TTS helps commission two Texas compressor stations

On-Time Commissioning Helps Plant Meet Growing Energy Demands in Mexico

Summary

TTS was asked to provide equipment and services for a major gas company in the process of building two large compressor stations near the Texas-Mexico border.  The projects were unique due to the amount of horsepower being installed. The end user of the gas being pumped through the line was the Mexico utility.  TTS completed the project on time and helped the client commission the plants ahead of schedule.

A Quarter Million HP to Manage & Control at the TX-MX Border

In 2016, a Texas pipeline company received a 168 mile (270 km) intrastate gas pipeline project from Mexico’s state-owned utility serving 37 million customers. Through the project, natural gas transportation services, set for operation in 2018, would help meet Mexico’s growing electric generation needs.

The planned facilities included 168 miles (270 km) of intrastate pipeline; a nearly 170,000 hp (126,769 kW) compressor station located outside of Corpus Christi, Texas; and a nearly 100,000 hp (74,570 kW) compressor station located outside of Brownsville, Texas.

With that scope in mind, TTS received a contract for building and commissioning the pipeline station’s control and emergency shutdown panels.


Pipeline from Texas-Mexico Border

TTS Services and Solutions

For the last 35 years, TTS has been serving the power and energy industry with innovative and reliable engineering expertise.  The company has managed gas turbine installations, modernization projects and high-value engineering solutions for clients across the globe.

For the pipeline project, the team at TTS combined automation and controls experience and gas compressor station design expertise to achieve lower overall plant operating costs, increase flexibility and availability while reducing risk.  The scope of the project included the following control panel and automation upgrades and field services from TTS:

  • Network Topology: The SCPs and ESDs utilized the Ethernet-based Device Level Ring architecture for the processor I/O connections. This architecture, a combination of copper and fiber, is based on the Converged Plant wide Ethernet (CPwE) with Device Level Ring (DLR) architecture specified by Rockwell Automation. Each panel has two 1783-ETAP1F embedded switches for the Device Level Ring (DLR) over fiber between the panels. The SCP master panel has two Stratix 5700 managed Ethernet switches.
  • Power Supplies: Power supplies were configured in an N+1 configuration utilizing a redundancy module on the output of the power supplies. The first redundant power supply is fed from the 120VAC utility power and power supply fed from the 120VAC utility power and the second is fed from the UPS-supplied 120VAC inverter panel. Each power supply is sized to operate on its own with a 30% margin for the panel 24VDC devices and field I/O.
  • Inputs and Outputs (I/O): I/O modules were allocated to provide at least 20% spare. Each digital output was wired to a 24VDC interposing relay. Each digital input was wired to a 3-level terminal block with fuse and ground terminal. Each analog input card was wired for single-ended current input, and each input wired to a 3-level terminal block with fuse and ground terminal. Each analog output card was wired for current output and a 3-level terminal block with a ground terminal. Wiring from I/O cards utilizes Allen-Bradley factory cables with pre-wired card fronts.
  • Enclosures: Control panels for the SCP and ESP panels are NEMA Type 12 enclosures with top entry. Outdoor remote I/O panels were specified as NEMA type 4X and configured for bottom entry.
  • Chassis Configuration: Each chassis was sized for at least 10% spare card allocation.
  • Software: TTS provided programming based on the provided documentation, such as P&ID diagrams, cause and effect matrices, system descriptions and control philosophies. The software version of Studio5000 was specified by the operator and compatible with ControlLogix redundancy firmware. The software program is open and configurable by the pipeline company. TTS provided one copy of Logix Designer software, 9324-RLD700NXENM (Studio5000 Professional).

A Trusted Resource for On-time Execution

With the help of TTS, the plant in Mexico was able to commission services on-time and ahead of schedule.  The upgrades brought greater stability and reliability to the gas transportation pipeline.  Thus, the plant could begin to respond to the rising demand for energy in Mexico while providing revenue to the plant.

“TTS engineers and technicians logged over 15,000 man-hours in engineering, programming, fabrication, installation and commissioning to get this project completed for the customer,” said Dave Simmons, TTS’ director of engineering.

For more information on this project, read the full article from Compressor Tech 2 here.

Backing up the grid with Legacy Assets

How the Texas Winter Blackouts are driving the need for gas turbine flexibility and availability

In the wake of the recent Texas Winter blackouts, “winter is coming” takes on a whole new meaning for power generation operators in the ERCOT region. When the power went out across the state in early February, it became clear to Texans, politicians and power generation managers that the Texas energy grid was ill-prepared for inclement weather.

To that end, many questions have arisen about how to back-up the renewable energy sources on the grid as well as provide fast start output from gas turbines and other fossil fuel power generation plants. While not all operators and plants are currently available to provide the much-needed output for the ERCOT region, they can be made available with proven upgrades and modifications to existing assets.

