Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flowmeters improve turbine proficiency

Ansaldo Energia is using Micro Motion® Coriolis flowmeters from Emerson Process Management to provide highly accurate measurements of the volumes of air and fuel being used by gas turbines on a test rig at its factory in Genoa (I). The greater measurement accuracy provided by the Micro Motion flowmeters has enabled Ansaldo Energia to increase the performance and generating efficiency of the turbines it produces.

Ansaldo Energia is the largest Italian manufacturer of equipment for power generation. The company manufactures a range of gas turbines with nominal power ratings of 70 MW, 150 MW and 250 MW.

Gas turbines operate at very high temperatures with peaks of around 1200 to 1300ºC. To ensure durability and reliability over time, the turbine blades are cooled with air bled from the compressor which is located upstream of the combustion zone. The removal of this air, which could have been used in the combustion process, reduces the efficiency of the turbine. In order to optimise turbine performance, the smallest amount of air possible should be taken for cooling.

For many years, Ansaldo Energia tested the blades and vanes of its turbines by measuring air flow with calibrated orifices. However, the continuous development of the test procedures and the search for higher performing turbines led to the need for more accurate measurements of the air being used.

Resulting from a close collaboration between Emerson and Ansaldo Energia quality control, Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters are now being used to measure the air cooling flowrate during blade and vane testing to optimise performance.

Ansaldo Energia is also developing the application of Micro Motion flowmeters to measure the gas flowrate of the turbines during performance testing. This innovative use provides increased measurement accuracy and flexibility, as Coriolis technology enables the flowmeters to measure all types of gas and liquid fuels − without needing any further calibration.

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