GE Introduces New HA Gas Turbine
By Jack Burke02 October 2019
GE introduced its latest evolution of its HA gas turbines, the 7HA.03, the first of which will power Florida Power & Light Co.’s (FPL) Dania Beach Clean Energy Center near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Retaining a common architecture and heritage of GE’s HA gas turbine platform, the 7HA.03 for the 60-hertz market offers 430 MW, up to 134 more MW than GE’s 7HA.02 gas turbine (2×1 CC), while increasing efficiency by 0.4% more than the 7HA.02 saving an estimated US$0.9 M per year for US-based power plant operators, the company said. GE said the 7HA.03 turbine achieves >64% net combined cycle efficiency.
The new turbine’s technology also reflects the growing impact of renewable energy, said Amit Kulkarni, H-Class product leader.
“What’s driving the change in how the units operate is a pretty huge change compared to how we thought they would operate,” Kulkarni said. “So units are a lot more cyclical, right…They’re becoming more complementary to renewables depending on how many MW of wind and solar you’re putting on the grid.”
That meant GE wanted to figure out how to design the turbines to be more flexible, which introduced different kinds of design philosophies into the machine, Kulkarni said.
“Creep, fatigue, all of those factors are different depending on baseload versus cycling. So we started looking at that with an installed base, I would say in the last 10 years,” he said. “So that philosophy went into the design that was done with the engineering together with us as product management where you said flexibility is going to key in the market in the future because even though these are big machines, they will require a fast ramp, they will require a lot more fuel flexibility. And that’s really what we’re bringing into this platform. We have the flexibility already with our 7HA.03 and this is going to take it to the next level. So we are going to be looking at full GT load in 10 minutes–that’s the fastest rep, close to 75 MW per minute.”
In most respects, the 7HA.03 gas turbine is an evolution of the company’s H-Class platform, but offers substantial improvements in three key areas: greater capacity and performance, enhanced flexibility, and lower capital costs and installation time, Kulkarni said.
“One of the things that we focused heavily on the last few years is what we call the modularization, packaging of not only the gas turbine and the centralized components, but also the BOP component, so it becomes a lot easier on the field to manage the installation and commissioning,” Kulkarni said. “Think of it as more of a plug-and-play kind of option where the interconnect piping that you would do, which are very customized in previous years become somewhat standardized and that reduces the installation time for the EPC and hence for the customers. So that’s one of the key areas that we focused on.
The 7HA.03 offers several features pulled from other HA designs, including a larger titanium R1 blade will enable greater airflow and output, as well as the adoption of GE’s DLN 2.6e combustion system—the first time used on a GE 60-hertz gas turbine. The DLN 2.6e is designed to offer higher firing temperatures while maintaining emissions compliance.
“We actually started developing this technology back in almost 15 years ago now with, which was a joint program with the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Tom Driesbach, H-Class product manager, who noted that hydrogen as fuel “was big” even back then. “We were looking for way to burn hydrogen and this combustion technology. This pre-mixing technology was really what came out of that program and there’s a number of benefits to having this pre-mixer on the machine.”
One benefit is operating flexibility; The unit can be dropped from its 430 MW capability down to about 130 MW and anywhere in between and maintain emissions compliance, Driesbach said.
“If you saw demand going down, or a lot of generation from renewables, you’d be able to run the machine down to 15% load and park it there,” Driesbach said.
That would also give the operator the flexibility to ramp that machine back up if there was an increase in demand or the wind stopped or the sun and stop shining, he said.
The new turbine can burn up to 50% hydrogen by volume and Driesbach said GE sees a pathway to 100% hydrogen capability.
“Our HA’s popularity and operational momentum for our customers around the world is something GE is very proud of, and we are thrilled to introduce the next industry leader for 60-hertz locations,” said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE’s Gas Power business. “This latest evolution of our HA technology will be launched at FPL’s Dania Beach facility, and we look forward to providing power plant operators globally—especially in the Americas and Asia—with the benefits of this incredible turbine.”
FPL’s Dania Beach Clean Energy Center—located in Broward County, Florida—is expected to achieve more than US$300 million in net savings for FPL customers over the life of the project, as well as significant reductions in air emissions through the replacement of older generating technologies, the companies said. In fact, the efficiency of the Dania Beach facility will enable FPL to reduce its system-wide use of natural gas.
“At FPL, we’re committed to delivering reliable energy, and as part of our longstanding program of modernizing our fleet of power-generating facilities, we are replacing an aging power plant with a new, highly efficient energy center using GE’s latest gas technology,” said Bill Yeager, executive vice president of Engineering, Construction & Integrated Supply Chain at FPL. “By utilizing the most advanced, most-efficient gas turbine in GE’s 60-hertz fleet, the 7HA.03 gas turbine, the FPL Dania Beach Clean Energy Center will allow FPL to continue delivering to customers the affordable energy they expect from us 24/7 to power their homes and businesses.”
GE’s fleet of HA gas turbines has surpassed more than 415,000 operating hours and secured 100 unit orders from 40 customers in 18 countries—GE recently announced its 100th HA unit order for the Agios Nikolaos Power Plant in Greece. Currently, the 40 HA units in commercial operation globally are supplying 18 GW of power, the equivalent electricity needed to power more than 13.5 million US homes.