At TTS, we utilize our experience to help operators achieve full value from their existing assets. Our experience is comprehensive and covers all areas of your plant operations. In our latest blog, learn more about how time-tested upgrades and modifications to existing gas fire turbines can generate grid stability and revenue for your plant.

Upgrades and Modifications

In today’s ever-changing energy market, it is critical that your assets are available to run when called upon. Recent events prove how critical our energy infrastructure is, in particular during inclement weather. If the lines are there to transport energy, generators and compressors need to be ready to move it. No asset is obsolete or inefficient during these critical times.

At TTS we drive the Modernization of Gas Turbine assets through a program of Conversions, Modifications and Upgrades. The goal of these modifications is to get more output from an existing gas fired asset. Common high-value upgrades include the following:

Supportive Documentation:

Service Line Cards

High-value Generating Opportunities Webinar

Ways to Take Advantage of High Value Generating Opportunities

Benefits

The application of these technological advances to the existing installed fleet results in many benefits including:

  • Increased reliability
  • Increased efficiency
  • Extended asset life
  • Meeting OSHA and other industry standards for gas turbine operations
  • Reduced Operating and maintenance costs
  • Access to leading technologies in the gas turbine market
  • Engineering expertise with on-site and remote calibration and installations
  • On-time delivery of components and services

Take Advantage of High-Value Generating Opportunities

Making modifications and upgrades to existing assets is usually simple and the cost-benefit equation generally improves significantly. For those looking to learn more about making your gas turbine assets reliable, available and efficient, reach out for a consultation with our team at TTS.

About TTS Power

Since 1983, TTS has provided the power generation industry with quality, cost-effective alternatives to all of the major OEMs, from General Electric to Westinghouse. With over 400 clients worldwide, they have a reputation for integrity and turbine engineering expertise. They offer innovative control solutions, modernization and upgrade services to the mature gas turbine market.

The Benefits of the Dual-Fuel as a Back-up System for Grid Stability

In mid-February 2021, temperatures dropped in the ERCOT region and so did the power grid. While the demand for natural gas and electricity soared, freezing problems affected production at wind farms as well as natural gas wells. Supply could not come close to meeting demand – the shortfall exceeded 20,000 MW at times. These recent weather events have taught us that it is critical to have your gas turbine back-up fuel system ready to go when called upon.

Oil and gas-fired units are held in reserve to meet peak demand for a few hours each day on the grid. Yet, these back-up facilities are increasingly used to meet daily demand as it continues to increase, especially in the ERCOT region. A dual-fuel gas-fired turbine can be made to run on these fuels with minimal conversions and upgrades. Join us in our latest blog as we discuss the advantages of converting a turbine to a dual-fuel system.

 

About Dual Fuel

Single-fuel power stations have to foot considerable running and maintenance costs. However, extending this practice to cope with an increased base load is unsustainable, purely from a financial position, and now there is also added pressure to reduce emissions which is increasing the urgency to find an alternative. Research has shown that dual-fuel systems can lower operating costs while complying with emission regulations.

 

Benefits of a Dual-Fuel System

Although dual-fuel presents challenges, the demand for these back-up systems is on the rise. Dual-fuel systems present many operational benefits:

  • Reduced fuel cost
  • A more immediate solution that building a nuclear installation or a new conventional power station
  • Greater adherence to EPA standards and emissions regulations
  • Lowered maintenance costs
  • Generator availability / grid stability
  • Greater output
  • Small upgrades for increased revenue
  • Increased flexibility

 

What we offer

Liquid fuel systems (primary or back up) can be costly and troublesome to maintain and operate. For decades TTS has been offering support to its clients to help improve the operation and maintenance of these systems, both as single fuel and dual fuel configurations.

  • Electronic valve upgrades
  • Purge system upgrades
  • Check valve and distributor valve upgrades
  • Flow divider upgrades
  • Operational changes
  • Atomizing air system upgrades

If you are being asked to consider installing a back-up fuel system, TTS has completed numerous dual fuel conversions on many types of gas turbines throughout the world.

  • Dual fuel diffusion combustion systems
  • Dual fuel pre-mix combustion systems
  • On engine components and systems
  • Off engine components and systems
  • Water or steam injection for NOx abatement

 

Learn more about our Fuel Systems Conversions Services

Read our blog on improving turbine flexibility and reliability with fuel-systems modifications.

Our team of engineering experts is ready to assist you with your fuel-systems modifications project. If you are looking for a quote on the cost-benefit of a dual-fuel system for your gas-fired turbine, contact our team at 407.677.0813.

Modernization, Reliability and Availability Programs for the FT4/GG4 Fleet

For decades TTS and WWT (Worldwide Turbines) have been offering products and services to gas turbine operators globally.  Now, more than ever, in this changing energy environment, a reliable and flexible asset is paramount.  Together TTS and WWT offer a complete list of programs which can make your unit reliable, flexible and completely independent from the OEM.

