GE Power will deliver hardware and digital solutions to the Novel S.p.A’s combined-cycle cogeneration power plant in Novara, Northern Italy. The facility delivers electricity and steam to the nearby chemical plant of Radici Chimica, a company of Radici Group, which is one of the partners in the Novel’s joint venture together with Swiss electricity and energy services provider Alpiq.
Massimiliano Bignami, president of Novel SpA, explained that the plant dates back to the late 1990s and since then has operated to support the industrial processes of the nylon manufacturing plant of Radici Chimica.
“The cogeneration plant with one GE’s 6FA.01 gas turbine and one De Pretto DEKZ X-540 steam turbine has worked in baseload from the start. Thanks to the involvement of the trading companies of our shareholders—Alpiq, Energia Italia and Geoenergie, we have approached also the electricity dispatch market. Today, the plant in Novara delivers about 15% of its total 104 MW electricity output to the chemical plant, while the surplus is fed into the public grid.”
On the thermal side, the steam output of maximum 100 ton per hour is delivered entirely to Radici Chimica, which manages it among its own plant and a pool of other industrial plants in the area.
GE will upgrade the installed heavy-duty gas turbine with its Fleet360* total gas plant services to increase flexibility and to improve power output and efficiency. The turbine’s combustion system will be replaced with GE’s DLN 2.6 combustion system and with the latest Mark* VIe control system. GE’s scope of supply will also include the Asset Performance Management (APM). APM is a software application designed to increase asset reliability and availability while reducing maintenance costs. The Machine Health module provides a unified, complete and accurate view of the asset, while the Reliability module predicts and accurately diagnoses issues, responding before they negatively impact assets’ state, status and health. The solution provides 24/7 remote monitoring from GE’s global Monitoring & Diagnostics Center in Atlanta, Ga., U.S.A.
“There are a few key reasons that made us decide for this upgrade project with GE Power,” said Bignami. “One is emissions, since with the new DLN 2.6 combustion system we will keep NOx and CO emissions within a limit of 30 mg/Nm3, that is well below the current local legislation with 50 mg/Nm3.
“Another reason is flexibility, as we will be able to reduce gas turbine turn down from 70 to 38% optimizing plant dispatching capabilities and improving margins on the Italian ancillary services market (MSThe cogeneration power plant of Novel S.p.A. in Northern Italy delivers 104 MW of electricity, partly to a nearby chemical plant with the balance being fed into the public grid. D). The gas turbine power output will be increased by 3% and heat rate by 0.5%. Efficiency will be improved in terms of fuel consumption, as well as in maintenance costs since outage intervals will extend from the standard 8 000 fired hours to 24 000.”
Bignami also remarked that the age of the plant was considered in the decision, since some components had reached the point when replacement was required in any case.
Francesco Marinozzi, Alpiq’s head of O&M Italy, summarized the interventions that are included in the modernization project: “Besides the replacement of the current gas turbine control system with a new Mark Vle model, we will also change the control of the steam turbine. The valve skid is in for replacement as well, together with the air filtration package for the gas turbine, where we will move to an ultra-filtration system. Finally, we have included the purchase of some replacement parts from GE power, to be kept in stock at Novel.”
The project is expected to be carried out in late summer, with the outage forecasted to start in September 2019. The contractual limit for the upgrade is 33 days, which includes 25 days for the overhaul, seven for commissioning and one for the final testing.
Mario Cincotta, Product Enhancements & Multi Year Agreements general manager at GE’s Power Services in Europe, emphasized the importance GE puts in continuous innovation. An attitude which is essential but at the same time not easy to carry out in the current market situation, where volatility is the rule.
“The cogeneration market is a key application field for us, and one where flexibility is an especially welcomed opportunity,” he said. “However, flexibility is a trend we see across the whole gas power generation industry.
“The DLN 2.6 combustion system is key to reach higher efficiency and flexibility with our gas turbines. This is a technology embedded in the H-class gas turbine portfolio as well, especially to improve performance at lower loads.”
According to Michael Rechsteiner, CEO of GE’s Power Services business in Europe: “Today, additional flexibility to decouple steam production from power production is ‘the’ trend in cogeneration applications at combined-cycle plants. Novel’s choice to upgrade its gas turbine with GE’s APM software solution and DLN 2.6 pre-combustor system should be considered an industry best practice.”