Electric starter development programs have been the subject of ASME technical papers for over two decades. Offering significant advantages over hydraulic or pneumatic starters, electric starters are now poised to be the preferred choice amongst gas turbine customers. That they are not now the dominant starter in the field after decades of investment and experimentation is attributable to many factors. As with any new technology, progress is often unsteady, depending on budgets, market conditions, customer buy-in, etc. Additionally, technological advances in the parent technologies, in this case electric motors, can abruptly and rapidly change, further disturbing the best laid introduction plans. It is therefore not too surprising that only recently, is the industry beginning to see the deployment of electric starters on production gas turbines. The earliest adoption occurred on smaller gas turbine units, generally less than 10 MW in power. More recently, gas turbines greater than 10 MWs are being sold with electric starters. The authors expect that regardless of their size or fuel supply, most all future gas turbine users will opt for electric starters. This may even include the “larger” frame machines with power greater than 100 MW. Starting with some past history, this paper will not only summarize past development efforts, it will attempt to examine the current deployment of electric starters throughout the marine and industrial gas turbine landscapes. The large-scale acceptance of electric start systems for both new production and retrofit will depend on the favorable cost/benefit assessment when weighing both first cost and life cycle cost. The current and intense activity in electric vehicle applications is giving rise to even more power dense motors. The paper will look at some of these exciting applications, the installed products, and the technologies behind the products. To what extent these new products may serve the needs of the gas turbine community will be the central question this paper attempts to answer.

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