Upgrades and Modifications

  • Complete Overhaul / Hot Section of GG4A&C Type Gas Generator and Free Turbine
  • Engine test cell
  • Full engine accessory repairs
  • Field Services (mechanical, controls) / Maintenance Contracts
  • Parts support
  • Engine Exchange program / Engine sales and leasing
  • Fuel Nozzle and Manifold overhaul and repair
  • Control System upgrades / modifications
  • Fuel system conversions (Gas fuel, Liquid Fuel, Dual Fuel)
  • Electronic Fuel Valve(s) Upgrades
  • Emissions Abatement Programs (Water Injection / SCR)
  • Instrumentation and Auxiliary system upgrades and modifications
  • Remote Support and Remote Monitoring

Benefits

Gas Turbine Technology is in a constant state of development and modernization with new materials, components, control techniques and protection systems being continually updated. The application of these technological advances to the existing installed fleet results in many benefits including:

  • Increased reliability
  • Increased efficiency
  • Extended asset life
  • Meeting OSHA and other industry standards for gas turbine operations
  • Reduced Operating and maintenance costs
  • Access to leading technologies in the gas turbine market
  • Engineering expertise with on-site and remote calibration and installations
  • On-time delivery of components and services

Expert, Innovative, Energy Savvy

The demand for energy is not going away any time soon, and gas turbines are a stable, viable source of consistent energy output.  Market factors that are driving the need for gas turbine efficiency and reliability include:  available retired units, low-cost fuel in international markets, and the need for fast-start gas turbines.

Making modifications and upgrades to existing assets is usually simple and the cost-benefit equation generally improves significantly.  For those looking to learn more about making your gas turbine reliable, available and efficient, reach out for a consultation with the teams at TTS and Worldwide Turbines.

About Worldwide Turbines

As an independent gas turbine service company, Worldwide Turbines keeps customers operational.  Nothing is more important that staying online.  They offer customers resources from single component parts to entire engine sections for customers in the gas turbine sector.  Their ingenuity, expertise and agile customer service provide comprehensive assistance to meet the demands and time tables of their customers.

About TTS Power

Since 1983, TTS has provided the power generation industry with quality, cost-effective alternatives to all of the major OEMs, from General Electric to Westinghouse. With over 400 clients worldwide, they have a reputation for integrity and turbine engineering expertise.  They offer innovative control solutions, modernization and upgrade services to the mature gas turbine market.

Ways to Take Advantage of High Value Generating Opportunities

Many factors have converged over the last few years to increase the opportunities for generating plants to take advantage of high spot market power prices. There is increasing value in improving the ability of existing gas turbines units to get on-line quickly (fast start) and/or to produce more power when they are on-line.

TTS has supported customers in identifying multiple ways to achieve both of these goals. The strategies to support fast start include reconfiguring fuel systems to eliminate purge requirements during startup, addressing other startup delay issues and improving start reliability and repeatability.

Opportunities to increase power output include optimizing existing firing temperature settings, increasing mass flow, implementing and optimizing peak firing operation and associated combustion system performance. Our recent webinar covers all of these strategies and the associated cost/benefit estimates.  You can view our webinar here:

In our latest blog, we are reviewing the points we covered in our CCJ webinar. Learn more about how to take advantage of opportunities in the market with minimal upgrades and modifications to keep your legacy asset relevant.

Market Drivers

  1. Electricity consumption – As coal plants are retired and phased out, electricity demand continues to grow across the country.
  2. Vintage Units – If they are reliable, flexible and available, vintage gas fire turbines can fill the need in the energy market.
  3. Renewables – while they are projected to make up to 50% of power generation in the United States by 2035, they will always need a reliable backup source due to unpredictability.
  4. New power plant – Planning and building a new plant is time-consuming, expensive and requires navigating regulatory and planning permissions.
  5. Natural Gas – Compared with coal, natural gas is a cheap and clean fossil fuel.  Likewise, it will continue to serve the energy market for the future.
  6. Margin – The reserve margin is decreasing.
  7. Market Opportunities – Spot market opportunities are increasing the high value generation windows.  Fast start opportunities increase with the increase of renewable capacity increases.

High-Value Generation Opportunities

The goal is to get the most out of your legacy machinery.  This includes optimizing your plant with updated capabilities and technology to produce more output when market prices are higher.

This includes Fast Start programs, which require plants to be ready to output power in as little as 10 minutes to maintain grid stability.

Ways to Get Output Optimization

Optimize existing firing temperature – There are several reasons the firing temperature can be sub-optimal:

  • Original design was too conservative
  • Changes in unit mass flow
  • Changes in unit components
  • Fuel changes
  • Unit configuration changes
  • Tuning changes

Thermodynamic modeling of the unit can identify optimum firing temperatures.  It can gain significant MW with only control setting changes.  Ultimately, what you are doing is moving the temperature control line based on the outcome of your analysis.

