Category: Company News


35 Years in the Gas Turbine Industry
Where our renowned history meets a promising future

March of 1983, Turbine Technology Services (TTS) was founded. Our first project was in Saudi Arabia and involved taking over the operations of a 7EA power plant. This was a high-pressure project; it was not wise to disappoint the Sheik. The project lasted 2 ½ years, it was a fabulous way to begin our journey.

But this announcement isn’t so much about our history and what we were, but more about what we have become and where we are going. Our team of 40+ engineering professionals has traveled millions of miles to over 90 countries serving more than 400 clients managing hundreds of gas turbine installations and modernization projects and providing innovative and integrated engineering solutions – our hallmark.

We are part of the TTS Energy Services portfolio of companies, and, with our sister company Reciprocating Technology Services, we are positioned for growth. As an alternative to the OEMs, both organizations offer agility, innovation and experience delivering industry leading aftermarket parts, modernization, optimization, upgrading and custom services for our power generation and gas compression and transmission clients.

“This is an exciting time to be connected to such a great team of engineers and professionals who live and breathe customer centric values, power generation and technology innovation.” George Gramatikas, Founder, TTS.

Today the power generation industry is experiencing disruption of unprecedented scope and speed. OEMs are laying off employees and struggling to restructure their organizations.

TTS Energy Services is not down-sizing, but rather up-sizing. We have focused our strengths on growing the business, meeting new challenges and exploring a future that is filled with opportunities and promise.

Black Start – The Driver is Reliability

The solution is TTS’ Operational Excellence



The United States would face severe economic consequences if there was a serious disruption to the electricity supply. The cost could easily run into billions of dollars. While the likelihood of such an outage is low, the concerns regarding the possibility and impact of electricity blackouts is increasing. The leading concerns? Weather, aging infrastructure and cyber-attacks.Regardless of the cause, there are no yardsticks available to compare the cost of infrastructure investment to the cost of power outages. Just know, that it is all expensive. Add the potential for physical harm and injury to people effected by the blackout and there is no calculation that applies.

What is a “Black Start”?

A “black start” is the process of restoring an electric power station or a part of an electric grid to operation without relying on the external electric power transmission network. Needless to say, it’s a very complicated process. The controls and instrumentation used during a black start must operate dependably and with the utmost precision and speed.

A black start unit is one that can start its own power without support from the grid in the event of a major system collapse or a system-wide blackout. In the U.S., every region within the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has its own black start plan and procedures. Each region also designates certain plants as black start units.

TTS Answers the Call

One of these plants recently contracted Turbine Technology Services (TTS) to work with them and other contractors to upgrade the plant’s controls and systems to meet the current technology and reliability standards. Black start operations are conducted in compliance with NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards. Black start resources are linked to the CIP EOP-005-2 standard, and any cyber asset that is essential to the operation of a black start resource is a “Critical Cyber Asset” by definition, according to NERC.

 

The Scope of the Project

TTS is very proud to be awarded this prestigious project based on TTS’ wide collection of skills and experience. The project’s gas turbine reliability improvement scope description included a detailed engineering design package for all materials to be provided for this project.

Those materials include:

  • Complete Control Building (PEECC) for two (2) units including installation of EPWS equipment and FAT testing.
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Air-Start Compressor Skid
  • Fuel Oil Forwarding Skid
  • Transmitter Panels
  • Cable Tray
  • Conduit and Cable
  • Installation engineering
  • Test packages
  • Connection drawings

In addition, the scope entails the following site installation and commissioning activities:

  • Demolition of Complete Control Room Equipment
  • Equipment Installation
  • Complete project installation and commissioning
  • PEECC
  • Fuel Skid
  • Compressors
  • Fuel Valves
  • Cable Tray
  • Conduit and Cable

TTS is excited to announce that the project is well under way. We’ll keep you up to date on what’s happening both here and on LinkedIn, so be sure to follow us online. You’ll be the first to hear all the latest details from TTS. To Be Continued…

Do you have a project that needs a TTS technical solution?
Contact us to see how we can help you meet your goals for operational excellence.

