Novel Gas Turbine Challenges to Support the Clean Energy Transition
- Excellent operational flexibility and maintainability;
- Relatively low investment costs;
- High electrical efficiencies.
- Mechanical: Pumped Hydro (PHS), Compressed Air (CAES), and Flywheel (FES);
- Electromechanical: Secondary Battery Lead-acid/NaS/Li-ion and Flow Battery;
- Electrical: Capacitor/Supercapacitor and Superconducting Magnetic (SMES);
- Thermochemical: Solar fuels and Solar hydrogen;
- Chemical: Hydrogen and Fuel cell/Electrolyzer;
- Thermal: Sensible/latent heat storage.
- Increase in starts;
- Fewer operating hours;
- More part load hours and load transients;
- Change for hot starts to cold starts;
- Shift to unpredictable and new load regimes.
- Lower efficiency due to the continuous start–stops and ramping;
- Cost increases;
- Shorter equipment life;
- Higher maintenance requirements.
2. Renewables and Flexibility Needs
- Penetration levels (as a ratio of peak load) of gas turbine-combined gas cycle (CCGT);
- Combined heat and power (CHP);
- Pumped hydropower;
- Hydroelectric power plants (Hydro);
- Daily needs are primarily driven by Photo Voltaic (PV) generation;
- Weekly needs are triggered through wind power generation, rather than PV;
- Annual needs are determined by seasonal variation in demand across the year and are dependent on the share of RESs. The type of RES has a major impact on the imbalance of the residual load between the seasons. In this case, the difference in the case of PV and wind energies can be significant. The summer season with peak PV production correlates with low consumption. In comparison, the winter where wind energy peaks, correlates with high demands. Therefore, annual flexibility need is less impacted as a result of increased wind shares. As a rule, a mix of two (or more) renewable sources would be desired as demonstrated by : “Combination of different renewable-based sources such as PV and wind is very helpful for the reliability of the system”.
3. Present GT Lifing Criteria
- Fast start: depending on the gas turbine design, a fast start can typically be around 15 min from ignition to full load. General Electric (GE) specifies a peaking fast start, which for some units such as 7F.03 is less than 15 min and carries some maintenance factors due to increased thermal gradients in the rotor as reported by Beagle et al. .
- Peak load: the operation above base load, achieved by increasing the turbine inlet temperature (TIT).
- Hot, warm, and cold starts: these refer to the start-up, after a period of shutdown including less than 8, 8–48, and more than 48 h standstill (and cooling), respectively .
- Part load: is the operation below base load achieved by varying the fuel flow rate and the modulation of the inlet guide vane (IGV) in certain designs. The purpose of the air flow rate modulation is to enhance the heat recovery performance, thus increasing the combined cycle efficiency by maintaining a high turbine exhaust temperature .
- Flex start: during (faster) start-up and loading, specific modulations of the exhaust temperature and exhaust flows are allowed to limit the transient temperature effects imposed by the steam cycle (for combined cycle plants).
- Cycling: refers to the operation of electric-generating units at varying load levels, including on/off, load following, and minimum load operation, in response to changes in system load requirements.
- Hour-Based Factors: fuel type, peak load, and diluent (water or steam injection).
- Start-Based Factors: start type (conventional or fast peaking), start load (max. load achieved during a start cycle, e.g., part, base, or peak load), and shutdown type (normal cooldown, rapid cooldown, or trip).
4. Operational Flexibility Effects on GT Components
4.1. Fatigue–Creep Interaction
4.2. Thermal Mechanical Fatigue
4.3. Partial Load Operations
- Degradation of materials and coatings from cyclic-based loading and sustained transients such as increasing amounts of fatigue damage due to more frequent starts, load fluctuations, and faster loading ramp-ups;
- Inadequate inspection intervals primarily for combustion, expander parts, seals, and bearings;
- Lack of reliable lifing criteria for the most critical components such as the rotor and expander blades;
- Reduced reliability of high-temperature metallic and ceramic protective coatings.
5. New Limits
- Star–stop cycles;
- Reaction time;
- Low fixed and variable cost;
- Start-up capability;
- Operation range.
- Shorter start-up time and lower start-up costs: This is since shorter start-up times enable the plant to quickly reach full load and significantly improves the operational flexibility. The costs associated with the start-ups include more frequent maintenance and additional fuel consumption.
- Lower minimum load and improved part-load efficiency: Operating thermal plants at lower loads increases the bandwidth of their operation, increasing flexibility. Most thermal power plants experience a drastic reduction in their fuel efficiency at low loads, and therefore improving this is an important element of increasing flexibility.
- Higher ramp rate: The rate at which a plant can change its net power during operation is defined as the ramp rate. With higher ramp rates, the plant can quickly alter its production in line with system needs.
- Shorter minimum uptime and runtime: Reducing the minimum time that the plant must be kept running after start-up or remain closed after shutdown allows a plant to react more rapidly.
- Fast startup and loading;
- Daily or weekly start/stop cycles;
- Variable peak loads and part loads while maintaining emissions compliance;
- Flexible start and loading strategies (temperature and flow) for steam cycle optimization;
- Fuel flexibility (natural gas and hydrogen mixtures and syngas);
- Standby and peak shaving units;
- Others, such as extended cold standby periods followed by fast starts.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Farhat, H.; Salvini, C. Novel Gas Turbine Challenges to Support the Clean Energy Transition. Energies 2022, 15, 5474. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15155474
Farhat H, Salvini C. Novel Gas Turbine Challenges to Support the Clean Energy Transition. Energies. 2022; 15(15):5474. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15155474Chicago/Turabian Style
Farhat, Hiyam, and Coriolano Salvini. 2022. "Novel Gas Turbine Challenges to Support the Clean Energy Transition" Energies 15, no. 15: 5474. https://doi.org/10.3390/en15155474