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Aeroderivative Gas Turbines

LM2500 to LM2500+DLE
Gas Turbine Combined Cycle
Plant Repowering

Michael T. McCarrick
GE Energy
Kenneth MacKenzie P.Eng.
City of Medicine Hat

LM2500 to LM2500+DLE Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Plant Repowering

Michael T. McCarrick

Kenneth MacKenzie P.Eng.

GE Energy

City of Medicine Hat

The province of Alberta, Canada developed annual emission

engine driving a generator. Over the intervening years, the plant

intensity limits for the power generation sector in order to

grew into a strictly Rankine-cycle steam plant and finally into

preserve air quality by reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide (SOx),

todays configuration, a fully combined cycle plant.

nitrogen dioxide (NOx), and primary particulate matter. Effective

January 1, 2006, all new gas-fired power plants were required to

The present configuration of the plant is shown in Figure 1. Units

meet Annual Emission Intensity Limits for NOx. In the Spring of

10 and 11, the subject of this paper, were originally installed in

2006, the City of Medicine Hat (COMH) LM2500 gas turbine units

1990 as refurbished General Electric (GE) Frame 5M gas turbines

were due for their 50,000-hour major overhaul cycle, and COMH

operating in simple cycle with a heat rate of 13,900 BTU/kWe-Hr

was faced with this new NOx emission requirement, along with

(LHV). A summary of past and present unit configurations is

an increasing power load demand for the city. Working closely

shown in Table 1.

with GE Energys Aero Services group, COMH decided to upgrade

the two LM2500 gas turbines to two LM2500+DLE gas turbines to
meet the new emissions requirements and boost power output
to support the growing needs of the city.

In 1993, single-pressure HRSGs were constructed for both units to

improve plant efficiency and increase plant capacity, achieving a
combined cycle heat rate of 8,880 BTU/kWe-Hr (LHV) with
a corresponding steam turbine power production of 10.1 MWe.

This paper will describe the engineering design challenges to

modify the existing LM2500 gas turbine package to accept the
longer and more powerful LM2500+DLE gas turbine, and the
results of the evaluations of the additional mass flow impact on
steam production and combined cycle plant performance.
This paper will also detail the upgrade execution outages and
commissioning experience of the LM2500+DLE gas turbines at
the COMH plant. The actual operational performance results will

Figure 2 shows the heat balance for the 1993 configuration.

In 1998 the Frame 5M units were replaced with GEs LM2500-PE
model aeroderivative gas turbines in an attempt to improve
reliability and further improve efficiency. The LM2500 is derived
from the CF6 family of aircraft engines used on a variety of
commercial aircraft and is a hot-end drive, two-shaft gas
generator with a free power turbine. The LM2500-PE features
a Single Annular Combustor (SAC) and a 6-stage power turbine.

be outlined to show the approximately 30% increase in gas

turbine power output, 5% decrease in gas turbine heat rate, and

The ISO exhaust flow of the LM2500-PE engines, at 499,000 lb/hr

the annual reduction in NOx emissions of up to 900 tons per year.

was significantly lower than the previous Frame 5 ISO engine

exhaust rate of 716,000 lbs/hr. Thus, the steam production from

Background and Description of

Original Plant Configuration

the respective Unit 10 and 11 HRSGs decreased to 6.1 MWe as

measured in steam turbine electric power output. However, the

The City of Medicine Hat (COMH) Electric Utility is a municipally

owned utility in Alberta, Canada that operates a natural gas-fired
combined cycle power plant with a 209 MW ISO capacity.

combined cycle heat rate improved to 7,500 BTU/kWe-Hr (LHV)

as a result of the turbine replacements. Figure 3 shows the heat
balance for the 1998 configuration with the LM2500-PE.

The plant began in 1910 with a single-cylinder natural gas-fired

Simple Cycle
Heat Rate LHV

Gas Turbine
Power (MWe)

HP Steam

Steam Turbine

Combined Power Combined Cycle

Heat Rate LHV

Frame 5M





















Table 1 Units 10 and 11 Performance Summaries (at 15C 60%RH 666m el.)

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

LM2500 Gas Turbine History and Evolution

to the LM2500+/+G4
In the early 1970s, the LM2500 gas turbine was derived from
the CF6-6 flight engine, which to date has accumulated over
300,000,000 flight hours on a variety of commercial aircraft.
The LM2500 utilized a 16-stage compressor section with inlet guide
vanes and 6-stages of variable stator vanes with a 2-stage
high-pressure turbine (HPT) section exhausting into a 6-stage free
power turbine. The original design had twin-shank HPT blades and
an ISO power rating of 17.9 MW with 35.8% simple cycle thermal
efficiency. In 1992 a single-shank HPT blade was introduced that
allowed for a higher firing temperature while maintaining the
expected 25,000-hour hot section life on natural gas. The ISO power
rating was correspondingly increased to 23.8 MW with a 37.5%
simple cycle thermal efficiency.

