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Gas turbine GE FRAME 3 / MS3002

In the 1950s, General Electric designed, constructed and installed hundreds of 2-shaft gas
turbines. The units had two, mechanically-independent turbine stages. The high-pressure (HP)
turbine powered the turbines own 15-stage, axial-flow compressor. The low-pressure (LP)
turbine drove another manufacturers load compressor (Cooper-Bessemer, Nouvo Pignone,
Dresser). These turbines were used primarily in the gas pipeline and petro-chemical industries and
remain in popular use today throughout the world. Large gas pipeline companies (ex: El Paso Gas
Company) and chemical companies (ex: Dow Chemical) purchased these turbines to drive
variable-speed load compressors.
The first generation of MS3002 gas turbines (a.k.a. Frame 3) delivered approximately 7,000
horsepower to the load compressor operating at approximately 6,000 rpm. Later models were
rated at 11,000 hp at approximately the same speed. As the demand grew, designs improved to
include a model series MS5002 (a.k.a. Frame 5) gas turbine. Most two-shaft turbines burn natural
gas, because it was readily available at the plant.
Fig. 8-1 shows a factory isometric view of a frame 3 gas turbine. The accessory base is in the
lower right-side foreground. A tilted compressor inlet is shown in the center. Also, three of the
six turbine combustors are shown on the far left, partially assembled. This configuration allowed
for shipment on rail cars or trucks.

Fig. 8-1: Factory View of MS3002 Gas Turbine (circa 1968)

Hundreds of GE Frame 3s are still used to deliver natural gas from the Gulf Coast of the USA to
consumers in Northeastern and Central regions. Others are used in process industries in chemical
plants, many of which are also along the coast from Texas to Louisiana. These turbines are also
popular in oil refineries, most of which are located in the southern states.

Fig. 8-2: Diagonal Factory View of MS3002 Turbine on the Half Shell (circa 1973)
Many MS3002 gas turbines were regenerative (R) cycle units. This type takes on the abbreviation
MS3002R. Regenerative-cycle units became popular because of their improved thermal efficiency
(i.e. reduced heat rate). A heat exchanger, like the one shown in Fig. 8-5, transfers exhaust heat
to the compressor discharge air reducing fuel consumption.

Fig. 8-3: HP Turbine (left) and LP Turbine Stages

Fuel consumption (that is, the BTU burned in each hour of operation) is divided by the
horsepower (hp) developed in the load compressor to calculate heat rate: HR = BTU/HP-hour.
Variable-speed load devices (that is, compressors not generators) are best suited for using 2-shaft
gas turbines. The two compressors, by design, typically operate at two different speeds. The
variable-area, second-stage turbine nozzles (abbreviated: VASN), located between the HP and LP
turbines, allow for the division of thermal energy between stages, so that each can operate at their
respective optimal speed.
Fig. 8-4 shows a side view of a MS3002 gas turbine. The turbine shell (see item #3 in the photo)
shows the outer linkages and control ring of the VASN. These nozzles act as the energy divider
between the two turbine stages. The hot gases from the combustion system pass through the HP
section (Stage 1) before it continues through the LP section (Stage 2). The nozzles between the
stages are controlled to optimize the division in energy per the speed setpoints for each shaft. The
speed setpoints for the HP and LP turbines are determined by the horsepower requirements and
the turbine exhaust temperature limit for the operating conditions of the particular time of day.

Fig; 8-4: Side View (#3 above shows Variable-area, Second-Stage Nozzles
The schematic shown below in Fig. 8-5 shows a typical regenerative cycle gas turbine (plan and
elevation views). Arrows depict the air flow to/from the regenerator and turbine exhaust. Study

this diagram to better understand the gas flow and heat exchanged from the exhaust to and the
compressor discharge air.

Fig. 8-6: Schematic Diagram of typical simple cycle MS3002 Gas Turbine

Fig. 8-7: MS3002 Regenerator and Exhaust

The petro-chemical industries of the world have successfully used 2-shaft gas turbines to drive
load compressors for over 60 years. Most are regenerative-cycle turbines that allow exhaust heat
recovery to minimize fuel consumption. Base load operation, where these turbines run
continuously during the plant manufacturing processes, or along the gas pipelines northward from
the Gulf Coast, is the best application for efficient use. The General Electric designs described
herein have been very successful. In recent years, GE purchased Nouvo Pignone of Italy to offer
both the 2-shaft gas turbines and the load compressors in a packaged arrangement.
Tags: Combustion, combustor, control systems, Gas turbine generators, gas turbines,
regenerative cycle, regenerator
Posted in Peaking Power by dlucier. 5 Comments