GE Travels New Path

GE’s Power Services business introduced its Enhanced Steam Path (ESP) upgrade solution designed to help utilities and industrial operators boost the efficiency and output of their existing combined-cycle power plants.

The ESP upgrade solution for D-10 and D-11 steam turbines operating in Europe and other 50-hertz regions represents the first integration of steam turbine technologies of GE and Alstom Power, which GE acquired in November 2015. The new solution was announced during POWER-GEN Europe 2016, the European power generation industry’s annual conference in Milan.

“The global financial disruption that began in 2009 reduced the electricity demands of many European industrial customers, creating an even more competitive sector on a capacity basis with existing power plants,” said GE’s Paul McElhinney, president and CEO of GE’s Power Services business. “As a result, utilities are seeking new ways to increase the flexibility of their older, baseload combined-cycle stations to allow them to respond more quickly to changing grid demands. We are pleased to introduce our new ESP solution that combines GE and Alstom’s steam turbine technology for the first time to help operators improve the performance of their power plants.”

GE said the ESP solution for 50-hertz applications builds on the success the company has found with its initial ESP solution for D-11 steam turbines in 60-hertz regions, which the company introduced in the U.S. in December 2015. The latest ESP incorporates an integrated HP/IP steam path with advanced aerodynamic, thermodynamic and mechanical design including a welded rotor construction for improved reliability.

With the latest ESP solution, GE said it now offers utilities a greater selection of options to help increase the efficiency, reliability and availability of their existing steam turbines. The new ESP can also be combined with GE’s legacy Shell Warming System and OpFlex Agility. The Shell Warming System is designed to promote faster steam turbine start times by helping eliminate cold starts and improve warm starts. The OpFlex Agility digital controls system also enables faster starts for steam turbines while enhancing predictive condition monitoring in order to balance combined-cycle start time needs with steam turbine life goals, the company said.

According to GE, the ESP solution greatly reduces the risk of outage extension for repairs to the HP/IP steam path, helps extend turbine life with new rotor and diaphragms and delivers over 2% increase in steam turbine output (in the same bottoming cycle) from recovery of aging losses and improved technology.

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