ASE40 gas turbine makes good impression at Quebecor print plant

20 December 2000

A Vericor Power Systems ASE40 aeroderivative gas turbine based cogeneration plant – installed to supply heat and power to Quebecor Printing Nevada Inc in Fearnly, Nevada, United States – started operation in September 2000. This IPP project, developed by QDI Inc, achieves remarkably low emissions.

Ask a major magazine printing works manager how his operations are affected by brown-outs and power cuts and you may encounter a mushroom shaped cloud of smoke. The results spell disaster for the delicately controlled variable speed motors of the high speed printing presses. An on-site cogeneration plant has much to offer such a facility.

A 3.1 MW Vericor ASE40 aeroderivative gas turbine has been installed in a cogeneration plant for a printing works in Fernley, Nevada. QDI Inc owns and operates the facility to provide 2.7 MW of electric power at the 4200 ft site elevation and 50 000 lb/h of steam to Quebecor Printing Nevada Inc, a division of Quebecor World Inc, which claims to be the world’s largest printer and publisher of magazines, books and catalogues. The new $5 million cogeneration plant began commercial operation in September 2000. QDI Inc delivers to Quebecor all the steam and electricity generated from the cogeneration plant under a power purchase contract.

The plant features Vericor Power Systems’ turnkey cogeneration package that combines the 3.1 MW ASE40 gas turbine with air inlet fog cooling and a heat recovery steam generator with duct burning for supplementary firing. QDI of Reno, Nevada, a full service gas and power solution provider, developed the project. Energy Service Credit Corporation, a division of Dana Commercial, organised the financing.

The project is fuelled by natural gas provided by QDI Inc. The cogeneration cycle thermal efficiency is 88 per cent, with most of the steam being used to recover solvent from the carbon adsorption system, a more environmentally friendly technique than flaring.

Honeywell Engines and Systems, a division of Honeywell International, Inc (formerly Allied Signal), built the ASE40 gas turbine at its Phoenix, Arizona manufacturing facility. Mendenhall Technical Services Inc (MTSI) of Cincinnati, Ohio, part of Vericor Power Systems’ worldwide supplier network, built the ASE40 package. The MTSI package was delivered on 19 June 2000.

Vericor Power Systems is a joint company of Honeywell International Inc, USA, and Daimler Chrysler’s MTU Aero Engines GmbH, Germany. The company, headquartered near Atlanta, GA, sells and supports gas turbines, packages and complete turnkey solutions for worldwide cogeneration, mechanical drive and marine propulsion applications in the range from 0.5 to 50 MW.

The size of the problem

At QDI’s dedication ceremony for the cogeneration plant, QDI president Shaun Maxwell pointed out, “In recent days, the Secretary for the Department of Energy has determined that most public utilities lack the resources to upgrade critical facilities. This degradation has called into question the reliability of the power grid that each of us has come to depend on. Indeed, throughout the United States last summer, blackouts and brown outs were frequent and the prediction is that they will continue to occur more often in the years ahead. At QDI, we have developed a wide spectrum of power solutions similar to the cogeneration and heat recovery system here at Quebecor.”

Emphasis was placed upon the observation, “Utilities have avoided making generation and transmission investments for the past five years in anticipation of deregulation ... causing current domestic grid crisis conditions.” Examples quoted were:

Summer 1999, Chicago Loop areas lose power 2-3 times in one week. Chicago Board of Trade suffers significant losses and files suit against Commonwealth Power.

Summer 1999, New York City loses power (as does Wall Street). NY City sues ConEd for lack of planning and investment in the power infrastructure.

Spring 2000, Pennsylvania experiences power “emergency” during early heat wave.

Spring 2000, California ISO issues Stage One Power Emergency Order on 22 May.

Summer 2000, Las Vegas issues yellow alert – first since the power utilities’ inception.

The energy situation at the Quebecor facility was summed up as:

Power reliability – Quebecor may experience up to 12 power interruptions per year at $5000/interruption = $60 000/year.

Power price volatility – With deregulation, Sierra Pacific Power Company will expose industrial customers to the market price of power by 2001. Market has already seen $6000/MWh, in the summer of 2000.

Steam plant expansion – Quebecor avoids $240 000 by 2002.

The present Phase I cogeneration unit at the Quebecor plant accounts for about half of the grid connection power. But with the installation of new printing lines, a Phase II addition is likely to be contracted in April/May 2001 which would supply the complete demand with only backup from the grid.

The Quebecor system

The small Vericor ASE40 aeroderivative gas turbine, even with its air induction and exhaust ducts is dwarfed by the size of the generator and the heat recovery steam generator. It is not much bigger than the epicyclic speed reduction gearbox drive.

The ERI heat recovery steam generator can raise from 20 000 to 50 000 lb/h of steam at 15 psig with the help of supplementary firing by Coen duct burners. CHP performance of the ASE40 in Vericor’s package is listed in Table 1.

Natural gas pressure needs to be increased by a Dresser Rand gas boost compressor while upgrades to the existing gas supply line are completed. Both power and emissions performance are enhanced by the increasingly popular combustion air inlet fog cooler, in this case supplied by American Moisturising (AMCO).

The gas turbine drives a 13.8 kV generator by Ideal Electric via an Allen Gears epicyclic reduction gear box.

NOx and combustion air evaporative cooler water polishing is achieved by a Zenon demineralised water system and an Osmonics reverse osmosis system.

Gas turbines

The ASE40 is an aeroderivative, cold end drive, free power turbine engine for a variety of industrial applications such as cogeneration, electric power generation, gas compression, standby and emergency power.

Vericor says that the engine represents a modular design that weighs less than any engine in its class, with the highest power to weight ratio in the industry It originates from the time-tested TF-25, TF-35, and TF-40 engines which have been proven for over 40 years in a wide variety of military, marine and industrial applications. The gas turbines benefit from the engine technologies of both DaimlerChrysler’s MTU Aero Engines and Honeywell.

The engine has a seven stage axial/centrifugal compressor feeding a direct drive, two stage, free power turbine via a reverse flow annular combustor. For power generation, as already noted, an epicyclic speed reduction gear is used to drive the generator. A modular design approach allows removal and installation of individual engine compartments for maintenance and repair.

Worldwide service

In June 1999, Allied Signal (now Honeywell Engines and Systems) and MTU Aero Engines announced they had agreed to form the $100 million joint venture company to be called Vericor Power Systems. The company began operating in October 1999. According to Tom Bray, Vericor Power Systems president, “Vericor Power Systems is initially focusing on Honeywell’s 3.1 MW ASE40 and 3.5 MW ASE50 gas turbines for industrial power applications, and Honeywell’s TF40 and TF50 marine engines.”

Vericor Power Systems honours an agreement established in June 1998 with MTU Friedrichshafen, manufacturer of diesel engines and packager of diesel engines and gas turbines for marine propulsion and industrial power generatioin sets. The agreement calls for MTU Friedrichshafen to package, market and sell Vericor’s industrial and marine gas turbines.

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