Increase mass flow – This is the most common way to increase output in legacy assets.  Increasing mass flow is important for gas turbines because their output is a function of the mass flow through the compressor.  As the air temperature goes down, the air gets denser on a base load.  Thus, as the temperature goes down, you get more output from the machinery.  Options to do this include the following:

  • Inlet Fogging
  • Inlet Cooling (Evaporative & Refrigeration)
  • Wet Compression
  • Water / Steam Injection
  • Air Injection
  • IGV Adjustment (7EA/7FA)

The cost-to-benefit varies with the ambient conditions, access to suitable water/steam and Initial Unit Setup.  It depends on what it already available in the environment for the power plant.  Optimizing firing temperature when implementing these approaches will further increase output.

Implement peak firing – Most units are designed for a specific firing temperature where you operate base-load and you have a predictable maintenance life and maintenance factor for all components.  The goal with peak firing is to increase the firing temperature to result in an increase in output.  Features of this upgrade include:

  • “Peak” mode is normally selectable as an alternative to “Base” Operation
  • Operating in the Peak Range may shorten maintenance intervals
  • Firing temperature increase is limited to prevent component damage
  • Setting of Peak can be automatic or manual

The benefit of this upgrade is that it is a simple way to take advantage of high spot market prices.

Optimize peak firing – The goal of optimizing peak firing is to take advantage of what an existing unit can do, what the emissions capabilities are, and what the permitting is on your application.

  • Units must operate within site permit emissions limits
  • Peak firing may cause emissions to exceed limits
  • Need to understand what the site permit allows, hourly versus daily/monthly rolling average limits
  • Variable peak approach allows operation up to the peak firing value while the unit remains in compliance
  • If compliance is not possible at peak firing value, variable peak approach allows maximum firing temperature while maintaining compliance
  • CC units with SCR allow for additional optimization and for additional output

Fast Start

Asset Flexibility

The goal is to make assets, especially older assets, more flexible.  It improves the ability of the generation fleet to change its output (ramp) rapidly, start and stop with short notice and achieve a low minimum turn-down level.  There are two categories for asset flexibility:

  1. Non-Spinning Reserve:  Generation and responsive load that is off-line but can be fully responsive within 30 minutes.
  2. Supplemental Reserve:  Generation and responsive load that is off-line but can be fully responsive within 10 minutes.  Premium is available for 10 minute start in many markets.

The chart below gives a general overview of Start up time and loading rates for diesel and motor devices.

Getting to 10 Minutes

There are different strategies for different units, but the following are some of the most common implementations for most units:

Eliminate purge, implement changes to comply with NFPA 85 Purge Credit Standard – After a normal stop, the unit is purged and this purge counts as the purge for the next start, resulting in significant start up time savings.  NFPA(R) 85 2015 has specific requirements that must be adhered to in order to establish and maintain the Purge Credit.

Implement Fast Load – Increase the loading rate; a review of the generator capability is required.  Load in extended lean-lean and fast transfer to premix (FTP).

Eliminate “Warm-up” delays –  Increase the time it takes to start a turbine, effectively eliminating delays for the plant to be available for output.

Ensure unit start reliability – There are several modifications and upgrades to consider for improving starting reliability.

  • On-base device upgrade and rationalization
  • Rewires
  • Hydraulic/Pneumatic system removal/Fuel system simplification
  • Control system upgrade (turbine)
  • Excitation/Production system upgrade (electrical)
The chart below gives a summary of each potential upgrade and modification that could help ensure unit start reliability.  All plant managers should consider the cost/benefit for each modification that is relevant to their specific plant.

Potential Upgrades/Modifications System Benefit Drivers/Costs
On-Base Device Upgrade and Rationalization
  • “Low hanging fruit”. Simple and effective upgrade
  • Remove single point of failure and eliminate trips
  • Improve available information
  • Improved Reliability
  • Improved Availability
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Where a driver is present the benefit is high relative to cost for implementation of redundancy and replacement of critical items
Rewires
  • Eliminate Grounds
  • Eliminate Canon Plugs
  • Eliminate Signal leakages
  • Improved Reliability
  • Improved Availability
  • Reduced maintenance
  • With one or more drivers cost is low for benefits gained
Hydraulic/Pneumatic System Removal/Fuel System Simplification
  • Elimination of Servos/Positioners
  • System Simplification (Single Valve)
  • Easier Setup/Calibration
  • Improved Reliability
  • Improved Availability
  • Greatly Improved Functionality and Flexibility
  • Without one or more drivers cost is high for benefits gained
  • With one or more drivers cost is low for benefits gained
Control System Upgrade (Turbine)
  • Resolve obsolescence and aging issues
  • Improved Reliability
  • Improved Availability
  • Greatly Improved Functionality and Flexibility
  • Improved data availability and retention – improved troubleshooting and operational data
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • TMR usually isn’t worth it
  • Without one or more drivers cost is high for benefit gained
  • With one or more drivers, cost to benefit equation improves significantly
Excitation/Protection System Upgrade (Electrical)
  • System Simplification especially with replacement of individual protection relays
  • Easier setup and testing
  • Improved Reliability
  • Improved Availability
  • Greatly Improved Functionality and Flexibility
  • Improved data availability and retention
  • Lower Maintenance Costs
  • Without one or more drivers cost is high for benefit gained
  • With one or more drivers, cost to benefit equation improves significantly

