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Proceedings of GT2008 Gas Turbine Technical Congress & Exposition June 9-13, 2008, Berlin, Germany

GT2008-50280
ECONOMICAL BENEFITS OF HIGHLY EFFICIENT THREE-STAGE INTAKE AIR FILTRATION FOR GAS TURBINES
Thomas Schroth Freudenberg Vliesstoffe KG, Viledon Filter D-69465 Weinheim / Germany Michele Cagna Freudenberg Vliesstoffe KG, Viledon Filter D-69465 Weinheim / Germany

ABSTRACT In recent years, users and OEMs of gas turbines are focusing more and more on the quality of the combustion air, since turbo machines have become more sensitive to fouling of the compressor blades. High-quality air filters are able to reduce the fouling on the blades and enable stable power output P and efficiency . Continuous development of filter media and filter construction have improved the filter performance in the past. Will there be further steps towards even better air filtration for gas turbines or has the development reached a plateau? The answer to this question can be found in an economic analysis taking into account a reduction of fouling due to better combustion air quality on the one hand and higher investment costs and higher pressure drop in the air intake on the other hand. The evaluations and calculations are accomplished at so-called static filter systems where air filters with depth loading characteristics are used. With static filter systems several steps of filtration are arranged in a sequence and therefore the examined upgrades of the filtration efficiencies can be implemented relatively easy so that the effect could be studied. A comparison of two- and three-stage filter systems for intake air filtration at gas turbines produces important findings regarding the most operationally costefficient filter sequence overall. The upgrade of the air intake system on the one hand resulted in an increased static pressure loss in the air intake causing reduced turbine efficiency and less power output. On the other hand at the same time the soiling of the blades mainly in the compressor section (compressor fouling) is lowered and as a consequence efficiency and power output are enhanced. The effects of a higher pressure drop entailed by three-stage filtration are compared with those arising from reduced soiling on the blades. In the cases examined, including case studies from actual operation, definite advantages are found for three-stage filtration with the filter sequence F6-F9-H11 in conformity with EN 779 and EN 1822. Even the modification costs for installing another filter stage

can be amortized in what will sometimes be significantly less than two years. 1. INTRODUCTION The purity of the combustion air for gas turbines is increasingly a major focus for the manufacturers and operators, since these machines, due to continuous technical design enhancements, are reacting with progressively rising sensitivity to soiling on their blades. Properly functioning filters in the intake air system will reduce soiling on the blades, thus increasing the power output and efficiency of the gas turbine involved. Repeated advances in the fields of filter design and filter media are enhancing the performance capabilities of the air filters being used. Will the efficiency of the air filters used continue to rise over the years ahead, or has a plateau been reached, and will the future more probably see stagnation at a high level of filtering efficiency? The answer to this question can be supplied only by a feasibility study, in which the advantages of even purer combustion air, and the concomitantly reduced level of blade soiling, are compared to the disadvantages entailed by higher capital investment costs for the intake air system and a higher pressure drop of the filters. NOMENCLATURE P : gas turbine power output : gas turbine efficiency t : time Cp : pressure drop power reduction coefficient

2. HOW AIR FILTRATION INFLUENCES THE OPERATING BEHAVIOUR OF GAS TURBINES An air filter system is required to significantly reduce the penetration of solid and liquid particles into the turbine under temporally fluctuating environmental conditions. The size of

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these particles lies within a bandwidth ranging from approx. 0.01 micrometer (m) to approx. 3 millimetre (mm), thus according to the size ratio between a tennis ball and a 10,000foot-high mountain. This analogy illustrates why filter systems are often designed in a multi-stage configuration, so as to capture large particles in the pre-filter and small particles in the fine filter. At a highly polluted location neglecting extreme situations like sandstorms the air can be expected to contain average mass concentrations of up to 0.2 mg/m or number concentrations per m of up to 30 million particles of 0.5 m and larger in size. A gas turbine with an intake volume flow of 1.5 million cubic meters per hour will ingest up to 30 trillion particles of 0.5 m and larger in size per hour (see Table 1). If a fraction of this dust penetrates the filters, it will either deposit on the blades or cause erosion, leading to reduced power output and impaired efficiency for the gas turbine [10]. The major effects for the deterioration include increased tip clearances, changes in airfoil geometry and increasing surface roughness [4,5,8,9]. In the case of locations near the coast, salt particles being transported in the air may reach the blades, where they cause serious corrosion and consequently shorten the blades lifetime quite considerably. The good water-solubility of many salts in any case poses tough requirements for the filter system, since water passing through may wash the salts out of the filters again, and transport them into the turbine. For further details on the causal relationships between typical particle sizes of air contaminants, particle concentrations at different locations, and specific deposits on compressor blades, please consult the publications specified in the literature under [6] and [7]. Table 1: Pollution levels of ambient air Typical concentration (by mass) of 0.010.2 mg/m airborne particles in ambient air Typical concentration (by number) of 1063107 airborne particles in ambient air particles/m A gas turbine rated at approx. 150 MW ingests approx. 20,000,000,000,000 particles per hour Good air filtration significantly reduces the amount of caked-on dust deposits (fouling) on the blades, thus delaying a temporal fall in the gas turbines power output and efficiency. If particles that cause erosion and corrosion are kept away from the gas turbines compressor, the blade lifetime will be prolonged. Offline washing for removing caked-on dust particles is one of the substantial cost factors. The washing procedure causes downtimes lasting several hours, during which no power or steam can be generated. In the case of a 150-MW gas turbine, an offline washing routine can mean lost revenues totalling EUR 30,000 to 40,000. Efficient air filtration is designed to significantly increase the time intervals between two offline washing routines, and thus enable the machine to be run for longer, with a concomitant increase in revenues. The lower costs for any washing agents used, or for fully

