Gas power gives end users several advantages. First is the ability to
respond quickly with high effciency, which lowers the cost of electricity,
in a very tight footprint. We can put a gas turbine in about 8 ha of land
and generate over a gigawatt of power. That is the best power density
that you see in the industry.
A: SPS: We should think about fexibility in terms of both operational
fexibility and fuel fexibility. I agree that we are seeing more variety with
fuels. Customers have an increasing variety of fuels available and are
looking for effcient ways to use them. For example, several new projects
have come up using diffcult lignite which cannot be easily transported.
There is also an increasing interest for using biomass for smaller sized
power plants around 100–110 MW.
In terms of operational fexibility, we have implemented solutions
which signifcantly improve the ramp-up and -down times. There has
been approximately 30 per cent improvement in the last fve years and
it now takes about 120 minutes to ramp up to full load. The minimum
load that we can operate our plants is around 15 per cent, for smaller
sized plants as well as for larger, and more sophisticated 1000 MW USC
As an example, our latest commissioned plants in Germany are
operating mostly in peaking mode, and are used to balance the
instability of the grid caused by the increase in intermittent power
The need for improved fexibility is often driven by the customer’s
objectives to keep fuel consumption as low as possible, to protect the
lifetime of critical components, or to answer to additional grid power
demands as fast as possible. Improvements in fexibility support the
increasing use of renewable energy and coal-based steam power can
play a role in this.
Q: How important are digital capabilities in modern power plants?
A: GPS: A monumental shift is taking place in the power generation
industry, challenging old models and creating unprecedented
opportunities. Software and data analytics are combining with
advanced hardware to create new digitally-enhanced power
generation that will deliver greater performance, reliability, affordability
and sustainability. These new capabilities are helping to lower costs,
improve effciencies, create growth opportunities and reduce carbon
Fully-customized digital power plant solutions allow power plant
owners to optimize the performance and proftability of their systems
with better informed short- and long-term decisions to balance revenue,
cost and risk. Predictive analytics and control simulations consider past
and future scenarios and advanced control capabilities act to achieve
desired outcomes. It serves a plant’s full lifecycle, from project planning
to startup to servicing.
A: SPS: Digital capabilities are starting to show their full potential on
steam plants, helping customers extract more value from their plants
by increasing effciency across the full range of operation modes or
supporting more fexible operation while optimizing maintenance costs.
Q: Are there a lot of commonalities between gas and steam power?
A: GPS: Customers are increasingly looking for full solutions, including
fnancing. In a more decentralized environment, there are several
customers that are not typical operators, but rather hospitals or factories
that want to generate their own energy. These customers are looking
for the entire package with total project management. Now we can
offer that. On top of that, when it comes to optimizing effciency, what’s
important is how the overall system is designed and operated. Gas
Power Systems has expanded its capabilities to cover the entire plant:
from gas turbines, steam turbines and generators, to heat recovery
steam generators, condensers, other balance of plant equipment
and digital solutions that help manage assets and operations more
A: SPS: I agree. There is more demand for full project management.
Customers – both utilities and other plant operators – know that it takes
more than selecting a set of high effciency components to achieve
advanced economic and technical goals. The value of the integrated
approach is that the performance of the plant is better optimized,
delivering better effciency throughout the process.
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