa; the first commercial gas turbine, built by Brown, Boveri & Cie, went into service in 1939 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. The physical connection would come some years later when he was employed by BBC.

Engineering degree in hand, van der Linden emigrated from South Africa to Canada, where he joined Worthington International, one of the early developers of gas turbines for generation service. In 1970, van der Linden moved to Curtiss-Wright Power Systems to introduce that company’s packaged gas-turbine generating units to the world.

Next stop, a dozen years later, was Brown Boveri Corp to re-introduce BBC into the US gas-turbine market. Along the way to “retirement” in 2002, BBC had to be re-introduced over and over again—as ABB Power Generation, ABB-Alstom, and Alstom. Incidentally, none of the companies mentioned above is in the gas-turbine business today.

Through all this gut-wrenching change, van der Linden took notes, lots of notes. And he didn’t throw out “the old stuff” after reorganizations. The result was a one-man reference library on things gas turbines from their introduction (seriously) to the present.

Perhaps most amazing was that he could ferret out facts from all the pre-web materials warehoused in the basement of his home within a few minutes of a request. Van der Linden was an invaluable help to CCJ editors over the years—writing articles, suggesting topics for coverage, correcting errors, confirming facts, providing historical perspective, etc.

He showed up everywhere gas turbines were involved, all the time. During his career, he presented more than 100 technical papers at meetings worldwide and wrote numerous articles for industry magazines. This in addition to volunteering an immense amount of personal time to develop and chair sessions, review papers, etc, for such high-profile industry organizations as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Gas Turbine Institute, Electric Power Conference, Power-Gen International, etc.

Van der Linden formed Brulin Associates LLC after retiring from Alstom in 2002 to specialize in gas turbines and emerging technologies. He invested considerable effort in the field of energy storage, recognizing its long-term value in a “greener” world. Jason Makansi, president, Pearl Street, and editorial advisor to CCJ, believes van der Linden probably did more to champion the commercial use of compressed-air energy storage (CAES) worldwide than anyone in the industry.

He was involved in the world’s first commercial CAES plant in Huntorf, Germany, which began operating in 1978, and helped Makansi, who founded the Energy Storage Council (and later the Coalition to Advance Renewable Energy through Bulk Storage), advance the technology. Over time, van der Linden came to be known as “the father of CAES.” Makansi describes him as “an inexorable force in our industry for advanced gas-turbine-based systems who tirelessly shared his data, analytics, and expertise.”

PSM’s FlameSheet™ a commercial success

Chuck Goodson, a utilities maintenance manager at Eastman Chemical Co, called PSM’s FlameSheet™ a “remarkable technical success” in his presentation at the 7F Users Group’s 2016 meeting in Orlando, May 9-13. He described the implementation project and early operating experience at Eastman’s Longview (Tex) cogeneration plant to an exclusive audience of more than 200 users and made his presentation available online to all 7F owner/operators registered with the organization’s forum at

Prior to installing FlameSheet, the plant could operate both of its 7FAs to maximize output, but that exposed Eastman to the consequences of low demand and low power prices. When operating one engine, the plant could satisfy Eastman’s requirement but was unable to ramp quickly enough to capture high market pricing. FlameSheet, the speaker said, extended GT turndown, enabling the cogen plant to increase market participation with its full capability while minimizing exposure to unfavorable market conditions.

Briefly, FlameSheet is retrofittable in both 7FAs and 501Fs, ideal for minimizing spares in mixed fleets. It enables the F-class GE and Siemens engines to operate down to 30% of their rated outputs while maintaining single-digit NOx and CO emissions. The combustion system is designed to burn a wide variety of fuels and to operate up to 32,000 factored hours between inspections. For more information use the search function at

Sulzer’s new lathe expands shop capabilities

With H- and J-series gas turbines capturing the hearts and minds of key customers, Sulzer expanded the capabilities of its La Porte (Tex) shop facilities near Houston by adding a large state-of-the-art lathe equipped to repair rotors for today’s most advanced engines. Billy Bottera, manager of GT rotors at Sulzer Rotating Equipment Services’ Big Bay Division, said the versatile lathe was constructed based on current designs of large gas-turbine rotors. Distinguishing features include the following: 200,000-lb capacity, 76 ft over bedway, and 14-ft swing.


The new lathe complements other cutting-edge machines at the facility—including a large, low-speed dynamic balancing machine, also with a capacity of 200,000 lb, and a vertical stacking system designed to protect valuable rotors as well as repair technicians.

Bottera said the combination and arrangement of this new equipment makes the most efficient use of workshop space and speeds up workflow—thereby reducing previous bottlenecks and the time required to make rotor repairs.