demineralised washing water for online washing routines should also be mentioned in this context.

Figure 1: Typical deposits caused by ambient air particles The overview in Table 2 shows the most important beneficial and detrimental influences that combustion air filtration exerts on the operating behaviour of gas turbines. Table 2: Influences of intake air filtration on operating behaviour of gas turbines Increase of power output and turbine efficiency thanks to less fouling on the blades. Reduction of maintenance costs by prolongation of the turbines lifetime because of protection of the blades (e.g. less corrosion / fouling). Increase of power output by extension of on- and off-line washing intervals. Reduction of the power output and turbine efficiency due to the additional static pressure drop in the air intake system. Besides the static filter systems explained in detail below, so called cleanable filters are also used for filtering the combustion air of gas turbines. The advantages and disadvantages of these filter elements, which operate on the principle of surface filtration and are designed to have the filtered dust removed with a pressure pulse (pulse-jet or pulseclean), have already been discussed elsewhere (see [6] and [7]). Cleanable systems are excluded from the analysis below, and will not be included in the basic analysis. 3. A COMPARISON OF TWO- AND THREE-STAGE FILTER SYSTEMS From a purely technical point of view, it is definitely possible to reduce the amount of pollutants in the intake air entering a gas turbine, by installing a three-stage filter system with a high-efficiency final filter instead of the two-stage system commonly used today. This would reduce the amount of fouling on the blades; however the average pressure drop of the filters would rise. In the analysis below, only two of the influencing factors explained above will initially be covered. The first of these is the increase in power output thanks to reduced fouling on the blades, and the second is the countervailing reduced power output due to an increased pressure drop. The criteria under scrutiny, adduced for

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examining the cost-efficiency of an improved filtration process are listed below: 1. Increase of the average power output and turbine efficiency due to less fouling on the blades when using a threestage system, 2. The thereto contrary reduced power output due to the increased pressure drop in the air intake system when using a three-stage system. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the two- and three-stage filter systems being compared, with filter classes defined under EN 779: 2003 (coarse and fine dust filters, see [2]) and EN 1822 (HEPA/ULPA filters, see [1]) serving as the starting point for assessing the air filter collection efficiency capabilities. For the conventional two-stage filter system, filter classes F6 (pocket filters) and F8 (cassette filters) were selected. This filter combination has proved its worth in many field applications, with useful lifetimes of more than 2 years for both the first and the second filter stages. The improvement in filtration is to be effected using the filter sequence F6-F9-H11. The first filter stage, featuring an F6 pocket filter, remains the same compared to the two-stage system, whereas for the second and third filter stages cassette filters of classes F9 and H11 are used. The upgrade job thus involves increasing the number of filter stages from two to three.

