TM2500 Restores Oil Refinery Power in Short Order
In September 2005, the Valero Energy Corporation experienced its first shutdown in decades when Hurricane Rita’s 125-mph winds and 8-foot storm surge left much of the plant under 2 feet of water.
With local power service unavailable, the refinery needed a temporary system to provide power in order to resume operations. Short-term power is typically furnished by hooking up 20.1 megawatt (MW) diesel generating sets—a time-consuming and complex installation that includes a transformer, cabling, fuel tanks, and hoses. Valero needed a simpler, smaller system that could be installed quickly and fit into a tight space.
TM2500 Steps In
GE supplied the refinery with a TM2500 gas turbine, a blackstart diesel generator, and an automatic transfer switch. The TM2500 was developed in part to meet demand from both oil and gas companies for temporary distributed power during planned maintenance, as well as unplanned shutdowns, such as those caused by natural disasters.
The TM2500 provides 22.5 MW and fits easily into four trailers, one a piece for the turbine-generator, inlet filter, exhaust and backup equipment, making it more powerful and much less sprawling than a cumbersome string of diesel generator sets.
Getting Back to Business as Usual In
The TM2500 trailer storage made the system easy to ship, and the seamless installation process allowed for quick onsite assembly with little foundation or prep work.
A fully operational TM2500 system was delivering auxiliary power just six days after Valero signed the contract. This considerably shrank the refinery’s downtime. Within a month after Rita passed through, the refinery had resumed production well before the local utility could restore permanent power to the site.