Gray market GT successfully ‘emigrates’ from US to Canada

John MacIsaac, president, Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro, a subsidiary of Nalcor Energy, had only good things to say about ProEnergy Services LLC’s handling of a fast-track project to get a 120-MW gray market gas turbine/generator from the US up and running within eight months at the utility’s Holyrood Generating Station, Newfoundland, Canada. The biggest challenge, he said, was “mapping the installation and permits across all applicable Canadian standards and labor requirements.”

The fuel-oil-fired Siemens 501D5A machine is producing 130 MW, better than the guaranteed ISO rating of 122 MW, and has met or exceeded expectations for uptime, availability (>95%), and emissions compliance. MacIsaac further lauds ProEnergy for coming within two weeks of the original eight-month schedule and within 8% of the project budget.

“They had to commission the unit through the Christmas holidays,” he noted. Projects like this one normally take 18-24 months.

While the turbine itself is capable of firing either natural gas or fuel oil or both, it was originally built for natural gas. ProEnergy modified the unit for No. 2 oil, including the water injection system for NOx control, before it was shipped from the warehouse where it had been stored and maintained for five years according to OEM recommendations.

Along with installation of the GT, ProEnergy, acting as EPC, provided a fully enclosed facility, water treatment equipment, water storage, redundant black-start capability, grid interconnection, road work, step-up transformer, ventilation, fire protection, and SCADA interconnection.

“The original intention was that the unit would serve as a peaker,” MacIsaac said, “but it’s logged more hours supporting generation with ancillary services. We moved through the targeted annual operating hours [less than 500] by the end of November 2015.”

The aggressive schedule was motivated by customer service interruptions suffered in the utility’s service territory the previous winter because of a severe stretch of frigid weather.

MacIsaac concluded by stating, “we did the right preliminary work, we developed a good plan and constantly measured daily against the plan, we solved issues in real time, and we benefitted from solid teamwork among ProEnergy, its Newfoundland subcontractors, and our in-house staff.”

Turbine Technology Services announces Lodestar Turbine Parts Management, a technical solution said to organize unprecedented amounts of parts and component data to improve performance by achieving the following:

      • Proactive maintenance planning. Enables users to understand the parts histories of their machines and better anticipate the condition of individual components prior to inspection.

      • Minimize budget/risk. Provide better information on parts life and unit costs to reduce inventory requirements, improve planning, and reduce operational risks.

      • Easy access to data. Lodestar is a cloud-based program that operates via a web browser, allowing personnel to view needed information on desktop, phone, or tablet.

      • Fleet standardization. Compare residual parts life across engines in your fleet to assure optimal dispatch and outage planning.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems announces that its installed base of J-series gas turbines had accumulated more than 250,000 actual operating hours by the end of June 2016. The company’s installed fleet of 20 J engines totals more than 10 GW of capacity and has produced more than 110,000 GWh of electricity; fleet reliability is 99.2%. The fleet leader, in operation since 2011, has recorded more than 26,000 operating hours. Globally, a total of 45 J-series gas turbines have been ordered.

GE update. The OEM, with partner EDF, began operation of the first ever combined-cycle plant equipped with its HA gas turbine in Bouchain, France, in June 2016. The plant was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most efficient combined cycle with an efficiency of 62.22%.

In other news, GE appoints Azeez Mohammed president and CEO of its Energy Copnnections’ Power Conversion business.

Siemens update. Siemens was selected to supply six SGT-400-powered compressor trains for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will transport Caspian natural gas to Europe beginning in late 2019. The company also received an order to supply an H-class gas turbine and an SST-800 steam turbine for the 350-MW Altamira combined-cycle cogeneration plant in Tamaulipas state, Mexico. With this order, Siemens has received orders for seven H-class gas turbines from Mexico. In related news, the OEM receives an order from CFE to provide long-term service and maintenance at four powerplant in Mexico. Six of the engines are SGT-8000H unit, two are SGT6-5000F machines.


NAES Corp acquires PurEnergy LLC, an operations and asset management firm that provides services to powerplant owners and lenders to assist in managing their generation assets while optimizing the economic benefit.

Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc acquires SPIG SpA, a global provider of custom-engineered cooling systems and services.

Fondo Strategico Italiano (FSI) and Shanghai Electric (SEC) enter into a strategic agreement that envisages the acquisition by SEC of 40% of Ansaldo Energia (for 400 million euros) and the establishment of two joint ventures between Ansaldo and SEC for manufacturing gas turbines for Asian markets and the creation of an R&D center in Shanghai.


Design, operation, and maintenance of large turbogenerators, Oct 3-7, 2016, Irvine, Calif, presented by generator specialists Isidor (Izzy) Kerszenbaum and Geoff Klempner. Visit IzzyTech LLC for details and to register.

Australasian HRSG Users Group, conference and workshops, Nov 15-17, 2016, Sydney, Australia. Details are available on the AHUG2016 website.

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