This article presents an overview of the history of International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI). The IGTI gas turbine conference has been ASME's leading international technical meeting from its very beginning. The annual meeting is held in North America and in Europe on alternate years. Currently, more than half of the papers presented are from non-North American parts of the gas turbine community, most coming from Europe and Asia. The IGTI First Annual Gas Turbine Conference and Exhibit was held on April 16–18, 1956 at the Hotel Statler in Washington, DC. This very fist ASME all-gas turbine meeting had 25 exhibitors, six technical sessions, a total of 17 papers, and an attendance of about 750. In recent years, IGTI has been able to fund about $1M in gas turbine scholarships, as well as providing the world's leading forum for gas turbine technology.
It has been said, if you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development. Let us look here at the origins of the International Gas Turbine Institute and its growth in supporting the technical development of the gas turbine industry.
The origins of IGTI go back some 68 years, and its development has been centered around our annual TURBO EXPO. I estimate since IGTI has held technical conferences, some 16,000 referenced papers have been presented and published in conference proceedings, involving on the order of 48,000 reviewers and 3,000 session organizers. About 25-35% of the papers are published in ASME archival journals.
The IGTI First Annual Gas Turbine Conference and Exhibit was held April 16-18, 1956 at the Hotel Statler in Washington, DC. This very first ASME all-gas turbine meeting had 25 exhibitors, six technical sessions, a total of 17 papers and an attendance of about 750. The conference fee was $5 (with papers) and $2 (without papers). By way of contrast, IGTI's 56th gas turbine conference, TURBO EXPO ’11 in Vancouver, June 6-10,2011 had 120 exhibitors, 285 technical sessions, a total of 977 papers and an attendance of 2366.
The IGTI gas turbine conference has been ASME's leading international technical meeting from its very beginning. The annual meeting is held in North America and in Europe on alternate years. Currently, more than half of the papers presented are from non-North American parts of the gas turbine community, most coming from Europe and Asia.
The gas turbine is the youngest of energy converters. The first jet engine-powered flight took place in Germany, and the first operation of a gas turbine to generate electrical power occurred in Switzerland, both in 1939. Within five years of this birth, the organization of IGTI—and of the gas turbine conference—commenced. Here are a few milestones, facts and dates that make up IGTI's history:
On May 8-10,1944, ASME s 17th National Oil and Gas Power Conference was held mid-continent (wartime) at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, OK. The technical program consisted of four sessions (a total of ten technical papers); three on diesel engine technology and one (two papers) on the newly emerging gas turbine. As Mechanical Engineering Magazine reported: “Demonstrating the technical interest aroused by the gas turbine, the first new prime mover in 50 years, a capacity crowd of approximately 250 attended the first technical session which was devoted to that subject.” In anticipation of this intense interest in new gas turbine technology, on May 7, 1944, the Executive Committee of the Oil and Gas Power Division voted to form a ten member Gas Turbine Coordinating Committee (GTCC) to provide “...coordination and dissemination of new technical information on the gas turbine through periodic meetings and the presentation of technical papers.” This newly formed GTCC, with R. Tom Sawyer of the American Locomotive Company as its chairman, was the start of IGTI.
By March 1947, GTCC had grown to 31 members and had sponsored an increasing number of gas turbine papers at ASME conferences. With its growing membership, the GTCC petitioned ASME for division status, and this was granted on August 14, 1947. Thus the Gas Turbine Power Division was formed, later to be called simply, the Gas Turbine Division (GTD). As the prime organizer (and by then author of the text, The Modern Gas Turbine), R. Tom Sawyer was the first chairman, serving for the remainder of 1947.
The new GTD started in 1948 with three technical committees: Committee on Theory, Committee on Design, and Committee on Application. Over the last 57 years, these three grew into the 18 technical committees which form the backbone of IGTI today.
As the international gas turbine community grew, the number of papers sponsored by the GTD increased to the point that it was obvious a separate meeting was needed. The first one was held in Washington, DC, in 1956 as mentioned above, with succeeding annual meetings taking place in other US cities. In 1966 Zürich was chosen as the first European site for the gas turbine conference. Not long after, the annual meeting developed into its present schedule of locating in North America and Europe in alternate years.
As the GTD conference increased in size in the years after 1956, it became more and more apparent that a separate ASME staff was needed to take over the administration and operation of the Division. In 1978, Donald D. Hill became Director of Operations for the GTD and set up his office in Atlanta, with Sue Collins as his assistant. In 1982, additional staff was hired to take over direct management of the exposition.
By 1986, the Gas Turbine Division outgrew its divisional status and was made an institute ofASME—the International Gas Turbine Institute—as we know it today. In 1988 the annual gas turbine conference was renamed TURBO EXPO. Projects and services developed, produced and financed by IGTI has increased, and the professional staff now numbers seven. The Atlanta area office is IGTI's headquarters and the hub of its international activity.
In the past, I have heard stories from early IGTI volunteers of members taking out loans on their homes to finance the upfront funding necessary to secure a conference site. Once the Atlanta office was formed, staff and volunteers worked closely together to make IGTI more financially sound. Thus in recent years we have been able to fund about $1M in gas turbine scholarships, as well as providing the world's leading forum for gas turbine technology.
I hope that this short IGTI history helps to define the present and who we are.