The US gas turbine (GT) power generation market has seen significant volatility in recent years due to climate changes, changes in natural gas prices and the uncertain future of nuclear and coal power generation. Many gas turbine power plants originally intended to operate on a more continuous basis (base load) are operating in intermittent dispatch mode which has caused some operators to frequently shut down their units. This frequent cycling of units can increase start-up and maintenance costs. It could be beneficial to these plants to operate at lower loads when power demand is low and ramp up to higher loads as demand increases. A key issue in operating at lower loads is an increase in carbon monoxide (CO) emissions. When the engines are base loaded, the combustion system operates at high firing temperatures and most of the CO is oxidized to carbon dioxide (CO2). However, at part loads — when the firing temperature is lower — the CO to CO2 oxidation reaction is quenched by the cool regions near the walls of the combustion liner. This results in increased CO emissions at low loads. In order to provide greater operational flexibility to its F- & G-class gas turbine operators, Siemens has developed an upgrade for the engine system designed to allow the gas turbine to operate at lower loads while maintaining emissions. This low load turndown upgrade has been installed, tested and is currently in operation at 8 F and 4 G class Siemens operating gas turbines. These plants were previously operating typically between 70% and 100% of GT base load. Sometimes, when the demand for power was low, typically at night and on weekends, these plants would shut down. During these low power demand periods — with this upgrade installed — these plants continue to operate down to lower loads while maintaining CO emissions and with a capability to more quickly ramp-up to full load when the demand for power increases. This paper details the installation, testing results and continued validation of the Low Load Turndown upgrade.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.