With an efficiency of more than 60 percent and highest operating flexibility, Siemens sets global records in combined cycle power plant technology
Ten years after launching the ambitious innovation program for a new generation of gas turbines, Siemens has now achieved a new world record in power plant efficiency with its H-class gas turbine at the Irsching 4 power plant. With an output of more than 578 megawatts (MW) at an efficiency level of 60.75%, Siemens has markedly surpassed the targeted efficiency mark of "more than 60%" during the test phase, making history in the field of power plant technology.
The new Siemens gas turbine is designed for 400 MW in simple cycle duty and for 600 MW in combined cycle duty. In combined cycle duty, a single turbine of the model SGT5-8000H generates enough power to supply the energy needs of a major city like Berlin with 3.5 million inhabitants. Compared to the solutions currently installed in combined-cycle power plants, the new generation of Siemens gas turbines consumes one-third less natural gas per generated kilowatt-hour and emits one-third less CO2. "These are historic dimensions and world record levels", declared Michael Suess, CEO of Siemens Energy Sector. Siemens not only left all current records with regard to output and efficiency far behind, but also raised the bar for operating flexibility.
"In particular with more wind and solar plants providing a steadily increasing percentage of fluctuating power infeed to the grid, rapidly reacting large-scale power plants that can compensate for weather-dependent infeed fluctuations are a decisive factor for maintaining grid stability. Our trail-blazing power plant with this gas turbine in the highest efficiency class impressively shows that climate protection and low-cost power generation using fossil fuels can go hand in hand", Suess continued. The new H-class plant can quickly react to the demands for additional or reduced output. More than 500 MW can be put online in the space of only 30 minutes and the load can by varied by 35 MW per minute.
This top-notch performance is made possible by the perfect interaction between innovative gas turbine technology and the key components of the overall plant, which are optimized for high temperatures and pressure. Consisting of more than 7,000 individual parts, each turbine in the 50-Hertz-version weighs as much as a fully fueled Airbus A380. Temperatures inside the combustion chamber reach up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. Turning at more than 1,700 kilometers an hour, some parts of the turbine blades achieve the speed of sound when in operation. In turbine technology, the letter “H” stands for the highest efficiency and output rating class currently available. “The Irsching 4 power plant is a prime example of ecofriendly, flexible power supply for the future,” said Klaus Hammer, COO of E.ON, with responsibility for combined cycle power plants. “High-efficiency, flexible gas turbine power plants like Irsching 4 and the Irsching 5 plant, which went on line in 2010, significantly help to compensate the increasingly pronounced fluctuations in the feed-in of renewables-based power and thus make an important contribution toward assured power supply in Germany,” added Hammer.
More than 750 Siemens employees, including 250 engineers, were involved in development of the new gas turbine and the new combined cycle plant. Siemens invested more than EUR500 million in turbine development and in the construction and operation of a prototype plant in Irsching, Bavaria. For one and a half years Siemens put the gas turbine through its paces there. As of mid-2009, following successful trial operation the gas turbine plant was extended to form a combined cycle facility by adding a bottoming steam cycle featuring an innovative Siemens heat-recovery steam generator and a Siemens high-temperature steam turbine operating at 600° Celsius to create the most efficient combined cycle plant in the world. Upon completion of the trial operation phase that is now underway, E.ON will take over commercial operation of Irsching 4 this summer.
In addition to the combined cycle plant in Irsching 4, Siemens has already sold six of the new gas turbines as 60-Hz versions to a utility in Florida. The first machines for this order are already in production and will be dispatched to the customer in 2012. Siemens also received an order from South Korea to build a further turnkey single-shaft combined cycle power plant featuring the 60-Hz version the new gas turbine. This plant is scheduled to go online in 2013.
High-efficiency combined cycle power plants are part of Siemens’ Environmental Portfolio. In fiscal 2010, revenue from the Portfolio totaled about EUR28 billion, making Siemens the world’s largest supplier of ecofriendly technologies. In the same period, our products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 270 million tons, an amount equal to the total annual CO2 emissions of the megacities Hong Kong, London, New York, Tokyo, Delhi and Singapore.