Release Date: April 26, 2000
|Studies Begin on Next Generation of Mid
Size Gas Turbines
DOE Hopes to Capitalize on Breakthrough in Larger Power-Generating Turbines
Aiming to extend the success it recently achieved with a new class of large utility-scale gas turbines, the Department of Energy has selected four proposals to begin studying ways to boost the performance of the next generation of mid-size electric power generating gas turbines.
The Energy Department has selected:
to begin examining innovations that could enhance the efficiency and environmental performance of gas turbines in the 30- to 200-megawatt range.
Earlier this year, the Energy Department announced a major "breakthough" gas turbine sized at 400 megawatts which will be capable of achieving world-record efficiencies and much cleaner operations than any large turbine in use today. Culminating almost eight years of research and development, the new turbine is the ideal size for future large natural gas-fueled power plants.
With the restructuring of the electric power industry, however, an increasing number of power companies are planning units in the 30- to 200-megawatt range. An Energy Department co-sponsored study forecasts that about half the U.S. demand for gas turbine systems through 2020 is likely to be for mid-size turbines suitable for both central and distributed power applications
Besides providing both steady electricity (baseload power) and meeting surges in power demand (peaking power), these smaller turbines might also be ideal for repowering aging coal plants, relieving congestion in the power transmission system, and providing electric power on board future naval vessels.
To achieve similar efficiency and environmental gains as it did for the larger turbines, the Energy Department - through its Office of Fossil Energy - will provide the four winning proposers with a total of $2.25 million to conduct early system studies of possible "next generation" turbine configurations. The companies will add another $1.24 million to the effort. The studies are expected to take 13 to 15 months.
The Department's goal is to increase the net system efficiency by 15 percent or more while reducing operations, maintenance and capital costs by at least 15 percent, compared to comparable size units operating today.
The Department also envisions these turbine systems to be used as power modules in its futuristic Vision 21 energy plant. Vision 21 is a concept for a fleet of virtually non-polluting advanced energy plants that would run on multiple fuels and produce a slate of clean liquids, chemicals and feedstocks, as well as electricity. Each of the system studies is required to describe how the proposed turbine would fit into a future Vision 21 plant.
The "next generation" turbine system development effort could follow a similar development path as the department's larger-scale advanced turbine systems program. Promising concepts could become the basis for more detailed engineering designs, component development and testing, and ultimately, the manufacturing of prototype machines. If the development effort is successful, the first "next generation" turbine systems could be ready for market entry around 2008. Integration of "next generation" technology into Vision 21 plants is planned in the 2010-2015 timeframe.
The four companies were selected from a competition begun by the Energy Department last December.
The winning proposers, which will be overseen by the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, WV, and Pittsburgh, PA, will carry out the following projects:
|Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646|