 

TTS Stands with You

While the energy market continues to evolve, we are confident that fossil fuels will stay relevant well into the future for their reliability and accessibility.  If you are interested in learning more about how to make your turbine or legacy asset a high-value generation option, talk to our team members at TTS.  We are a team of engineers and technicians with over 30 years of experience providing high-value expertise to improve unit reliability and performance.  Call us at  407.677.0813 or contact  TTS Energy Services.

 

 

About the Presenters

Pat Begley, VP SalesHeadshot of Pat Begley, VP of Sales

Pat brings over 29 years of gas turbine experience to Turbine Technology Services.

Prior to his current role, Pat was employed by Sermatech Power Solutions serving as Executive Manager of Corporate Sales. In the 1990’s, Pat worked for TTS as Vice President of Corporate Sales and with HSDE Inc. as Manager of Industrial and Marine Business Development.

In his early career with General Electric, Chromalloy, Unitech and HSDE, Pat developed his extensive knowledge of heavy rotating equipment by performing engineering roles including Mechanical Field Service Engineer (GE and Chromalloy), Speedtronic Control System Service/Startup Engineer (GE and Chromalloy), PLC Control System Development Engineer (Unitech) and Controls Group Engineering Manager (HSDE).

Pat was born in Ireland. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dublin and MBA from the University of Houston.

Pat Begley
VP, TTS Power
Phone/WhatsApp: +1 407.810.8997
Email: pbegley@ttsenergyservices.com
Skype Address: tts_begley

 

Ricky Morgan, VP Engineering Headshot of Ricky Morgan, VP of Engineering

Ricky brings over 30 years of electrical and controls engineering experience and is responsible for all technical aspects of TTS’ products and services. Prior to joining TTS, Ricky was employed by Sermatech Power Solutions, serving as the International Executive Manager for the Middle East and previously as Vice President of Turbine Systems Engineering.

Ricky was born in Scotland, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Strathclyde University, Glasgow. More recently, he graduated from the University of Central Florida with his MBA.

Ricky Morgan
VP Engineering
Mobile: +1.407.399.0312
Email: rmorgan@ttsenergyservices.com
Skype Address: pfmorgan

Gas Turbine Reapplication: A Market Comeback

In recent years there has been a resurgence in existing gas turbine power plants being picked up and reapplied throughout the world. Many thousands of megawatts have recently been relocated from Asia to West Africa; Europe to Australia; Europe to East Africa; within USA; within West Africa; and so on…

Factors Driving Turbine Reapplication

Factors that have contributed to the return of this segment of the power market include the following: the availability of retired units; the emergence of newly available low-cost gas fuel in international markets; the need for fast-start gas turbines; and the ability to benefit once again from quickly installed units operating in the domestic US peaking power market.

The California ISO market’s demand for fast start power has triggered relocation projects in surrounding areas to provide power for that market. Also, the inconsistency of renewable power, particularly wind, in Texas ERCOT and other western states has created a need for back up for both power and for grid stability. This situation, combined with the abundance of natural gas, make the case for relocating fast start gas turbines and other gas fired generators into these areas.

Contributing to Dynamic Power Markets

The fast delivery of these reapplied gas turbines, with lower capital costs than new, and the ability to operate on a wide range of fuels make them an important solution to many of the opportunities in today’s dynamic power markets. The modular design of a gas turbine package, with a much smaller footprint per Mw than reciprocating engines, allows them to be quickly and easily installed in even the most remote locations. Although not having the same efficiency of today’s advanced-class gas turbines, these older units can still provide a very important contribution to emerging grids and the peaking power market.

Each relocation project has its own unique requirements. These may include the need for asset refurbishment, fuel conversions, frequency conversions (if moving between 50Hz and 60Hz countries), other upgrades and modifications, and installation of equipment necessary to allow the units to operate in compliance of local environmental regulations. Logistics are an extremely important part of a relocation project, with care taken to ensure dismantled equipment is identified, tagged and removed properly so as to ensure an efficient, low-cost installation at the new site.

TTS Energy Services: At the Forefront of Gas Turbine Reapplication

Many relocation projects are undertaken by entrepreneurial developers that recognize an opportunity to quickly provide cost-effective power to a specific market. However, these developers often do not have the existing technical and commercial infrastructure to efficiently deal with all aspects of building a power plant, as well as obtaining all the required contracts and permitting.