In 1997, the LM2500 was upgraded to the LM2500+ when a zero

stage blisk was added to the front end of the compressor section
to provide a total of 17 stages of compression and boost the
compression ratio from 20:1 to 23:1. Some material changes in
the HP turbine section and enlarging of the free power turbine
flow function raised the ISO power rating to 31.3 MW with 39.5%
simple cycle efficiency. The major differences between the
LM2500 and the LM2500+ gas turbines are shown in Figure 4.
The LM2500+G4 gas turbine, the most recent uprate to the
LM2500 family, was introduced in 2005. The LM2500+G4
provides approximately a 10% power increase over the LM2500+
model and was considered for this use in this project, however,
the electric generator could not handle the LM2500+G4 output
across the full range of ambient conditions, and the LM2500+
was selected for the COMH Repowering Project.
As of this writing, the LM2500/+/+G4 models have over
51,000,000 operating hours in power generation, marine,
cogeneration, and mechanical drive applications.

Figure 4 LM2500 vs. LM2500+ Cross-Sectional View (SAC Versions Shown)

Standard Annular Combustor (SAC) vs.

Dry Low Emissions (DLE) Technology

was introduced to achieve 25 ppmvd NOx emissions without

The original LM2500 gas turbines operated with a standard

comprised of 75 staged injectors and a 4-passage compressor

annular combustor that utilized a single compressor diffuser pas-

diffuser. The LM2500+DLE gas turbine has over 2,400,000

sage and a single row of 30 fuel nozzles, and NOx emissions

operating hours, and can achieve 25 ppmvd NOx and 25 ppmvd

abatement was accomplished with water or steam injection to

CO from 75% to 100% load. The SAC and DLE Combustors are

suppress the firing temperature and reduce the formation of

compared in Figure 5 below.

water or steam injection. The DLE combustor uses 30 premixers

NOx. In 1995, a Dry Low Emissions (DLE) combustion technology

Dry Low Emissions

Single Annular Combustor

Figure 5 DLE (Triple Annular Combustor) vs. Single Annular Combustor (SAC)

Repowering Drivers and Benefits

2. Increased Power Output

The original LM2500-PE gas turbines were scheduled to achieve

The COMH electrical load in the 21st century has been growing

their 50,000-hour major overhaul cycle in 2006, and the COMH

at an average of 2% per year, with corresponding increases in

was faced with four options:

air-conditioning load peaks during the summer months.

1. Rebuild the existing LM2500 SAC engines at the depot

to achieve Zero Time.

Replacing the LM2500-PE with a similar engine would obviously

do nothing to increase plant capacity to meet this increasing

2. Replace existing LM2500 SAC engines with identical new

LM2500 SAC units.

load. On the other hand, the LM2500-PR offered a modest

7.4 MWe increase in combined cycle capacity per unit,

3. Replace the LM2500 SAC engines with new LM2500 DLE

well within the regulatory limits set on the amount of electrical

generation the City may hold.

4. Increase the capacity and reduce emissions by replacing
the LM2500 SAC engines with LM2500+ DLE engines.
To comply with emissions reductions commitments made to
regulatory agencies, and to increase plant capacity with a
marginally improved heat rate, it was decided to pursue Option
4, replacement of the engines with the LM2500+ DLE engines,
known formally as the LM2500-PR model.

3. Improved Heat Rate

The LM2500-PR features a higher compression ratio (23:1) than
the LM2500-PE (20:1), and consequentially is a more efficient
turbine. The guaranteed simple cycle heat rate for the
LM2500-PR was 9,238 Btu/kWeHr LHV versus the guarantee rate
for the LM2500-PE at 9,743 Btu/kWeHr LHV, a 5% improvement.

1. Emissions Reductions

Technical Challengers Encountered

in LM2500 to LM2500+DLE Repowering

In prior years, the COMH had made commitments to the

1. Accommodation of Longer Engine

regulator, Alberta Environment (AENV) that would see NOx

By far the biggest challenge in the project was altering the

abatement technologies implemented on Units 10 and 11 prior

turbine compartments to fit the longer engines. As shown in

to renewal of the environmental permit in 2009.

Figures 6 and 7, the plenum wall was moved 13-13/16 and the
main structural base was extended a proportionate amount.

The LM2500-PE units had historically and consistently produced

The front engine mounts were changed from the top-hung

NOx emissions of approximately 170 ppmvd, equivalent to a

"horseshoe" frame to a link style system supported from the

mass emission of 125 pounds per hour of NOx.

subbase, which also required extension.