The State of Safety in Oil & Gas Industry – 2018

Abridged from DNV Report 05/07/2018

We work safer now than ever before, but: “You can’t take anything we do for granted… “

Recently, a horrible accident happened at a small welding shop behind our offices here in Houston. In this shop worked two or three welders, each one an experienced hand with 20-30 years of welding experience. While one of the welders was heating up a sealed pipe, something went terribly wrong: the pipe exploded.

When the pipe blew, we heard a loud bang and screaming. In the pipe’s sudden explosion, the welder tragically lost his arm just below the elbow. The EMTs arrived by emergency helicopter and took the injured man to the hospital to be treated. Fortunately, the man would live; unfortunately, he might not weld ever again.

Our safety lead at RTS, Tom Anderson, called an Emergency Safety Meeting. “You can’t take anything we do for granted—we work in a dangerous environment,” he said.

The oil and gas industry has become considerably safer over the past two decades according to data from several industry bodies, such as the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), as well as national associations, including those in the UK, Norway, US and Australia.

Despite this, any time you work in a high-risk environment, accidents like the one at the welding shop behind us can occur. So, is enough being done to further improve safety in the oil and gas industry? Have recent market dynamics negatively affected investments in enhancing safety performance? And how aware are industry leaders of safety risks and incidents?

You just can’t be too safe.

Key Issue – Increased Risk Due to Reduced Maintenance Investment

According to the results of DNV GL’s 2018 Industry Outlook research, close to half (46%) of the 813 senior oil and gas professionals surveyed believe that too little has been invested in maintenance and inspection of installations and equipment in recent years. Some 38% said that safety management in the oil and gas industry is effective and does not need to change – 26% disagree, while 31% are neutral. This clearly shows that the industry is divided on the need to change safety practices.

It is also interesting to note that safety performance and investment increased during the strong growth years to 2014, but only risk increased through the challenging years that followed. We have heard where some companies inadvertently increased safety risk because of incentive programs that rewarded maintenance managers for being under budget on maintenance.

Certainly, many in the industry don’t believe that their business has made any compromises on safety. “The risk that we’ve got now, in the recovering market, is that companies forget about the underinvestment that they made,” says Graham Bennett, vice president, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “Ramping up operations to take new opportunities can result in a worrying picture if companies don’t recognize the underinvestment made in the last few years. There is always a lag between periods of underinvestment and any associated safety impact.”

Downstream Sector Set to Invest More in Safety

In our survey, respondents from the downstream sector currently expect the highest increase in safety spending (41%) this year, compared with other parts of the industry. We also find the downstream sector to be more concerned about safety than other areas of the value chain. For instance, only 12% of respondents overall say that cost cutting over the past three years has increased health and safety risk, but this figure is nearly double (23%) in the downstream sector.

Digital Safety Measures Increasing

Many new investments in safety will be aimed at digitalizing safety monitoring, processes and responses this year. A clear finding from our survey is a significant increase in the proportion of respondents (54%) who intend to boost spending on digitalization in 2018 – up from 39% expected for 2017. Looking further ahead, over the next five years, 76% of respondents say they will invest in digitalization.

Already, even where cutbacks have been widespread, 40% say digitalization has improved safety over the past three years. “The industry has been a quick adopter of new technology and digitalization,” says Mr. Lu Nianming. “Technology has helped us improve safety monitoring systems, data analytics helps us determine which processes, areas and equipment are more accident-prone, while we have wearable equipment to monitor workers in case they faint or fall.”

A key advantage of digitalization in the safety context is that it can allow for the integration and transparent communication of hundreds of key indicators from across an organization. For example, DNV GL’s MyQRA service draws on data from quantitative risk assessment (QRA) reports to create a single source of safety data that can help all stakeholders generate deeper safety insights, better understand important safety signals, make decisions and predict future outcomes.

Senior Executives are More Positive About Safety Than the Field Engineers

Encouragingly, most survey participants (85%) say that safety risks and incidents are reported to senior management, and this figure rises to 91% among those working for companies with an annual revenue over USD500m. But how do perspectives on safety differ between those closer to the boardroom and those closer to the hazards?

