The picture shows the first HA gas turbine being manufactured at GE’s Belfort facility in France

GE has introduced a new all-air-cooled version of its H class gas turbine technology. Called the HA (the A standing for air-cooled) the first machine off the production line, a 9HA (50 Hz) version, is currently on its way from GE’s gas turbine factory in Belfort, France, to its $185 million Greenville (SC) gas turbine test bed, where, fitted with additional instrumentation, it will undergo 14 weeks of exhaustive full scale full load testing.

The second HA machine off the production line at Belfort, also a 9HA, will be deployed at EDF’s Bouchain FlexEfficiency 50 combined cycle plant in France, which is currently under construction (and is GE’s lead FlexEfficiency 50 project), with commercial operation scheduled for 2016.

A number of other GE HA projects are in the pipeline, including an order for six 7HA (60 Hz) gas turbines from Chubu Electric in Japan and an order for a 9HA from another Japanese utility. There is also a "tremendous amount of bid activity", says Vic Abate, president and CEO Power Generation Products, GE Power & Water.

In GE terminology, "H class" is essentially defined as a firing temperature in excess of 2600 deg F (about 1426 deg C) and up to about 2900 deg F (1600 deg C), with pressure ratio of 21:1, in conjunction with a four-stage power turbine (E class referring to firing temperatures of about 2000-2200 deg F and F class to 2300-2600 deg F).

GE commercially introduced its H class technology around ten years ago, the lead project being a 9H at Baglan Bay in the UK, followed by three more 9H units at Tepco’s Futtsu plant in Japan and two 7H gas turbines at the Inland Empire Energy Center in the USA.

But these GE H class gas turbines (which have now amassed around 200 000 operating hours, says GE) employed steam cooling of turbine components, including, remarkably, rotating parts. The new HA, however, can achieve combined cycle net efficiency of around 61.5% (ISO conditions) employing air cooling only.

GE says the new HA turbine "leads the industry in terms of output", with a unit size of over 470 MWe (the 9HA.02 model). The 9HA.01 version is rated at 397 MW.

Further details will be published in MPS, April 2014 edition. For further information or to track the progress of the first HA gas turbine from Belfort to Greenville visit or follow the turbine on Twitter @HArriet_GE.

Photo: The first HA gas turbine being manufactured at GE’s Belfort facility in France