TTS Energy Services is at the forefront of the gas turbine relocation market. We are responsible for the relocation of close to 90 gas turbines having a total of almost 3,000 megawatts. We have been involved at all levels including turnkey Engineer / Procure / Construct (EPC) contracts, project management and design engineering, upgrade and modification services, cost control, project feasibility studies and site supervision.

With over 30 years of experience in the turbine relocation market, we are the ideal partner for any reapplication project.

How Can We Help You?

Contact TTS and speak with a specialist to discuss and evaluate your possible opportunities for gas turbine relocations, as well as to inquire about assistance with your current relocation project. Leave us a message or call +1 (407) 677-0813 to speak with an expert today.

CCJ 2020 Best Practices Award: Hermiston Generating Plant

Hydrogen purge remote activation helps keep employees safe

The Hermiston Generating Plant in Oregon was recently awarded the CCJ 2020 Best Practices Award for their installation of a hydrogen purge remote activation. TTS was proud to assist in this project, providing critical upgrades to the control system. The project provided greater safety for on-site engineers and improved automation which decreased plant downtime.

Read the full press release from CCJ of the project scope below:

Challenge. Provide an automatic remote means to purge a hydrogen-cooled generator without dispatching employees to the area.

Many 1990s-era 7FH2 generators were equipped with an automatic purge system that activated when hydrogen purity at the seals dropped below a specified set point. However, the controls were located in the collector compartment and could not be safely accessed if a hydrogen leak in that compartment was suspected. In the event seal oil was lost it would be unsafe to approach the collector compartment to activate the purge. If the controls were left in maintenance for any reason, there would be no way to activate the purge without endangering an employee.

Solution. Since the automation was already in place along with solenoid-activated hydrogen shutoff valves, hydrogen vent valve, and CO2 admission valve, all that was needed was to move the controls to the Mark V. Employees of Hermiston and TTS Energy Services, Orlando, Fla, modified control wiring and re-routed it to the Mark V. Because of the significant safety and liability concerns associated with hydrogen, a controls consultant was engaged to modify the Mark V logic and create a purge button to activate the purge from the Mark V HMI (photo right).

Results. Now control room operators can monitor hydrogen purity remotely and perform a preemptive purge in the event they lose seal oil, without putting employees or equipment at risk. The total cost of the project was less than $10,000.

About TTS
At TTS, we specialize in innovative and high value-engineered solutions that help our clients maintain, upgrade, and enhance their power generation and gas compression assets. Learn more at our website TTS Energy Services or contact us at (407) 677-0813.

TTS Plant Optimization and reliability

An interview with Ricky Morgan, VP Engineering, on how TTS’s support team and engineers can help plants optimize their operations for extended reliability.  

What are some major challenges that facilities are facing now-a-days? Before and after COVID-19?

COVID-19 has only highlighted further that customers are looking for operational flexibility in the industry.  As the energy industry continues to change, power plant owners and operators are looking for ways to optimize their resources and assets to create revenue flows.

The operational challenges include a changing operational envelope as a direct result of renewables, changing fuel costs, emission requirements, coal plant retirements and a reduction in demand at this time.

To address this, operators need their equipment to start faster, start reliably, operate on multiple fuels, and run cost-effectively.

Equipment reliability is a challenge for the gas turbine industry.  “Many operators have vintage equipment that they can start, but if it won’t start reliably and then keep running, then it’s value decreases dramatically” says Morgan.  It goes without saying that maintenance and troubleshooting are directly related to operational reliability – how easy (or more often, difficult) is it to work on the equipment, to get parts and then to install and configure them properly.

“Furthermore,” states Morgan, “power plants also need operational flexibility in fuels, starting times and turndown; all are critical in today’s power generation market. Other industries are also experiencing this flexibility issue during COVID-19 as they try to adapt, ramp down or ramp up production, change product types and manage labor and resources.”

Another challenge is access to information related to machine or system performance – old analog and relay systems provide little operational or historical data. To solve the reliability, maintenance, and flexibility problems and to leverage available resources, you need relevant and timely information and data. Data is key to good decision making.

What can be done to improve these facilities?

With increased limitations on emissions and the demands on these legacy machines changing drastically, some facilities have to face the fact that their asset is fully depreciated.  However, it would cost too much to rebuild and scrap the asset.  Many operators and OEMs turn to upgrades to preserve their asset and to remain relevant, responding to the grid’s needs.

These upgrades could be any combination of the following:

  • Automation – use modern control systems to automate and make data available both locally and remotely.

  • Optimization – use modern algorithms for improved control and protection

  • Simplification – make maintenance and troubleshooting user friendly through smart design, use of current technology to replace obsolete and complicated designs and improving data availability. More information and less failure points.

  • Upgrades – install new devices and equipment – a new transmitter for additional data points is the simplest example.