Our survey found:

  • Senior management (45%) are more likely than engineers and technical specialists (32%) to say safety management is effective and does not need to change.
  • Nearly twice as many engineers/technical specialists (28%) as business leaders (15%) say that a focus on profitability has had a negative impact on safety performance.
  • Most business leaders (65%) say that senior management understands the impact of cost cutting on safety, while just 50% of engineers and technical specialists say the same.

This indicates that those in the boardroom are, to some degree, more optimistic about safety than those in the field. While further research is needed to understand why this is the case, it suggests that senior leaders in the oil and gas industry could benefit from spending time better understanding the risks faced by those on the front line.

The Right Mindset: Perpetual Improvement

Overall, long-term trends indicate a strong improvement in the safety of oil and gas industry workers over time. The industry appears to be largely continuing this path, increasing investment and modernizing safety procedures and equipment. However, there are reasons to caution the optimism – from lower investment in safety in recent years, to the relatively higher concerns identified in the downstream sector, and by more junior and technical employees.

“Operators cannot afford not to maintain safety – they are aware, of course, that they can’t compromise in this area – I don’t really believe they are allowing maintenance or safety standards to slip,” says Frank Ketelaars, regional manager, Americas at DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “In fact, in many places the pressure to raise standards has increased.”

In Closing

While zero risk is not achievable, much more can be done to stop preventable incidents. “We are in an industry that involves risks,” says Tom Anderson, Operations Director, RTS. “Safety incidents will happen no matter how much we do, but we can work to get the rate of incidents as low as possible. And to do that we must constantly focus on the need for improvements. Safety Matters Most.”

Breaking News: GE Frame 5PA Upgrade Motivated by Forced Outage Also Works for 6B and 7B-EA

TTS Successfully Converts a Mark V Fuel Control to Electronic Valves

A paper products plant in the Southeast was planning for a major spring 2017 inspection for their Frame 5 with preparations were well underway in October 2016 when suddenly, the unit tripped on high vibration, just as day shift arrived at the facility.

An original Row 2 bucket failed, causing considerable downstream damage. Management decided to begin necessary repairs immediately and to conduct the machine’s third major inspection at the same time.

The Frame 5 cogen unit had accumulated nearly 115,000 total fired hours and 1,500 starts since its commission in 1997. The 24.5-MW (on gas) MS5001PA engine was equipped with a DLN-1 combustion system and capable of dual-fuel firing. It was one of the most advanced Frame 5s in the fleet when it was first installed.

Since its commissioning, the 12 combustion, six hot-gas-path (HGP) and three major inspections typically revealed little beyond normal wear and tear. In fact, few significant modifications had been made to the basic engine in its two decades of service and plant personnel told the editors that the bucket failure was the first major issue suffered by the gas turbine in its lifetime.

Chris Mancini of Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis Ltd was informed of the unit trip and its likely damage shortly after it occurred. He and a superintendent were onsite within two days to assist in damage assessment.

Field service personnel arrived one day after Mancini and the following day, the day shift completed its site and safety orientation, organized tools and work areas and ran power and compressed-air lines as needed. The night shift received its site orientation, set up lighting and began disassembling the unit. The project proceeded at an aggressive pace from that point forward given the black-start cogen unit’s importance to mill production.

MD&A was awarded a turnkey contract for repairs, the major inspections of the turbine and generator, as well as some additional projects including the removal of the liquid-fuel and trip-oil systems.

Because the mill never had success operating on liquid fuel, the most practical solution was to not burn liquid fuel. That decision, made years ago by plant management, was easy given the ready availability of quality gas.

However, oil infrastructure eventually ran afoul of the company’s goal for continuous improvement. It took three shifts to remove liquid-fuel components to conduct a combustion inspection and three to reinstall it before engine restart.

The facility has been performing CIs at 8000-hr intervals so the cost, in terms of labor and outage schedule impact, added up quickly.