Figure 2: Two-stage filter system with pocket filters F6 and cassette filters F8

The first task is to mathematically quantify the adverse effect of the increased pressure drop involved. The causal relationship between pressure drop in the intake system and power output of a gas turbine, as shown in Figure 4, is adduced for this purpose; i.e. for each 50 Pa of increased pressure drop the turbines power output decreases by 0.1 %. With most gas turbines, the actual value is somewhat smaller than 0.1 %, so that the effect of a reduced power output level due to the increased pressure drop tends to be weighted rather more heavily in the calculations below than it actually is. The diagrams in Figures 5 and 6 show a typical graph for the pressure drops of the above-described two- and three-stage filter systems over the course of 9000 operating hours (approx. 1 year in base-load operation). They are based on the evaluation of monitored pressure drop curves for different machines with two-stage systems and the first installation of a three-stage filtration system. The pressure drop in the air intake system of a gas turbine depends on many factors like e.g. relative humidity, temporarily increased dust concentrations and fluctuating volume flow rate of the turbine. Therefore real life monitored pressure drop curves do not show such a smooth behaviour. The average pressure drop curves shown in Figures 5 and 6 result from flattening out short term fluctuations. The curves marked with two-stage system or three-stage system respectively, represent the total pressure drop of the two-stage or three-stage systems. The significantly lower pressure drop in the two-stage filter system can clearly be seen, with the average pressure drop over the entire year being approximately 300 Pa less compared to the three-stage system. In order to understand the reasons behind the reduced fouling on the blades, the comparison provided in Table 3 is helpful. The diagram compares the particle concentrations in the clean air for the two filter sequences F6-F8 and F6-F9-H11, in each case for three particle-size fractions in the as-new condition of the filters. In the F6-F8 two-stage filter system, for example, approx. 7.2 million particles of 0.3 to 0.5 m in size still reach the clean-air side of the final filter stage, whereas with the three-stage filter system F6-F9-H11 the figure falls to approx. 0.22 million particles. The filters efficiency is approx. 64 % in the two-stage configuration compared to 98.9 % for the three-stage system; in other words, in comparison to a twostage system the three-stage filtration holds back approximately 97 % of the particles reaching the clean-air side of the final filter stage. This reduced penetration through the filters in a three-stage system is the reason for significantly reduced fouling.

Figure 3: High efficient, three-stage filter system with pocket filters F6 and cassette filters F9 and H11

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Figure 4: Output and efficiency losses of gas turbines due to the pressure drop in the air intake system Table 3: Comparison of the filter collection efficiencies of two-stage and three-stage filter systems Particle particles in initial particle size atmospher efficiency penetratio m e of filtration n number/m number/m 0.3-0.5 0.5-1.0 1.0-2.0 0.3-0.5 0.5-1.0 1.0-2.0 20,000,000 4,000,000 300,000 20,000,000 4,000,000 300,000 64% 80% 95% 98,9% 99,9% 99,999% 7,200,000 800,000 15,000 220,000 4,000 3 3-stagefiltration 2-stagefiltration

Figure 5: Pressure drop curve of a two-stage filter system at 4250 m3/h volume flow rate per filter element

Figure 7 shows the typical logarithmic graph for the power output of a gas turbine operated with a two-stage filter system. The graph is based on the evaluation of measured power output data on different machines and the experience of different gas turbine operators concerning the recoverable power output after an offline wash. The measured data were approximated by a logarithmic function described in [3] and the coefficients were selected to fit the measured data for different operating hours on which the machine operated in similar conditions with regard to machine load, ambient air temperature and intake pressure drop. It was assumed that two offline washes per year are performed, so that after approx. 3100 h, the first offline washing routine is carried out, and power output capability is increased. The power output decreases again logarithmically, until after approx. 6200 h another offline washing is performed, and so on.

Figure 6: Pressure drop curve of a three-stage filter system at 4250 m3/h volume flow rate per filter element In the case of three-stage filtration with the filter sequence already explained, the decrease in power output is significantly smaller, and the time interval before any washing routine becomes longer (see Figure 8). In the example depicted here, taken from actual operation, an offline washing routine was not required within the 9,000 operating hours examined. The measured data were approximated by the same logarithmic function as for the two-stage system, however with a new set of coefficients fitting the three-stage system power output.

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Figure 7: Output losses due to compressor fouling and recovery from offline washing in a 2 - stage system

Figure 9: Comparison of two- and three-stage filtration: Fewer mechanical energy produced due to the higher pressure drop in the air intake The higher energy output, in accordance with Figure 10 is calculated by

P + = ( P3 stage P2 stage ) dt

(4)

Figure 8: Lower output losses and longer washing intervals in a 3 - stage system To assess the significance of this comparison, the diagrams in Figures 7 and 8 will be evaluated. The reduced amount of electrical energy generated is calculated by (see Figure 9)

Pp = C p PN p32 (t ) dt
where

(1)

Figure 10: Comparison of two- and three-stage filtration: More mechanical energy produced due to less fouling The difference in power output of the gas turbines with two-stage or three-stage systems is calculated at each time and integrated. For the same gas turbine, rated at 165 MW, this means additional energy output of 16,000 MWh over one year. To conclude the analysis, Table 4 shows the results of a comparison based on an electricity-generating power plant. For the 165-MW gas turbine, the additional annual revenues are calculated at EUR 189,000. This calculation must be regarded as on the conservative side, given the selling price assumed for

0.1% 50 Pa p32 = p3 stage p2 stage Cp =

(2) (3)

In the case of a gas turbine rated at 165 MW, the reduction in energy output over a year comes to 9,600 MWh.

