Category: Turbine


Grid Transformation Trends

Changes are happening very quickly in the electric power industry, flexibility, efficiency and predictive maintenance are keys to increasing reliability

Transformation… a thorough or dramatic change in form. This is precisely what is happening to the energy industry, often taking place way too fast for operators to keep up. The uncertainties keep growing, and the ramifications are challenging. Here are some of the trends that are challenging utilities in the transformation of the grid:

Turndown Ratio and Optimizing Combustion Dynamics

Wind and solar generation output varies significantly over hours to days. This intermittency and variability of wind and solar power generation presents challenges for grid operators to maintain stable and reliable grid operation, especially where renewable power is given dispatch priority (example: Western states, notably California), requiring flexibility and efficiency in operating gas turbines so that the system can respond quickly to fluctuations, outages, and grid support obligations.

Meeting this challenge is achieved by operating a central power plant so that they maintain their connection to the grid but run at part-load, enabling them the ability to rapidly respond to the rapidly changing demands on the system network. Thus, the optimization of the turndown ratio has become a trend among operators. Optimizing the combustion system allows the gas turbine to run at a reduced load (as low as 25 percent) without exceeding emission limits. Optimizing the combustion system is a valuable feature because it means the plant can remain online during times of high output from wind farms and solar arrays.

Turbine Technology Services offers DynaFlex Performance™ -Extended Load Turndown in Mode 6, providing more operational flexibility, less unit cycling.

Many 7FA DLN-2.6 turbines are commissioned with only 60 percent load turndown. We maximize turndown while also maintaining emissions compliance. Besides increasing operational flexibility, combined-cycle plants can avoid overnight shutdowns, reducing start/stop cycles and extending hardware life.

7FA gas turbines in 2-on-1 combined-cycle configurations incur increased life cycle costs if subject to load demand that requires one unit to be cycled offline frequently. One way to reduce the need for unit cycling is to enable the individual gas turbines —and, in turn, the combined cycle block as a whole —to turndown to a lower load.

Earlier vintage DLN-2.6 combustion systems were designed to operate with a “lean-PM1” split schedule in Mode 6, the low emissions (NOx and CO) operating mode. With the lean-PM1 operation, load turndown in Mode 6 is typically in the range of 50-60%, depending on ambient temperature, part-load control curve configuration and the thoroughness of DLN tuning at the low end of Mode 6. Below this load range,combustors with lean-PM1 split schedules will start to generate increased CO emissions, pushing them out of emissions compliance.

More recently, GE developed a new operational configuration employing “rich-PM1” split schedules. In Mode 6, rich-PM1 operation enables the combustion system to turndown to lower loads than the lean-PM1 system without experiencing increases in CO emissions. Typically, units employing rich-PM1 operation can achieve nominally 40% load turndown before CO emissions begin to increase.

Older units with lean-PM1 split schedules can be modified to operate with rich-PM1 split schedules and thereby achieve increased load turndown. This operational modification involves making changes to control logic but does not include any hardware adjustments. A complete retuning of the combustion system throughout the Mode 6 load range must also be performed.

Start/Stop Cycles

As mentioned, the energy industry is increasingly embracing renewables; one very impactful trend is emerging: gas turbine operators are having to multi-start machines, sometimes as often as twice a day. Multi-starting has become the new norm with 10-minute ramp-up periods. It is not uncommon to hear that some operators are having over 500 starts per year.

Vintage gas turbines were designed for operating with minimal starts. But with the grid transformation, multi-starting is putting high-integrity components through multiple strain cycles. Making assumptions that components can withstand these requirements based on the generalization that the increased number of starts is equivalent to a defined number of operating hours is at best optimistic, and at worst potentially dangerous for parts management.

In traditional use, the dominant failure process for hot components was “creep.” Therefore, they were designed using creep-resistant alloys. In this new era of multi-starts, the components experience high thermal transients during startup, and together with ever-shortening ramp-up times and increasing operating cycles, many operators have seen significant detrimental effects on the hot component’s integrity. For example, one operator we talked with recently related an incident during an inspection where a fuel nozzle that passed inspection just eight months earlier, he could now put his index finger into the opening.

Keeping track of as many as 500 starts per year and the fired factored hours has become a nightmare. And, no amount of skills in managing Excel spreadsheets will be adequate in suppressing downtime and keeping the equipment reliable.

If either of these trends are affecting you and the management of your gas turbines, contact an expert at TTS…we can help.

