China showcases first 6F.01

By Junior Isles

The first GE 6F.01 gas turbine has begun operation at a combined heat and power plant in China. With its high electrical efficiency combined with high exhaust energy, the turbine looks set to carve out a niche in the global market for CHP plants of 150-180 MW.

Guilin, in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is a world-famous tourism destination in China, known for its stunning natural landscape. As it is developing industrially, the city is not only looking for cleaner energy but also a modern and efficient heat supply for many businesses including life science, pharmaceuticals and technology industries.


To meet this need, the start of the year saw the start-up of a new tri-generation facility. Notably, the new plant, owned by Huaneng Guilin Gas Distributed Energy Co. Ltd., marks the first project featuring GE’s 6F.01 gas turbines to enter commercial operation globally.


Optimizing the energy mix

Huaneng Guilin Gas Distributed Energy Co. Ltd. is a subsidiary of Huaneng Power Inc. (HPI), one of China’s top five power generation groups. Located in Guilin’s core administrative area,

Huaneng Guilin Distributed Energy Project is Huaneng’s first distributed energy program and the largest gas power project in Guangxi to date. With an investment of RMB1.4 billion ($221 million), the facility’s core capabilities cover gas and steam power, cogeneration power, as well as heating and cooling. The installed power generating capacity of the combined cycle cogeneration power plant is 210 MW.


The Huaneng Guilin project is a good example of China’s continuing clean energy effort. To optimize its energy mix and combat climate change, the Chinese government at national and local levels has put forward a series of favourable policies for gas power development. This is in addition to a pro-renewables policy that has resulted in China becoming the global leader in the deployment of wind and solar.


Commenting on the role of gas and the 6F.01 in this scenario, Josh Sater, Senior Product Manager at GE Power said: “China’s wind power increased by 30% and solar power increased by 72% in 2016, promoting the need of load peaking and natural gas-distributed power, which is well suited to meet those needs.


“GE’s 6F.01 gas turbine is the 50 MW gas turbine with the best heat generation capabilities, and achieves the best combined heat and power economic performance with the same investment – based on the electricity price of RMB0.6/kWh (US9.4 cents/kWh) and steam price of

RMB180 ($28.42) per ton.”


Featuring an innovative combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) configuration, the Huaneng Guilin project will be capable of self-determining its electricity output based on heat demand while also supplying heating and electricity to nearby factories. It is also capable of providing heating and cooling to surrounding public, commercial, and residential-areas.


Plant configuration

The Huaneng Guilin plant plant is connected to the China South Grid but its key customers are heat consumers. One unit will remain in operation at all times to support local heat demands,

with the remaining two units available for dispatch as power or steam demands change.


This is made possible with a 3x1x1 multi-shaft configuration. Each powertrain has a single gas turbine, HRSG, and steam turbine enabling maximum operational flexibility. Unit 3 also utilizes

a back-pressure steam turbine to support additional thermal extractions when called upon.


It is an interesting setup, one that allows maximum flexibility in terms of steam production and supply. “Basically, it’s a two-pressure system where there’s low-grade heat being extracted for district heating and extractions for high-pressure, or high quality, steam for some nearby industrial customers. Right now their number one [steam] customer is a pharmaceuticals company; and other industrial customers are coming on line,” said Sater. “When you look at the three units, they are all one-on-one configurations… with one of the steam turbines being a back-pressure steam turbine. This allows them maximum flexibility with what they can do

with steam.”


In terms of balancing the plant’s priorities in terms of electricity, heat and cooling, as a general rule the steam needs are served first, especially for industrial processes. Electricity production

is a lesser priority.


Guy DeLeonardo, GE Product Manager Advanced Combined Cycle Platforms said: “In terms of control, there’s a hierarchy of how to operate to get the right steam flows for the industrial requirements, and then the balance goes to the electrical needs.”

The Huaneng Guilin project in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. A good example of China’s continuing clean energy effort.

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