Italian Gas Power Plant Upgrade For GE

GE will install its Advanced Gas Path (AGP) technology for an upgrade in Edison’s Torviscosa power plant, Italy, that will increase total output by more than 6% and improve efficiency by around 1%. The project is expected to be executed within the end of the year.

Luigi Mottura, Thermo Power asset director at Edison, said the Torviscosa modernization project includes the upgrade of two existing GE 9F.03 gas turbines, which have a rated output of approximately 255 MW and an efficiency of 37% each. The overall output of the combined cycle plant, including the steam turbine, is about 780 MW with an efficiency of around 56%.

In 2018 GE successfully executed an AGP upgrade project at another Edison’s Italian plant – the Candela combined cycle power plant in the Apulia region – that exceeded expectations in terms of output and efficiency, with a reduction of up to 2 tons/hour of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, at the same level output.

“The AGP technology upgrade on the two gas turbines in Torviscosa is expected to lead to a reduction of up to 4 tons of CO2 emissions each hour, at the same output. The project, thanks to the increased efficiency, is in line with Edison’s plan to support Italy’s energy transition and reduce the specific CO2 emissions of its electricity generation park to 0.26 kg / kWh by 2030,” said Mottura.

Edison’s experience with the technology

According to Mottura, the experience with the Candela power plant was very positive considering that Edison had the chance to test the AGP technology with good results in different operating regimes and that has also been very useful to foresee some specific improvements for the Torviscosa project. “The relationship between Edison and GE is a long-standing collaboration that is renewed today to face the challenges of modernization of the plants to increase their performance in terms of efficiency while maintaining high environmental standards.

“Edison is always active in evaluating and putting in place modernization projects for its gas plants. In addition to the AGP projects, we started last year the realization of two new H class combined cycle plants in Italy that will be in operation in 2022 and will significantly increase the overall efficiency of our generation fleet,” he added. “One is in the North of Italy, in the Veneto region inside the Marghera industrial pole, and one in the South, in the Campania region at Presenzano. Edison’s strategy focuses on sustainable production, thanks to renewable energy supported by gas generation, the energy source indispensable for the coal phase-out and to provide the security of the Italian energy system.”

Mottura added that this kind of investments nowadays have medium- to long-term payback times depending on the evolution of very dynamic market conditions, but they are crucial to maintain the competitivity and sustainability of the plant for its entire lifetime.

GE’s AGP technology

Regarding the importance of the relationship with Edison, D&GTW talked to GE’s Davide Di Stasio, general manager Sales Europe Transactional Business and managing director GE Gas Power Italy. He said: “Our high-performing AGP solutions have been proven around the world for nearly a decade by improving gas plant performance and competitiveness to help meet growing power demands. AGP is delivering benefits on a global scale to our customers in mature power segments such as the United States and Western Europe, where efficiency, flexibility and fuel savings to lower emissions are crucial. At the same time, AGP is helping our customers in growing power segments like the Middle East, Africa, Asia, China and Eastern Europe, where they need more megawatts for industrial use and the grid.”

He explained that, over the past several years, GE’s AGP technology has been installed on more than 400 units across four GE gas turbine fleets – 6F, 7F, 9F, 9E -, generating over $700 million a year in benefits to power producers and the markets they serve in 39 countries on five continents.

“With AGP upgrades, GE 9F gas turbines can achieve up to an 8% output increase and up to a 2% efficiency increase, whereas GE’s 9E gas turbine operations with AGP upgrades have achieved up to a 6.2% output increase and up to a 1.7% efficiency increase.”

GE announced further developments last year, when the company expanded the availability of the AGP solution to a fifth fleet: the 6B. In addition, GE announced its first implementation of the solution globally in the cement industry: in Saudi Arabia where three 6B units were upgraded with this solution.

When asked about possible challenges with the execution of the Torviscosa project within the end of 2020, given the current pandemic situation, Di Stasio said: “GE’s number one priority is the health and safety of its employees and we have comprehensive crisis management, health & safety and business continuity plans along with trained professionals that cover multiple scenarios across the company. These plans undergo periodic evaluations to ensure the response profile continues to meet their needs. GE also flows down the requirement for business resiliency planning to our supply chain to mitigate upstream risks of disruption and we always comply with local requirements to provide a safe and secure workplace on our sites for all employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, and guests.

“We have partnered with our customers in the power sector to evaluate their maintenance schedules, propose preventive actions to mitigate any possible risks to their assets or downtime on the plant operations as a result of this pandemic.  Last week, we announced the successfully and safely completion of a very complex outage at Tirreno Power’s power plant in Civitavecchia, Italy, which started at the end of February and was completed amidst pandemic. We expect to complete the modernization of the two gas turbines at Edison’s Torviscosa power plant within the end of this year.”

The international power generation market

As for the international demand in the power generation business and possible forecasts for the rest of 2020 and 2021, Di Stasio commented that the importance and criticality of decarbonization cannot be over-emphasized today and gas power is an excellent complement to renewable energy as the world transitions to cleaner sources of power generation. Many countries are adopting aggressive goals to decarbonize power production, in Italy coal phase out is expected by 2025. However, supplies of renewable energy are typically intermittent in nature as sunshine, rain and wind speeds vary over the course of a day as well as across seasons and battery storage solutions remain expensive, often making them economically infeasible.

“Gas power technologies not only offer the flexibility to ramp power production up or down rapidly to meet potential gaps in energy supply from variable renewable sources and stabilize the grid but gas also presents the cleanest means to generate electricity from traditional fossil fuels,” said Di Stasio. “For example, globally, gas is about 50% less carbon-intensive (about 0.45 Mt CO2/TWh) than coal (about 0.95 Mt CO2/TWh). Today, we can also adapt gas turbines to burn clean resources such as hydrogen and GE is an industry leader in the use of hydrogen for power generation. More than 75 GE gas turbines have operated on low heating value fuels, including blends of hydrogen and natural gas, accumulating over 5 million operating hours.”

In terms of forecasts, Di Stasio said that while it is impossible to predict the future or provide broad commentary about the world’s recovery; what GE is focused on is supporting customers, executing critical outages as and when it is needed to do so, and continuing to help the electricity industry push forward and decarbonize.

“In Italy, GE has the country’s largest installed base of gas turbines, and GE’s technology powers one third of the country. We will continue to improve the operational performance of existing power generation sites and equipment with upgrade technologies, like AGP, able to enhance plant efficiency and sustainability, as we did with Edison, where at Candela power plant AGP technology helped reduce gas consumption by around 2% annually.”

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