The plant engineer was guardedly optimistic about doubling that interval, as promised by the more robust coating applied by ACT Independent Turbo Services Inc, on hot-section parts in its Texan LaPorte shop during the outage. However, this doubling required approval by the facility’s insurer and the coating’s merit would need to be considered.

MD&A was credited with developing a plan to eliminate oil capability, including the fuel-nozzle mods, at less than half the cost estimated by an alternative supplier. It should also be noted that by eliminating the parasitic power associated with the liquid-fuel system, unit output increases by 280 kW.

Issues with fuel valves equipped with hydraulic actuators motivated the mill to replace that equipment with electrically actuated valves when the change to gas-only firing was made. With this upgrade, less gas is burned to produce a given amount of power than with hydraulic valves in the circuit.

Replacing the mechanical overspeed bolt and trip-oil system with an electronic overspeed trip enables operators to now verify trip functionality at 500 rpm without stressing the unit.

 

Converting from Dual Fuel to Gas-Only

The liquid fuel system (LFS) for this Frame 5 included the following subsystems: primary and secondary liquid fuel and purge, atomizing air, and water injection and purge. LFS decommissioning, a first step in the conversion of the unit to gas-only operation included deactivation or removal of all hardware associated with oil supply as well as of equipment in the subsystems noted.

During the forced outage, key components of the LFS were removed, but because of schedule constraints and the physical location of some hardware, it was not feasible to remove everything at that time. Others who have performed similar conversions told the editors it’s important to disconnect/remove components that would consume power when inactive—such as the fuel pump and atomizing air compressor—and simply abandon in place piping that would have no adverse impact on gas-only operations.

The end covers and piping inside the turbine compartment were modified during the outage to reflect elimination of the LFS; Mark V controls software was reconfigured to accommodate the changes made.

 

Checklist of LFS Hardware Removed

  • Accessory-gearbox oil-vapor eductor; a desiccant breather cap was installed in its place.
  • Atomizing-air booster compressor driven by the starting diesel, along with related piping and valves.
  • Atomizing-air pre-cooler and its cooling-water supply piping. Source-air piping from the atomizing-air pre-cooler inside the turbine compartment also was removed.
  • Extraction piping from the compressor to the atomizing- and purge-air subsystems.
  • Gas-fuel purge system hardware.
  • Primary liquid-fuel lines from the flow divider to the fuel nozzles.
  • The accessory-gear-driven atomizing air compressor—together with its drive gear and associated bearings.
  • The accessory-gear-driven fuel pump—together with the electric clutch, coupling, bypass valve, and gear and its bearings.
  • Water-injection piping to the fuel nozzles.

 

Fuel Valve Upgrades

The mill’s Frame 5 was equipped with a combined, hydraulically actuated gas stop speed/ratio (SRV) and control valve (GCV) and gas fuel splitter valve. Recall that the SRV and GCV are independent valves. Gas flows through the SRV to the GCV, which regulates the amount of fuel flowing to the ring manifold serving the 10 combustion chambers. The splitter valve serving on DLN machines divides gas flow between the primary and secondary fuel systems.

Turbine Technology Services Corp was retained to remove the liquid fuel system, as described above, and to replace the existing hydraulically actuated, 3-in. SRV/GCV and splitter valves with new electronic valves from Young & Franklin Inc. Existing gas supply strainers and valves were retained inside the compartment. A 3-in. stop valve was required in addition to electronic primary- and secondary-fuel control valves.

 

The company’s Dave Simmons told the editors TTS has deep experience in this work, having removed liquid-fuel capability on about 50 GE Frame 5s through EAs over the years and retrofitted electronic valves from different suppliers on perhaps 20 machines.

Simmons said elimination of liquid-fuel capability on a non-DLN gas turbine is relatively easy, but experience counts when a DLN engine is involved. This project was unique: It was the first time that a Mark V-equipped DLN-1 machine was converted to electronic valves for fuel control—and it took only four weeks from initial request to startup.

TTS proved it could satisfy project goals by running tests on its reconfigured Mark V simulator. No empirical testing was involved. There were no surprises, Simmons said. The Y&F valves performed the way the company said they would.

