Power generation in south Asia has witnessed a steep fall due to the shortage of natural gas supplies for power plants and poor water storage in reservoirs for low hydro power generation. Due to the current economic scenario, there is worldwide pressure to secure and make more gas and oil available to support global power needs. With constrained fuel sources and increasing environmental focus, the quest for higher efficiency would be imminent.

Natural gas combined cycle plants operate at a very high efficiency, increasing the demand for gas. At the same time, countries may continue to look for alternate fuels such as coal and liquid fuels, including crude and residual oil, to increase energy stability and security.

In over the past few decades, the technology for refining crude oil has gone through a significant transformation. With the advanced refining process, there are additional lighter distillates produced from crude that could significantly change the quality of residual oil used for producing heavy fuel.

Using poor quality residual fuel in a gas turbine to generate power could have many challenges with regards to availability and efficiency of a gas turbine. The fuel needs to be treated prior to combustion and needs a frequent turbine cleaning to recover the lost performance due to fouling.

This paper will discuss GE’s recently developed gas turbine features, including automatic water wash, smart cooldown and model based control (MBC) firing temperature control. These features could significantly increase availability and improve the average performance of heavy fuel oil (HFO). The duration of the gas turbine offline water wash sequence and the rate of output degradation due to fouling can be considerably reduced.

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