Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has begun the commissioning phase of T-Point 2, its new combined cycle power plant validation facility at Takasago Works in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. It is now operating under full load, ahead of schedule. Replacing the original T-Point, the facility is aimed at accelerating technology development and enabling ‘more robust’ validation of advanced-class gas turbines (ACGTs) such as the 1650℃-class JAC model and 1700℃-class ultrahigh-temperature models. Like its predecessor, T-Point 2 is  the only facility in the world that performs full-scale long-term reliability verification for gas turbines. Connected to the grid, it is the only plant of its type in the world to function as both a technology demonstrator and a power producer and supplier. Also housed within Takasago Works are centres for R&D, design, manufacturing, and short-term component testing.

Once commercial operations begin in July 2020, T-Point 2 is expected to achieve a power output of over 566 MW (60Hz), with an efficiency of nearly 64%, 99.5% reliability and a world-first turbine inlet temperature of 1650℃. The efficiency rating is claimed to be the highest achieved for a GT. This improved performance is possible due to the engineering of the upgraded J-Series Air-Cooled (JAC) model, which is the first gas turbine being validated at T-Point 2.

The new facility features a triple-casing steam turbine, augmenting overall system efficiency through a multiplier effect with the JAC gas turbine. This greater efficiency reduces carbon emissions and heat loss, significantly reducing the environmental impact of T-Point 2.

MHPS will use the facility to carry out validation of the next-generation 1700℃-class ultrahigh-temperature gas turbines, steam turbine upgrades, air-cooled condenser technology, generators, and static frequency converters.

Work is underway to install and train advanced artificial intelligence technology at T-Point 2, which will feature the MHPS-TOMONI suite of digital solutions. During the 8000 hour durability demonstration period, MHPS will also be training its AI apps, allowing T-Point 2 to eventually become the world’s first autonomous combined cycle power plant. This is designed to create a control structure in which digital technologies are fully integrated into plant operations, allowing plant owners to leverage data to optimise performance, enable condition-based predictive maintenance for equipment, selectively automate operation and maintenance decision-making, and reduce risk.

With these building blocks, MHPS intends to remotely monitor and manage total plant performance; remotely operate the plant in co-ordination with grid and fleet-wide energy management objectives; and utilise sensor and control system data to make smarter operation decisions in real time.