PLAN AHEAD: 7F Users Group 25th anniversary meeting, Orlando, May 9-13, 2016

The world’s largest meeting of frame gas-turbine owner/operators is hosted annually by the 7F Users Group. The organization’s 2015 conference, held at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, May 11-15, was the largest ever, attracting nearly 300 users and more than that number of commercial attendees representing the 122 companies participating in the vendor fair over two evenings. The group formed in November 1991, when there was only one 7F operating in the world. The first meeting attracted 14 users from four generating companies ; there was no vendor fair.

This year’s event was an unqualified success by every measure, except for the weather. Sheila Vashi and her team of very capable meeting professionals at Georgia-based SV Event Management, and the all-volunteer steering committee (photo), couldn’t convince the weather gods to deliver a warm, sunny day for the annual golf tournament. Snow and mud forced the first cancellation of that event anyone could remember. Mostly vendors were affected, as you might imagine.

Steering Committee Chairman Robert LaRoche of SRP noted in his opening comments that the 286 user attendees broke the previous record of 246—a 16% increase. In that total were 40 international owner/operators representing Brazil (Petrobras and Eneva, a subsidiary of Germany’s E.ON), Japan (Chubu Electric and Osaka Gas), Korea (Korea Southern Power, Korea Western Power, and SK E&S), Mexico (Iberdrola), Saudi Arabia (Jabail O&M, Jabail Water & Power, Saudi Electric, Tihama Power), Taiwan (Chiahui Power), and United Kingdom (RWE npower).

2015 7F steering committee. First row (l to r): Robert LaRoche, SRP; Ed Maggio, Tampa Electric; Clift Pompee, Duke Energy; Luis Barrera, Calpine Corp. Second row: Eugene Szpynda, NYPA; Bryan Graham, Entegra Power; Jeff Gillis, Exxon Mobil; Peter So, Calpine Corp. Third row: Ed Fuselier, Competitive Power Ventures Inc; Sam Graham, Tenaska Inc; David Such, Xcel Energy. Fourth row: Peter Margliotti, GDF Suez Energy North America; Richard Clark, Southern California Edison. Camera shy: Paul Whitlock, Dominion Resources; Art Hamilton, Emera Energy; Justin McDonald, Southern Company Generation; Bob Holm, OxyChem

2015 7F steering committee. First row (l to r): Robert LaRoche, SRP; Ed Maggio, Tampa Electric; Clift Pompee, Duke Energy; Luis Barrera, Calpine Corp. Second row: Eugene Szpynda, NYPA; Bryan Graham, Entegra Power; Jeff Gillis, Exxon Mobil; Peter So, Calpine Corp. Third row: Ed Fuselier, Competitive Power Ventures Inc; Sam Graham, Tenaska Inc; David Such, Xcel Energy. Fourth row: Peter Margliotti, GDF Suez Energy North America; Richard Clark, Southern California Edison. Camera shy: Paul Whitlock, Dominion Resources; Art Hamilton, Emera Energy; Justin McDonald, Southern Company Generation; Bob Holm, OxyChem

7F committee chairs serve a one-year term. At the close of the Denver meeting, Ed Maggio of Tampa Electric moved into the chairman’s seat to start planning the 25th anniversary conference at Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek, May 9-13, 2016.

The steering committee worked with the OEM and other key vendors to pack so much gas-turbine technology into the four-and-a half-day program those who made it to the end needed the weekend to recuperate. The non-stop event began Monday morning with attendees having a choice between HRST Inc’s F-class HRSG Spotlight Session and a tour of Xcel Energy’s Cherokee 7FA.05 combined cycle, said to be the first of this model constructed in the US.

HRST’s Craig Dube and Jonathan Aurand presented on HRSG tube sampling for long-term reliability, HRSG drains: problems, arrangement and control, and online HRSG condition assessment checks. Monday afternoon’s feature was an eight-presentation GE controls workshop that ran from 1:30 until after 6 p.m. with only one break—that sponsored by generator experts AGTServices. Highlights will appear in a later issue of CCJ ONsite.

The Tuesday and Wednesday programs were user-only and included presentations by owner/operators and open discussion before the afternoon breaks. Invited vendor presentations followed the breaks on both days. They were arranged in two 45-min sessions, with three product/services suppliers presenting in parallel during each period. A vendor fair closed out each day’s activities at 8:30 p.m.

The 7F Users Group traditionally features more presentations by owner/operators than any user organization known to the editors. This year was no different, with 10 presentations on Tuesday covering the compressor section, safety practices and lessons learned, performance and controls, and auxiliaries. On Wednesday there were another seven user presentations, on the combustion and turbine sections, and generators. Plus a 90-min, “Top-10 Issues” open discussion session. Summary coverage is forthcoming. New this year was the presentation of CCJ Best Practices Awards to 7F owner/operators opting to receive their plaques in Denver.

Themes of the dozen vendor presentations boiled down to these: inspection, high-voltage electrical, reliability upgrades, HRSG and emissions control, repair of hot parts, and compressor solutions.

Thursday was GE Day. More than a dozen of the OEM’s experts, armed with nearly 200 slides, covered compressor updates, cold-day operability and fuel variation, HGP updates, accessories reliability and TIL updates, DLN 2.6+ tutorial, new repair technologies, monitoring and diagnostics, and other subjects.

Friday was reserved for a new four-hour offering, 7F Grad School, “taught” by the OEM’s engineers. It offered three optional sessions from 8 a.m. to 9:45—a deep dive on systems performance and operability, thoughts on plant reliability, and market dynamics for engineers. The second option investigated best practices for auxiliary systems and operation with the goal of achieving world-class performance. The last attempted to make engineers bring greater value to their companies. For example, the interactive session explored external dynamics—which may be driven by technical, financial, and/or social policies.

The first two options were replayed in the 10 a.m. to 11:45 time slot with the market dynamics option replaced with “The Road to 200 MW and Beyond.”

The foregoing suggests every 7F plant should be represented at this meeting. Get your internal permissions paperwork started early in 2016 at the latest. Keywords: 7F 25, Orlando, May 9-13, 2016.

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