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How gas turbine power plants work?

How gas turbine power plants work?

In today’s day it has become more critical to dedicate the right resources in order to discover newer, more efficient and most importantly, more affordable ways to create energy. Even though the first version of a gas turbine was created in the year 50 AD, it became known as a major power production source just before the beginning of the 20th century. Since then gas turbines have seem more improved variations in order to provide reliable and more affordable energy to people around the world today.

Parts of a Gas Turbine

Gas turbines are difficult and complex to operate but there are 3 main important parts: the turbine, the compressor and the combustion system. Air is pulled into the engine with the help of the compressor after which the air is pressurized and sent into the combustion chamber at a high speed. Fuel injectors are used by the combustion system in order to insert natural gas into the combustion chamber. This results in temperatures of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and more. Ultimately, the combustion gas goes into the turbine where it makes the rotating blades spin which in-turn help the generator spin, thus producing huge amounts of electricity for the many energy segments. The same process again puts in more air into the compressor thus restarting the entire process.

Types of Gas Turbines

Most gas turbines operate in the same principal process but there are some differences among the two major versions of turbines which are aero derivative engines and heavy frame engines. One of the main differences is in the pressure ratio; this is the ratio between the inlet air pressure and the compressor discharge pressure. Aero derivative engines have a pressure ratio of 30 psi and upwards while heavy frame engines have a pressure ration of 20 psi and below. One of the other main differences is that aero derivative engines are more compact and is put to use when there is a low need of energy while heavy frame engines are big and can generate more power. But this also means that heavy frame engines have more emissions and hence should be designed differently to lower the emissions.

Heating and Cooling

Unless a gas turbine reached the desired temperature, it would be unable to create energy in an efficient way. Gas turbines have the capability of reaching to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature but there are numerous materials used in the making of the turbine that can’t sustain high levels of heat. To resolve this issue, the compressor air is used to cool the main parts of the turbine. While this may bring down the total efficiency of the turbine, a system upgrade would boost the shelf-life of the system.

Gas Turbine Controls

Since gas turbines have such a huge energy output, innovative control systems and solutions are necessary to make the process efficient and safe. Many innovative control systems can make and update the controls of analog electronic, relay and pneumatic and electro hydraulic type of control systems. The control system includes surge and capacity control, DCS interface and a graphic operator interface and turbine and compressor sequencing for the compressor drives. When it comes to generator drives, it includes synchronization and protection, complete turbine control and trending and data logging.

 Gas Turbine Uses

Different versions of gas turbines have been used by prominent people like Nikola Tesla, Sir Charles Parsons and Leonardo Da Vinci. Today gas turbines are commonly used in many fields today. The purpose of using gas turbines is to give a push to jet engines or for heavy power generation in tanks, locomotives, ships and helicopters. A small fraction of vehicles like motorcycles, cars and buses also make use of gas turbines.

Benefits of Gas Turbines

Every mean used to create energy may not be a 100 percent efficient but making use of gas turbines has numerous benefits. Gas production is cost efficient in a gas turbine thus giving way to a low operational cost as compared to generators. Gas turbines also have a lower downtime and operational failure rates. When a gas turbine uses natural gas, it produces less exhaust gas pollution as compared to internal combustion engines which in turn uses the surplus air for excess combustion.

While gas turbine provides an efficient and pocket friendly solution, it cannot function without a competent control system. To know more about MD&A Turbines and our gas turbine services, reach out to us here.

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