Welcome to gas turbine boot camp:
Where only the most powerful and efficient survive
Apr 28, 2016
The 7HA gas turbine may only need 10 minutes to start up to full power, but it took over 5 months of rigorous testing for GE to prove its status of most efficient advanced 60 Hz gas turbine with industry-leading operating flexibility. That’s because during that time, GE engineers put a 7HA.01 through the intense process of validation testing. We’re not talking just any tests… our heavy metal gets put through the wringer to prove its worth for our customers.
Gas turbine boot camp takes place at GE Power’s advanced full-speed, full-load test facility in Greenville, SC. This validation testing allows GE to push its engines to extreme limits--conditions that a typical turbine may not experience in the field--understanding the true capabilities, mapping operational boundaries, and fine-tuning hardware prior to commercial operation.
“This approach was already proven on the Advanced Compressor 7F.05 and 9HA.01 turbines. Both engines have been commissioned in the field and have demonstrated exceptional performance, operability, and reliability because of our rigorous testing,” said Jon Truitt, 7HA.01 product manager.
Before testing even began, it took our engineers 12 weeks to install and prep the 7HA.01. That’s equivalent to an entire university semester. So while some were studying to be a mechanical engineer, others were putting their craft to work.
After the turbine was installed in the test stand and roughly 4,500 sensors attached, the off-grid three-step validation testing commenced, assessing the gas turbine’s performance and capabilities.
First, the turbine was put through its normal operation, demonstrating unfired part speed, progressing to first fire and loaded speed sweeps to validate aeromechanics. Second, performance and aerodynamics mapping followed with combustion mapping to optimize fuel splits, mode transfers, and overall combustor operability. The turbine’s operability characteristic was then demonstrated to include fast start, fast ramp, grid code compliance and load rejection. Lastly, the testing concluded with growth testing to include a maximum flow test and a future combustion demonstration.
Overall, testing was a huge success, exceeding expected targets in many areas. “We are really excited with the results we saw as they relate to performance output and heat rate; operating flexibility start time, ramp rate and turndown; and the fuel capability doubled the Modified Wobbe Index (MWI),” said Guy Deleonardo, general manager of utility scale products.
The rigorous testing on the 7HA.01 provided invaluable learnings on the individual gas turbine components as well as the complete system. The GE team made minor hardware modifications to optimize the engine and validated these adjustments during the full speed, full load testing. Modifications were then implemented on production units shipping to customer sites..
To date, 35 total HA units have been ordered for use in power plants being planned globally. GE’s Greenville facility is currently manufacturing over twenty 7HA turbines for customer sites worldwide, from Japan and Korea to the United States.