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electricity, since the revenue for a megawatt-hour of electricity will usually be higher. Table 4: Compilation of the calculation results Less power output due to -9,700 MWh higher pressure drop Higher power output due to +16,000 MWh less fouling Total gain in power output +6,300 MWh Cost savings @ 30 EUR / MWh 198,000 EUR per annum @ 40 USD / MWh 252,000 USD per annum Besides the calculation performed on the basis of the pressure drop in the intake system, and deposits forming on the blades, improved intake air filtration provides other notable advantages not quantified here. The downsized amount of dust particles and liquid droplets passing the filters prolongs the turbines lifetime, and reduces the maintenance costs involved. Procurement of washing agents becomes almost totally superfluous, and there is no need to provide demineralised water either. The turbines availability and reliability are improved. By considering all factors, an operator using an improved filtration system can achieve additional annual revenues or cost savings of EUR 300,000 and more for the 165-MW gas turbine taken as an example above. 4. OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THREE-STAGE FILTER SYSTEMS Beginning in 2002, a total of 15 gas turbines have so far been equipped with three-stage filter systems and the corresponding operating behavior has been recorded. The machines involved are two Mitsubishi M 701F, two Alstom GT13E2, two GE Frame 9FA, two GE LM 6000, four Solar engines packaged by TurboMach, an Alstom Tempest and two Ruston Typhoons, with corresponding ratings between 4.5 MW and 232 MW, operated at facilities in Singapore, Indonesia, France, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. Despite a wide range of different temperatures, humidity levels, dust concentrations and other local conditions, none of the machines required an online or offline washing routine within an operating period of one year. The decrease of power output for all systems was less than 2 %, referenced to the power output in an absolutely clean condition, i.e. the operating behavior observed was more favorable than that depicted in Figure 8. The useful filter lifetimes for the various filter stages involved, including the Class H11 cassette filters in the third stage, were in all systems longer than one year and reached up to three years, though the ultimate useful lifetime has not yet been determined at all machines, because the final pressure drop has not yet been reached, and the initial set of filters is still installed. In offline washing routines carried out for trial purposes, the washing water remained clean, and no caked-on deposits of dirt were discernible when the machines were

opened up. The above-discussed effects of an improved filtration process have thus all materialized at the fifteen test systems, and the calculations can accordingly be verified. 5. SUMMARY A comparison of two- and three-stage filter systems for gas turbine intake air filtration reveals important arguments with regard the most operationally cost-efficient filter sequence overall. The effects of a higher pressure drop entailed by threestage filtration are compared with those arising from reduced soiling on the blades. In the examined systems, including case studies from actual operation, definite advantages are found for three-stage filtration with the filter sequence F6-F9-H11 in conformity with EN 779 and EN 1822. Even the modification costs for installing another filter stage can be amortized in what will sometimes be significantly less than two years. 6. LITERATURE [1] DIN EN 1822 parts 1 to 5: High efficiency air filters (HEPA and ULPA), July 1998, February 2001, Beuth Verlag Berlin [2] EN 779:2003: Particulate air filters for general ventilation Determination of the filtration performance, Beuth Verlag Berlin [3] Halgerod, K.; Veer.T.; Bolland O.: Measured Data Correction for Improved Fouling and Degradation Analysis of Offshore Gas Turbines, ASME Turbo Expo, GT2004-53760 [4] Kurz, R., Brun, K., 2007, Gas Turbine Tutorial Maintanance and Operating Practices Effects on Degradation and Life, Proceedings of the 36th Turbomachinery Symposium, Texas, pp. 173 to 185.
[5] Meher-Homji, C.,B., and Bromley, A., F., 2004, Gas Turbine Axial Compressor Fouling And Washing, Proceedings

of the 33rd Turbomachinery Symposium, Texas, pp. 163 to 191 [6] Schroth, Th., Rudolph, A.: Newly Developed Filter Products for Gas Turbine Intake Air Filtration, ASME Paper 96-GT-517: Publication Series Viledon, www.viledonfilter.co.uk /publications [7] Schroth, Th.: Customized filter concepts for intake air filtration in gas turbines and turbo compressors, Publication Series Viledon, www.viledon-filter.co.uk /publications [8] Syverud, E., Bakken, L.E., 2006, The Impact of Surface Roughness on Axial Compressor Performance Deterioration, ASME Turbo Expo, GT2006-90004 [9] Zachary, J., 2007, Assessing Performance Degradation in Gas Turbines for Power Applications A Challenging Task, ASME Turbo Expo, GT2007-27976 [10] Zwebek, A., Pilidis, P., 2001, Degradation Effects on Combined Cycle Power Plant Performace, Part 1: Gas Turbine Cycle Component Degradation Effects, ASME Turbo Expo, 2001-GT-0388

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