Under the AENVs 2006 Emission Intensity Limits for NOx, new

The original turbine compartment crane was removed and

units in the 20 to 60 MW range (that range covers the LM2500

replaced with a higher capacity unit due to the increased weight

models) would be required to achieve an intensity of less than 0.4

of the PR engine. The engine-lifting beam required extensive


modifications as a result of reduced headroom from the


As shown in Table 2, the original LM2500-PE units produced NOx

emission intensities well in excess of the 2006 Limits. NOx

2. Capacity of Generator

abatement equipment such as Selective Catalytic Reduction

The generator supplied in 1998 with the original LM2500-SAC

(SCR) or water/steam injection would have been necessary to

package is a Brush Electric Machines Ltd. Type BDAX-7-167ESS

achieve the 2006 limits using the LM2500 SAC engine.

rated at 35,412 KVA at a 0.85 Power Factor.

The LM2500-PR was predicted, and has proven capable in

On cold winter days, the LM2500-PR turbine is capable of

meeting the 2006 limits.

producing 30.1 MW with a corresponding turbine inlet temperature

NOx conc.
(ref.15% O2)

NOx mass

HP Steam












of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This power output matches exactly the

Brush generator capability at the 0.85 Power Factor and thus no
changes to the generator were required. The mechanical

Table 2 NOx Intensities Comparison at Site Conditions

coupling connecting the turbine to generator was found to be

inadequate for the higher mechanical power transmission duty
of the PR turbine and was replaced.

3. Fuel System

4. Control System

The original LM2500-PE engines required a natural gas fuel

The existing Woodward Netcon control system was removed and

supply delivered at 385 psig and 100 Degrees F at the skid base.

replaced with a MicroNet Plus digital controller. This required new

The new LM2500-PR engines require a significantly higher inlet

control cubicles to be built and installed next to the existing

pressure of 520 psig.

Turbine Control Panels (TCP). The field wiring between the MTTB
and the TCP was installed prior to the outage, and then

A review of the entire gas system was conducted to ensure that

terminated once the outage began.

the gas delivery system piping and vessels were capable of the
increased operating pressure. This review revealed that the ANSI

5. Inlet Air Filtration

Class 300 flanges and piping were indeed capable of the

As a result of the Stage 0 Blisk incorporated in the LM2500-PR,

increased pressure, but that the stainless steel filter vessels

the airflow through the filter house to the engine increased from

would need alteration of nozzle reinforcement before being

499,000 lb/hr to 612,000 lb/hr. Consideration was given to

recertified for the higher design pressure. A local pressure vessel

increasing the size of the filter house, but the penalty in power

shop performed this alteration during the package conversion

output created by the additional inlet pressure drop was


predicted to be only a few hundred kilowatts.

Figure 6 LM2500 vs. LM2500+ Turbine Compartment Plan

Figure 7 LM2500 vs. LM2500+ Turbine Compartment Elevation

Outage Summary

Heat Rate


Margin %

Heat Rate
Margin %


Unit 10






Unit 11












The upgrades of Units 10 and 11 were planned as back-to-back

outages of 30 days each. Unit 11 was the first outage executed,
and took 14 days longer than expected due to fit-up, alignment,
and clearance issues. However, the lessons learned on the first
conversion expedited the second, as its duration was 30 days per
the plan.

Table 3 Performance Test Summary

Performance Testing
Both new gas turbines were tested in general accordance with
ASME PTC-22, "Gas Turbine Power Plants."

The actual combined cycle unit heat balance for Units 10 and 11
is shown in Figure 8. The combined cycle heat rates for Units 10
and 11 improved from 7.5 to 7.1 BTU/MWe-Hr, an improvement

Table 3 summarizes corrected power output and heat rate of

the two LM2500+DLE 6-Stage (PR) units. The guaranteed power
output is 26,903 kW. The guaranteed heat rate is 9,248 Btu/kW-

of 5.6%. Figure 9 is compiled from plant data and contrasts the

respective combined cycle heat rates with those of the sister
unit, an LM6000-PD.

hr (9,757 kJ/kW-hr). The tested units yielded corrected power

output and heat rate better than guaranteed values.

Figure 8

In general, the two units have been performing very well and
have delivered a 30% increase in power output, and over
a 5% reduction in combined cycle heat rate.
A few issues remain outstanding at time of writing:
Turbine compartment temperatures have been high during
the hot summer months, and ventilation air modifications are
planned for the fall of 2007.
The power turbine thrust balance pressure is in alarm on both
units, and both the cause and solution are under investigation
by GE.
Unit availability and reliability for the first two quarters of 2007
have been very high at 98.7% and 99.9% respectively.

Figure 9 Comparison of Heat Rates and Load

1. Alberta Regulation No. 33/2006, Environmental Protection
and Enhancement Act, Emissions Trading Regulation.
2. Figures 6 and 7 provided courtesy of Fern Engineering of
Pocasset, Massachusetts. Fern provided engineering design
services for the package modifications, and have provided
similar services on other Gas Turbine projects.
3. GER 4250 The LM2500+G4 Aeroderivative Gas Turbine for
Marine and Industrial Applications by Gilbert H. Badeer,
GE Energy September 2005.
LM2500 is a trademark of General Electric Company.
Copyright 2012, General Electric Company. All rights reserved.
GEA18640A (10/2012)