He added that an increasing number of plants are investigating conversion to electronic valves and most projects can be justified based on opportunity costs. One of the first things to do, Simmons continued, is to determine the availability of physical space to accommodate the new equipment. This shouldn’t be challenging for non-DLN machines, he said.

Some demolition and installation of the new valves and electrical conduit and wiring are key elements of the physical project. The editors were told that most wiring generally can be reused, excepting old non-DLN units. Otherwise, shielded cable is strongly recommended for use with electronic valves.

Finally, if considering electronic fuel valves for your plant, don’t forget to audit the control system logic file to see if it can accommodate the switch from hydraulics to electric. There was no such issue on this project because of all the liquid-fuel infrastructure removed.

TTS modified the gas control software in the Mark V panel and HMI operator screens and then performed functional and operational tests of the new gas control system.

 

Other Activities Required to Complete the Project

  • Disable piping to the gas control valve for the existing hydraulic- and trip-oil systems. Note that the mechanical overspeed trip was disabled when trip-oil supply to the gas control valve was terminated.
  • Install an emergency-stop pushbutton inside the accessory compartment.
  • Install two magnetic speed pickups and independently connect to the Mark V overspeed “hardware” trip.

To convert the dual-fuel end covers to gas only, the liquid-fuel and water-injection distributors were removed. The tubing runs connecting the distributors to the corresponding five primary-fuel nozzles on each end cover also were removed and caps installed in their place at the openings created. Secondary-fuel nozzles attach to the center of each end cover—their liquid-fuel and water-injection connections were also removed and capped.

 

To learn more about TTS’ dual fuel experience and capabilities for fuel conversions or upgrades, visit our website.

Turbine Technology Services Attracts New Talent


Dr. Gerry Fischer is in the house.

Houston, TX 5/05/2017 – Turbine Technology Services (TTS) is always looking for expertise in the Combustion Systems, Emission Technologies and Control Systems sectors. One notable candidate is Dr. Gerry Fischer. He has worked with TTS in the past on several task-oriented projects with very specific requirements. Now, TTS is pleased to announce Dr. Fischer’s role within the company as a consultant.

“Dr. Fischer is very impressive. His expertise and understanding of SCR upgrades for gas compression pipeline turbines will be very valuable to TTS and our clients,” said Frank Hoegler, Vice President of TTS and President of Reciprocating Technology Services (RTS), TTS’ sister company. “What’s more, he’s also worked extensively on combustion systems for slow speed reciprocating gas dual fuel engines. With his considerable gas turbine knowledge and many years of experience, we’re very excited for him to have an expanded role with us—we know he’s going to be a great fit in our team.”

TTS and RTS are two parts of the TTS Energy Services family of companies serving gas compression and power generation industries with a wide range of technical solutions and capabilities.

“TTS’ team of engineers takes innovation to a whole new level. I’m very excited about our association and our upcoming projects,” exclaimed Dr. Fischer, who earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Darmstadt University of Technology in Darmstadt, Germany. He was granted a US Patent for the development of new spark-ignited industrial engine emission-control technology, which meets the most stringent emission regulations of NOx < 0.15 g/bhp-hr.

Welcome to TTS, Dr. Fischer, where innovation and technology differentiates TTS Energy Services from the competition.

TTS Energy Services is the corporate parent for Turbine Technology Services (TTS) and Reciprocating Technology Services (RTS). TTS provides gas turbine technology expertise, turbine engineering and construction services worldwide. The company’s long history and experience providing technical solutions to global power generation entities makes it a leader in its field. TTS has successfully managed numerous gas turbine installations, modernization projects and supplied innovative and unique engineering solutions to vexing problems for gas turbine customers. RTS provides technical and field support for industrial power generation applications using reciprocating engines. Our field service technicians and engineers are seasoned in every aspect of reciprocating equipment, providing reliable services at any location, 24/7. In addition to repairs and diagnostics, the RTS team provides predictive and life-cycle maintenance to ensure maximum performance.

To learn more about TTS and RTS, please visit http://turbinetech.com/ and http://reciptech.com.