This paper presents how a major U.S. gas transmission and storage company restored gas storage peaking capacity by repowering obsolete gas turbine compressor units. Consumers Power Company’s Ray Field located in Macomb County, Michigan, USA, was developed as a 44 BCF working capacity gas storage field in 1966. Due to the high deliverability, the field is operated as a peaking reservoir, handling rates as high as 500 MMCFD on injection and 1,200 MMCFD on withdrawal. Ten (10) 2,750 horsepower gas turbine driven 4-stage centrifugal compressor units were installed in the mid to late 1960’s at the field. The compression is operated 2, 4 and 8 stage, as needed, to cover storage pressures of 450 to 1800 psig.

Each centrifugal compressor is driven by a Pratt Whitney (PW) GG-12 Gas Generator firing into a Cooper-Bessemer (CB) RT-27 Power Turbine. By 1980 parts and maintenance services for the PW GG-12 Gas Generator became very expensive to non-existent. Aircraft use of the GG-12 (JT-12) had been phased out. Consumers Power, with 13 of these turbines on their system, was becoming the only remaining user. In the mid 1980’s four (4) of the Ray Field gas turbine compressor units were replaced with two (2) 6,000 horsepower reciprocating engine compressor units. These replacements maintained the deliverability of the field and provided salvageable engines and other parts to maintain the six (6) remaining turbines. However, by 1993 maintenance parts returned as a major problem as well as unit availability on the 6 remaining turbine units.

In 1994 Consumers Power committed to a gas turbine unit repowering program as the preferred choice over unit replacement. Two (2) refurbished Solar Centaur T4500 Gas Turbine drives were purchased and installed to repower 2 of the obsolete turbine units. These installations have been very successful. Existing compressors, foundations, piping, coolers and auxiliary systems were re-used with only minor modification. The complete installed cost for repowering was about 33% of the cost experienced for replacement. Installation was completed within eight (8) months of project commitment. The low emission rates from the Solar SoLoNOx Combustors allowed short lead time (6 months) on air emissions permit. New sound attenuation enclosures met the new local noise ordinance and replaced equipment that had been a source of local complaint. PLC based controls improved reliability and flexibility of operation. The additional horsepower available from the T4500 Turbine (4,300 vs 2,750) allows for increased future capacity.

Because of the success of the Ray Turbine Repowering Project, Consumers Power has committed to 2 more refurbished Solar Centaur T4500 Units to repower PW/CB Turbines at the St Clair Compressor Station. Solar is scheduled to delivery these 2 units by year-end 1995 for installation in 1996.

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