New engine update: LM6000, LMS100
Enhancements of successful aero engines are a focus of GE Energy, a strategy that’s in lock-step with the need to build more flexibility into gas-turbine assets to support the integration of renewable resources into the generation mix (see special report, “Integrating Renewables. . .” elsewhere in this issue).
Darryl Wilson, VP of aeroderivative GTs for GE Water & Power, one of the three business units that comprise GE Energy, said in early October, “Around the world, our customers are telling us it’s no longer enough to provide equipment with . . . high levels of power output, economy, reliability, and availability. Today’s and tomorrow’s customers want those capabilities plus low emissions and fuel flexibility.” The new engines are capable of burning ethanol and other biofuels in addition to conventional fuels.
Wilson reported that the latest enhancements to the LM6000 product line—the PG and PH engines—hit critical validation testing milestones in the early fall. The PG, equipped with a single annular combustor, was released for package testing at GE’s manufacturing facility in Houston. The PH, the dry low-emissions equivalent of the PG, is equipped with the company’s DLE 2.0 combustion system.
GE reported that the new LM6000 aeros offer significant increases in simple-cycle power and in exhaust energy for cogeneration applications. The higher output is achieved within the same package footprint as existing 50-Hz engines, which translates to a substantial boost in power density.
Key to the improvements are materials and technology upgrades previously demonstrated on the CF6-80E aircraft fleet, which has about 450 engines in operation and an experience base of well over 8-million flight hours.
In a 2 x 1 combined-cycle arrangement, the PG and PH are designed to produce up to 150 MW at 53% efficiency, depending on the configuration selected.
Both the PG and PH can be incorporated into packages for 50- or 60-Hz service. Former will be assembled at a GE facility in Hungary, latter in Houston.
LMS100. The latest news on the LMS100 is that GE is now offering the engine with a DLE 2.0 combustion system, which is capable of sub 25-ppm NOx emissions without water injection. Rated output of the new package is 101 MW in a simple-cycle configuration at 44% efficiency.
When the LMS100 was introduced in 2003, the focus was simple-cycle operation. Now the OEM is touting its value in CHP (combined heat and power), combined-cycle, and mechanical-drive applications as well.
Session chair and discussion for the LMS100 sessions was Don Haines, plant manager, Panoche Energy Center, Firebaugh, Calif; session secretary, Cindy Alicea of SPS. The big difference between the LMS100 sessions and those for the other GE aeros was that there was no depot involvement. Participation was by owner/operators and the OEM.
The opening message was that the LMS 100 commercial fleet had grown considerably in the last year. At the time of the 2009 meeting, only five units were in commercial service—four in the US and one in Argentina. By the 2010 conference, 17 LMS100s were producing power at 10 plants in five countries. Thirteen of those units at six plants in three countries were represented in San Diego. Another LMS100 was in commissioning when Haines called his session to order and five more units were under construction.
The first presentation after Haines’ opening remarks was by Ryan Wanner of Wood Group Power Operations, who explained how the Panoche Energy Center used its PI system to automate reporting. In these days of ever-shrinking plant staffs, automated record-keeping certainly has quantifiable benefits.
Wanner explained the process used by the Wood Group operations team and took attendees through the various screens with real-time data. He said the data collected also were used to update the SPS ORAP® system monthly.
The extensive GE presentation focused on a review of field events, fleet issues, and suggested improvements. Many of the issues and punch-list items have been/will be resolved quickly and there would be little value in mentioning them here. LMS100 owner/operators who do not already have access to this information can it at www.wtui.com by registering with the user group.
To illustrate the depth and value of the presentation regarding suggested improvements, follow the following thread regarding hydraulic accumulators:
• Background. IGV and VSV accumulator O-ring leaks occurred at one site; oil was contained within the package.
• Investigation. Leaks were attributed to use of under-rated O-rings (vendor quality issue). Rings installed were good for 2900 psig service, but the required rating was 3600 psig.
• Field action/improvement plan. (1) Implemented a process to assure that hydraulic O-rings from this supplier would be inspected and their ratings verified prior to use. (2) Developed instructions that enables users to properly inspect hydraulic-accumulator O-rings and to replace them as required.