Turbine Technology Services offers Lodestar Turbine Parts Management™ -Predictive Maintenance Software Designed for Component Life & Outage Tracking of Gas Turbines Parts

Lodestar automates the capture and presentation of historical data and calculation of remaining critical parts life into a user-friendly interface. These features allow users to:

  • Significantly improve critical part management.
  • Increase maintenance personnel productivity.
  • Reduce overall maintenance costs.
  • Minimize outage downtime and delays.
  • Share unit information with key service personnel.

Lodestar provides service and maintenance managers, procurement managers, site personnel and fleet owners a very clear picture of what parts are driving upcoming outage decisions and the full range of parts repair/replace options currently available within the fleet.

The Lodestar scenario builder tool allows users to simulate different unit operating scenarios, including stop/start cycles to predict the impact on parts life and to optimize outage planning decisions.

Turbine Technology Services Partners with Voith Establishing Actuator Test Stand

New Workshop at TTS Houston Facility Provides Greater Convenience to Voith’s Local Oil & Gas Clients

Houston, TX (09/04/2018) – Turbine Technology Services (TTS) and Voith recently joined forces to add an actuator, governor and turbomachinery (AGT) test stand at the TTS Houston facility. This development brings a support network of trained technicians to the Houston area, offering greater convenience for Voith’s local oil & gas clients.

TTS opened its facility in Houston in 2016 in conjunction with its sister company Reciprocating Technology Services (RTS). RTS has been working closely with Voith in a joint development effort to provide a new starting technology for large reciprocating engines that provide zero emissions and many other benefits.

“We loved the idea of bringing Voith into our shop,” said Frank Hoegler, TTS Vice President. “This partnership provides us the opportunity for a closer relationship with Voith and its Houston-area customers. What’s great is that TTS doesn’t compete with Voith, but we share a lot of mutual clients, so it’s a win-win situation for us and our customers.”

The AGT test stand has been up-and-running for over a month, explained Thad Berry, sales account manager at Voith Digital Solutions, Inc.

“We’ve had people knocking on our door since day one,” Berry said. “Having a local, certified team of trained technicians means a lot to our Houston customers. They want a local support network that understands the actuators and their applications with the proper equipment, tools, and expertise to perform critical maintenance and emergency repairs.”

Berry continued, “Actuators can be delivered directly from the field to Voith and its trained technicians – reducing the workload and time involved with shipping. That, in turn, means that repairs and maintenance can be completed faster, allowing for shorter outages.”

About TTS

As part of the TTS Energy Services portfolio that includes Reciprocating Technology Services, TTS is an OEM alternative that offers agility, innovation and experience delivering industry leading aftermarket parts, modernization, optimization, upgrading and custom services for our power generation clients. With over 35 years of experience providing technical solutions in the power generation and gas compression industry, TTS has managed hundreds of gas turbine installations and modernization projects. Based in Orlando, Florida, our team of 40+ engineering professionals has traveled millions of miles to over 90 countries serving more than 400 clients.

About Voith

Voith is a global technology group. With its wide range of plants, products, services, and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets for energy, oil and gas, paper, raw materials, and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, Voith today has more than 19,000 employees and earns $4.7 billion in sales. It has locations in over 60 countries and is one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. For more information, visit www.voith.com.

Contact Information:

Scott Muster, Marketing Director, TTS Energy Services
9848 Windfern Rd Houston, TX 77064
TTSEnergyServices.com
832-341-9341
smuster@TTSEnergyServices.com

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.”

Turbine Technology Services Showcases Fast Start at 2016 7EA Users Groups Annual Conference

Industry-leading gas turbine technology company provides flexible enhancements for gas turbines

Turbine Technology Services, a world leader in 7EA gas turbine expertise and technology, will be showcasing its Fast Start program at the 2016 7EA Users Groups Annual Conference at booth #45 from November 1 – 3 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Gas turbine plants are challenged to provide the necessary fast response to maintain grid stability. TTS’ Fast Start program helps power plants reach full load for power generation in as little as just a few minutes. This flexibility can be applied to units through major upgrades or routine enhancements. TTS consults with clients about the unit’s capabilities and then recommends the appropriate strategies to achieve fast start on their turbines.

“TTS has an array of products and services targeted to the 7EA market,” said Pat Begley, TTS Vice President. “We are excited about the opportunity to discuss our Fast Start program with the 7EA attendees because by integrating this program, power plants will have the ability to change output rapidly, start and stop with short notice, and achieve a low minimum turn-down level.”

The 7EA Users Groups Annual Conference attracts industry leaders, engineers, operators and innovative thinkers from around the world. Attendees use this time to discuss ideas and solutions for 7EA gas turbine best practices, problems, upgrades, challenges and solutions.

