With permits for adding more electrical output becoming harder to get, more manufacturers are retrofitting existing turbines to maximize efficiency.
For instance, an aluminum plant in Dubai needed to add 100 megawatts in generating capacity without adding additional turbines. Dubai Aluminum turned to GE Energy to modify its turbines, which now have tighter seals, improved airflow and a higher firing temperature, reports PlantServices.
The changes boosted output by 13 percent and decreased NOx emissions per unit of output by 15 percent while using the same amount of fuel. Dubai Aluminum contracted with GE for the changes in August of 2009 for $45 million, reports TopNews.
If a manufacturer simply wanted to maintain operating levels and decrease fuel use and emissions, this also could be accomplished via a retrofit, according to the article.
Another method to optimizing turbine efficiency is simply keeping them clean and in tip-top working order.
Gas Turbine Efficiency plc conducted a study recently that showed installing compressor wash systems meant increased electrical output, while avoiding unscheduled downtime, according to a press release.
A Texas utility that installed such a system also was able to decrease its NOx emissions nearly 2,000 pounds a year.