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Siemens improving efficiency of steam turbines; more power from same heat

Siemens is making its industrial steam turbines more efficient and more flexible. The upgrade is based on an improved design that increases the efficiency of the turbines by up to two percentage points. In addition, the redesigned turbines can be started up much more quickly—in the best case, in only half the time that was previously needed.

With the improved turbines, biogas plants, combined gas and steam turbine generating plants, and smaller coal-fired power plants can produce more electricity than before from the same amount of primary energy. In industrial plants the new turbines can be used to utilize the waste heat even more efficiently.

Plants that don’t produce electricity continuously, such as solar thermal power plants, reap extra benefits from the much shorter warm-up times.

The design combines a variety of concepts from the existing Siemens turbine families and in effect brings together the best individual solutions. The most important factor responsible for the increase in efficiency is the optimized shape of the turbine blades. There has also been an improvement in the seals between the individual turbine stages, so that as much steam as possible reaches the blade wheels and contributes to the generation of electricity.

One important improvement is a reduction of the warm-up times needed to bring the turbine to a uniform operating temperature. During this start-up period, no mechanical stresses resulting from different rates of thermal expansion in individual parts can be tolerated. Depending on the turbine type and the field conditions, the warm-up time of an industrial steam turbine can last from a few minutes to several hours. The new turbines have a symmetrically structured outer casing that heats up more uniformly than before. They are also more lightweight and warm up faster.

These improvements were achieved through the use of new materials and a design that makes do with less material overall. The improved warm-up behavior reduces mechanical stress during the start-up and shut-down phases and thereby extends the service life of the turbine. The new “Enhanced Platform Design” is the foundation of the coming generation of industrial steam turbines. Siemens is introducing this design step-by-step for turbines with outputs between 15 and 250 megawatts.

Comments

mahonj

This is important - turbine efficiency gains are always good, and the ability to start them up more quickly will make it easier to track intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar.
I wonder how long it will be before we see this in action, and how much extra it will cost.

ToppaTom

Harvey! Why wasn't this done 50 years ago?

D

Since I have patents in this technology, it wasn't economically feasible until recently. Previously the turbine blading would fail due to fatigue stresses. New materials and alloys were undoubtably recently developed.

But I'm sure that the usual suspects will think it's all a C-O-N-S-P-I-R-A-C-Y !!!

HarveyD

TT....many things could have been done 50+ and even 100+ years ago. Two examples are electrified vehicles and e-trains. They were both designed 100+ years ago but they are still rare in too many places, specially in USA.

Financial interests of the 1% to 3% (not always people's interest) too often dictate what is done and what is not done. USA moved from very efficient railroads to inefficient highways to satisfy trucks and cars builders and Oil Industries, almost one century ago. Had the $$$$B spent on those inefficient vehicles been invested into ultra high speed e-trains, USA would be fully equipped today with up to 200,000 miles of electrified railroads, people and cargo could be moved at very high speed with 3 to 4 times the efficiency of the current vehicles. The yearly savings in Oil, time, maintenance, insurances, road accidents etc could pay for the national debt in a very short time.

Instead, USA had to wage many costly oil wars and the dislikes that come with them.

ToppaTom

Is Harvey working for D?

Another conspiracy?

He has proven him right.

Offhand I can think of few things that were ignored for 50 years (or even 10) because of selfish motives or conspiracies.

Usually there is no supporting knowledge or technology, no need, insufficient demand, etc.

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