  • Conversion – Increase flexibility through conversion of existing assets.

  • Analysis – use the data available to operate and maintain at maximum efficiency and flexibility

 

Why should plants and facilities invest in optimizing their vintage equipment?

In the long-term, the ROI for plant upgrades and optimization usually far outweighs scrapping a legacy asset.  Overall, it drives downtime reductions for plant operators, which is crucial for reliable functionality and plant efficiency.  Downtime means loss of profit and productivity. The upgrades listed above can all contribute with each site having different needs and different paths to improve operational reliability. Control system upgrades are one of the most common upgrades considered:

Modern control systems can have the following benefits:

Image Suggestions for these bulleted points: include icons or small arrows symbols that show “increase” and “decrease” for each item.

  • Reliability – hardware and software optimization and the ability to provide large amounts of real-time and historical data increases reliability

  • Machine Performance – some older relay systems will see more accurate and often better overall performance and efficiency while operating as a result of accurate digital data.

  • Maintenance Planning – accurate data and feedback from the control systems improves maintenance planning.

  • Flexibility – modern control systems can allow you to identify and increase your operation envelope.

  • Spares – lower overall spares inventory costs, especially if the system used is already installed elsewhere in the facility

  • Operator Training Costs – using the same system across a plant can reduce overall training costs and increase personnel flexibility. Equipment suppliers typically provide more frequent, varied and cost-effective training courses than OEM turbine manufacturers

 

What are some of the main plant optimization upgrades that TTS provides to clients?

TTS has been offering innovative, technical solutions to the turbomachinery industry for over 35 years.  In 1988, we pioneered remote access and support for troubleshooting gas and turbine operational failures.  “When I joined TTS in 1999 as a Project Engineer,” says Morgan, “we were the first to provide cost-effective integration of control platforms from diverse OEMs to provide for remote worldwide access.”

With advancements like remote access and support, it has always been our goal to help energy providers and turbine owners to achieve unit reliability and fuel resilience in an ever-advancing market.

Plant Optimization through TTS gives operators a myriad of services to help improve operational flexibility and reliability.   Optimization services include:

  • Control Systems – on Rockwell Automation or Emerson RX3i platforms

  • Optimized Software Design – updated algorithms for protection and control

  • Human Machine Interface – increased access to data and operating information through clean concise graphics interfaces.

  • Historian – data gathering – key to troubleshooting and maintenance planning

  • Equipment Upgrades/Conversions – both mechanical and electrical system upgrades are offered

 

What are some examples of projects you have worked on to improve a facility via plant optimization?

Over the last three decades, TTS has established itself as a leader in the field of CT plant optimization and reliability improvements.  Our goal is to provide our customers with a complete array of services from state-of-the-art control systems on vintage units to performance testing on the latest “F” technology equipment.

Current/Past projects include the following

Legacy Asset Upgrade

In a recent project, TTS were asked to assist a customer who had legacy assets. These assets (three different gas turbine models and manufacturers) had at one time the capability to run on dual fuel.

Over time the ability to run on dual fuel had been compromised and starting reliability in either fuel had degraded to a point where the units were out of service for more time than available.

To address this challenge, TTS provide a comprehensive engineering, equipment supply, installation, and commissioning scope for the following:

  • Turbine Control System – based on Rockwell ControlLogix

  • Generator Excitation – based on Basler DECS-400

  • Generator Protection & Control System

  • Upgraded Instrumentation – switches, transmitters

  • Unit Rewire

  • Upgraded Electronic Fuel Valve Systems for both fuels

  • Application of the latest software control algorithms for the gas turbines.

  • Human Machine Interface

 

These upgrades applied to three different machine types but with a common platform, components and engineering approach met and exceeded the customers expectations for reliability and ease of maintenance.

Adjustable Peak firing is gaining traction in the market

Traditional peak firing increases unit firing temperature a fixed, incremental amount above the rated unit base load value. This increase can equate to at least a 2.5% bump in the output for the latest GE units during periods of high demand but because an increase in firing temperature boosts NOx production, the degree of incremental firing achievable above baseload may be constrained by NOx emissions

Adjustable peak firing is a valuable tool in cases where emission values exceed allowable limits before the unit reaches its standard peak firing limit. It allows the operator to increase the load to take advantage of periods of high electricity prices while staying within the maximum allowable NOx emissions dictated by their emissions permit. This mode is especially useful for merchant plants with simple cycle units or with combined cycle units with SCRs.

Implementation of adjustable peak firing can be tailored to specific site power output and emission limitation specifications and requires control system logic modifications, HMI modifications and combustion tuning necessary to install peak firing capability.  Adding this capability allows owners to take advantage of high revenue opportunities without risking compliance penalties.

If you have a legacy asset or project you are interested in making upgrades on, call or email TTS Energy Services.  We will come see you or meet virtually to discuss your challenges and offer a solution.