TTS provides gas turbine technology expertise and turbine engineering and construction services worldwide. The company’s experience and ability to provide technical solutions has led to the successful management of numerous gas turbine installations and modernization projects, and the provision of innovative and unique engineering solutions to gas turbine customers.

To explore the full benefits of Fast Start, visit TTS at booth #45 during the 2016 7EA Users Groups Annual Conference. Mention Fast Start at the booth to collect an exclusive HomingPIN.

To learn more about the program, visit http://www.ttsfaststart.com/7ea/.

Turbine Technology Services Introduces LODESTAR™ Turbine Parts Management

Industry-leading gas turbine technology company launches new software to increase performance

Turbine Technology Services (TTS), an industry-leading gas turbine technology company, introduces LODESTAR™ Parts Management, a new software that gathers and organizes large amounts of plant operational and unit component life data, then presents that data in actionable reports.

“Lodestar is defined as a star that shows the way,” said Dave May, Parts Group Manager for TTS. “Our new software guides the management of turbine parts. LODESTAR is an easy-to-use, cloud-based software empowering users to make informed decisions and accurately plan.”

LODESTAR tracks the full maintenance history and calculates remaining component useful life using online operational data, inspection data, TILs, and component life standards and experience. The software provides tools that manipulate this data to eliminate operational surprises including:

  • Simulator-based future planning (“what if” scenarios).
  • Graphical representation of maintenance timelines.
  • Cost and value reports and budget planning.

“We project that digital systems and processes like LODESTAR will generate 16 percent cost savings,” said Tony Thornton, President of TTS. “With today’s budget sensitivity, that is significant.”

Cost savings aren’t the only driver for adoption, additional benefits include:

  • Accommodates a more fluid workforce. LODESTAR is licensed by the unit and not by the seat. Train the entire maintenance team at no additional cost.
  • Provides consistent data visibility to all stakeholders.
  • Improves levels of innovation and transparency through sophisticated forecasting models.
  • Allows engagement in an ecosystem with technology partners.
  • Provides a clearer picture of parts life, minimizing unplanned downtime.

By weaving systems, data and people together, LODESTAR creates solutions that increase performance across many levels.

Accenture research indicates that nearly 90 percent of utilities anticipate that technological advances will rapidly and significantly change the industry over the next three years. The industry is now poised to take advantage of emerging technologies with LODESTAR.

TTS has the engineering expertise and over thirty years’ experience providing support and counsel to help client’s make LODESTAR an integral part of their gas turbine’s parts management platform. Follow the star to better decision making and planning.

Explore the in-depth capabilities of LODESTAR and TTS by visiting www.ttslodestar.com.

Outage Kits for Convenience and Cost Control

In our outage kits, you pay only for the parts you use.

Consumables are typically 10% of a gas turbine’s maintenance costs. That’s a significant number in the budget in of itself, but greater still are the associated soft and hard costs for placing multiple PO’s to multiple vendors, receiving, identifying and logging hundreds of small parts into inventory, storage costs, stocking excess inventory and inventory holding costs. … [Read More]

CyberSecurity: “The single biggest threat out there is cyber.”

7F Users Group Conference: CyberSecurity… Options for Gas Turbine Control Systems

Turbine Technology Services (TTS)  is delivering a presentation at the 7F Users Group Annual Conference being held in Orlando, FL, May 9-13 that is focused on the compliance and threat issues that gas turbine control systems face. “In the past, many owners and operators haven’t focused very much on security and staying current with their cyber assets.” Said David Donnaruma, Project Engineer, TTS. … [Read More]

Establishing Cybersecurity Compliance Position to Support Power Plant Customer NERC/FERC Requirements

Turbine Technology Services adds cybersecurity compliance support to its existing suite of plant control system design and support services. 

(ORLANDO, FLORIDA) —Turbine Technology Services (TTS), a full-service turbine engineering firm based in Orlando, Florida, is solidifying its focus on supporting customer cybersecurity compliance efforts by appointing Mark Ring as its Senior Compliance Coordinator. … [Read More]

Presenting on Gas Turbine Fuel Flexibility at 2014 7EA Users Group Annual Conference

TTS will speak on the needs and applications of gas turbine fuel flexibility at the upcoming conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Our Senior Combustion Engineer, Mitch Cohen, will present at the 2014 7EA Users Group Annual Conference. The conference takes place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (in the greater Nashville area) from October 21 through October 23 at the Embassy Suites Nashville SE-Murfreesboro. Cohen will speak to users and select vendors about “Operational Versatility for your Gas Turbine with Fuel Flexibility” the morning of Thursday, October 23 at 8:00 a.m.

… [Read More]