If you’ve flown in a commercial airplane, you’ve probably been sitting within thirty meters of a working gas turbine engine. Gas turbines have been used to power airplanes since the 1940s. But gas turbines like those on airplanes are also used to generate electricity. These designs are known as aero-derivative gas turbines and hold a special place in the electricity market.
Aero-derivative gas turbines are popular due to their reliability, efficiency and flexibility. They are significantly lighter, respond faster, and have a smaller footprint compared to their rugged counterparts, making them much easier to use for temporary purposes and in applications requiring mobility.
“If you look at the industry’s high-level goal of decarbonization, network resilience, resource adequacy, and affordability, aero derivatives fit neatly into all of these categories,” Harsh Shah, vice president of sales and business development at Mitsubishi Power Aero, said as a guest on The POWER podcast. “We provide solutions that generate electricity from 30 MW to 140 MW, and we see a very high demand for these products around the world, all over the world, in developed countries, in developing countries, that these are industrialists, public services, independent and even captive electricity producers. electricity producers.
Shah said the main reason for the demand is that when customers need fast power solutions and can’t wait years between signing a contract and putting power into service, aerodynamic derivatives are often the best option. “When time is of the essence, the aero-derivative solution is very important,” he said.
Shah gave a recent example to demonstrate how quickly aero-derivative gas turbines can be deployed. Mitsubishi Power Aero (formerly PW Power Systems, the company underwent a rebranding on April 1) worked with the Mexican state-owned power company, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), to add 150 MW of generation to meet summer demand in the Mexicali area of Baja California. Negotiations began in January this year and the capacity was available to the grid less than four months after the contract was signed.
“We have supplied five MOBILEPAC units. These are trailer mounted units, very mobile and very compact, which do not require any site preparation, in terms of concrete foundation, minimal work required on site, ”Shah said. “From the moment we signed the contract, in less than 110 days, we were powered up and up and running. “
Time plays another advantage of aero-derivative gas turbines in that they can go from completely cold power to full power very quickly. “Our aerodynamic derivatives offer a very unique value proposition to our customers, whereby we would be fully operational in less than 10 minutes, and we are pushing that envelope to increasingly lower times – five minutes and the like,” Shah mentioned.
Flexibility is also an important characteristic. “It’s flexibility from different angles. You could have flexibility in terms of the ramp rate – how fast you can go up and down. And this is all the more important as across the world, you have more and more renewable energies on the grid. You need solutions that can cover when the sun is overcast or wind power is dwindling. So ramping up, decelerating and reacting quickly gives the much needed flexibility, ”Shah said. “On top of that, we get flexibility with the multi-fuel capability, whether you use gas or liquid fuel. You also have flexibility for dual frequency at 50 or 60Hz. And then the last aspect of flexibility I’m going to cover is the very high power density. … Optimal use of the soil is very important, and the high power density of our solutions creates high demand.
To hear the full interview, which includes more examples of work being done by Mitsubishi Power Aero in places such as Puerto Rico, Algeria and Japan, and more on the benefits aerodynamic derivatives can bring in current decarbonization efforts, listen The POWER podcast. Click on the SoundCloud player below to listen in your browser now or use the following links to go to the show’s page on your favorite podcast platform:
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–Aaron Larson is the editor-in-chief of POWER (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).