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Understanding Aero-derivative Gas Turbine

The aeroderivative gas turbine is a lighter weight variation of a gas turbine. Despite being
classified as a gas turbine, the fuel source for the aeroderivative turbine is not really gas.
Actually, they are designed so that fuel and air are mixed and then ignited to achieve the desired
output. The design of gas turbines is comprised of a compression device to facilitate the taking in
of air and compressing it (the “gas” in this case) and then applying heat by means of a burner.
The resulting flow of hot air is used as the source of powering the turbine. Today, these are
typically designed to make use of a combustion process that is continuous as opposed to the
intermittent nature of automotive combustion engines. Gas turbines have a long history of use
with successful commercial applications since the late 1930’s.

From an engineering perspective, the design of the gas turbine is less complicated than the more
commonplace piston engine. These units have essentially one moving part, however, the
complexity is in the high degree of exactness required in the manufacturing and the materials
used in their construction. Also, some of today’s designs will employ multiple shafts as well as
hundreds of blades.

Gas Turbine Applications

One area of widespread use of aeroderivative gas turbine technology is in
aviation where the power harnessed by the turbine is used to power a compressor. The hot air
that exits the turbine is used for thrust by forcing the air into the atmosphere via an exhaust
nozzle.

Gas turbines that are not being used in aircraft or other aviation related devices use some of their
power to source the compression device. The power that is left goes to drive an energy
conversion device, which could be a generator or perhaps a propeller on a vessel. Turbines that
are used for generating electrical power can be small enough to be mounted on trucks for mobile
implementations or enormous projects that require months to build.

Aeroderivative gas turbines usually weigh considerably less than those designed for land use.
The heavier industrial models designed for land use are referred to as “frame” machines. These
days the aeroderivative models are becoming more popular for use in electrical power
applications though more for peak and intermittent purposes rather than base power generation.

Advantages of gas turbines

 The capability of supplying relatively large amounts of power given their size
 A long life and low maintenance
 Can be brought online to peak production levels in minutes
 Can be sourced by a wide range of fuels
 No coolant is required since air is the working fluid

But modern gas turbines tend to run at much higher compression ratios. FGBs are installed because of insufficient gas pressure onsite or from nearby utility gas pipelines. pressures up to 300 psig (~20 barA) were adequate for most industrial gas turbines and were often available onsite or at an economical distance. The requirements of these compressors are a wide turndown range and the ability to handle supply gas pressure fluctuations. 2013 Once considered an occasional “necessary evil. for example. . To meet these higher gas pressure needs. vibration and oil. they required lower maintenance because of lack of wearing parts. centrifugal compressors do not respond well to changing gas conditions or gas turbine load reductions. On the downside. a FGB compressor can be deployed to raise and ensure adequate fuel gas pressure for the turbine. Centrifugal compressors were first used for low compression ratio requirements and were popular for a variety of reasons. For instance. lighter weight design of their rotating parts and because their gas filter and oil filter were easily maintained and replaced.Fuel gas requirements for aeroderivative gas turbines By TMI Staff & Contributors · On February 25. Compressor options Gas turbines are frequently matched with a fuel gas booster compressor.” fuel gas booster (FGB) compressors in turbine power generation facilities have become a common requirement. while delivering constant discharge gas pressure to the turbine fuel system. can require inlet gas pressures that exceed 900 psig (~60 barA) to operate efficiently. Other advantages included being almost free of pulsation. FGB compressor systems must be able to deal with turbine load changes (part load or start-up) and gas composition changes which alter flow rate needs. thus raising the inlet fuel gas pressure requirement. In addition. Aeroderivative gas turbines. Historically.