Contact Us Today!

Improve Turbine Flexibility & Reliability with Fuel-System Modifications

With the instability of oil prices, it is mission critical to control operating costs. Put your power generation needs in the hands of power generation experts, make sure you have 100% fuel availability.

Gas turbines are one of the leading sources of power generation in the United States, making their ability to produce consistent power crucial at all times. While natural gas is the most popular fuel due to its overall abundance, cost-effectiveness, and environmentally friendly status with modern advanced combustion systems, it shouldn’t be the only fuel source. Unpredictable global political and economic conditions, extreme weather conditions, as well as new discoveries in oil and gas exploration, can skew any forecast on fuel pricing and availability. By adding the capability to burn multiple fuel sources, gas turbine users can be prepared to handle these unexpected changes that arise. Not only can this increase their value in terms of improved versatility, but it will also ensure their availability to produce power under any economic circumstance.

A recent case where the importance of fuel flexibility has been needed are severe winters that have caught gas turbine users in gas curtailments. The winter of 2013-14 caused record snowfall, ice storms and arctic temperatures throughout the country and gas curtailment was commonplace for gas turbine operators.  One of the largest situations in recent years occurred in February 2011, where an arctic cold front descended on the Southwest region and brought temperatures below freezing and sustained wind gusts up to 30 mph. The area hit was extensive, complicating efforts to obtain power and natural gas from neighboring regions. Local distribution companies passed extensive curtailments of service during the event, where they interrupted gas service to more than 50,000 customers in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. During this time the surrounding gas production basins had decreased production due to low market prices and according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an estimated 14.8 BCF of natural gas production was lost, further complicating the effects of the extreme winter.

In any situation when natural gas costs are high or supply is hard to obtain, users that have the capability to burn alternative fuels, such as distillate liquid fuel, are able to continue to generate uninterrupted power.  And as in any economic situation when the supply of power is low (as during gas curtailments) the price of power rises. The importance of adding another fuel source to gas turbines has been proven to be vital to increasing reliability of power. Now, several utilities are making fuel flexibility a contractual requirement for their non-utility generators desiring contracts within the utility operating area.

With over 30 years of experience, Turbine Technology Services Corporation (TTS) has performed numerous fuel conversions to many different types of gas turbines and can provide the fuel flexibility that most power systems need.

For a consultation to discuss how TTS can improve your single-fuel gas turbine by converting it to a dual-fuel system, call Frank Hoegler at (407) 826-1800 or email fhoegler@ttsenergyservices.com


About TTS
TTS provides engineering and construction expertise for the energy industry, worldwide. The company’s long history and experience providing technical solutions to global energy entities makes it a leader in its field. TTS has successfully managed numerous power and compressor station modernization projects and supplied innovative and unique engineering solutions to challenging problems for our energy customers. Since 1983, their leadership and engineering teams have provided innovative technologies and engineered high-value solutions to over 450 clients worldwide.

TTS Announces New Sales Presence In Houston

Frere Brings to TTS Midstream 25 Years of Solution Selling Experience in the Oil & Gas Industry

[Orlando, FL, July, 2020] TTS is pleased to welcome Amy Frere to the TTS team as Sales Manager of TTS Midstream.  Frere will be responsible for sales team leadership, driving revenue, develop customer partnerships, as well as general management responsibilities.

Frere has twenty-five years of experience in the Oil & Gas industry, specializing in solution selling.  She has worked for major OEMs such as Emerson, Rockwell, Siemens and GE.  Additionally, Amy received an engineering degree from Texas A&M University.

Head shot of Amy FrereAs part of the TTS team, Frere will develop client relationships for TTS in the midstream market, and will be based in Houston, TX.  TTS Midstream is focused on engineered mechanical, electrical and automation and controls solutions for the Natural Gas Compression and Storage sector as well as other oil, gas and petrochemical clients.  In addition, TTS Midstream offers a wide range of field services from programming to total plant commissioning.

Frank Hoegler, President of TTS stated, “Amy is a seasoned veteran of the midstream and power generation industry.  We are pleased to have a continued presence in the Houston area and are always happy to add an “Aggie” to the team.”

TTS Midstream is part of the TTS Energy Services group of companies which also includes TTS Power.

For more information, visit www.ttsenergyservices.com


About TTS

TTS provides engineering and construction expertise for the energy industry, worldwide. The company’s long history and experience providing technical solutions to global energy entities makes it a leader in its field. TTS has successfully managed numerous power and compressor station modernization projects and supplied innovative and unique engineering solutions to challenging problems for our energy customers. Since 1983, their leadership and engineering teams have provided innovative technologies and engineered high-value solutions to over 450 clients worldwide.

To learn more about TTS, please visit https://ttsenergyservices.com/.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Frank Hoegler at 407.902.1344 or email fhoegler@ttsenergyservices.com.