Path to advanced gas turbine driven
compressor control systems
With fluctuating oil prices, oil and gas executives are looking to invest
in technology to increase efficiencies. Gas Turbine World looks at how
technological advances in the era of the Industrial Internet are creating
opportunities to increase gas turbine and compressor operational efficiency
and drive predictive maintenance schedules.
An integrated turbine and compressor control solution can provide improved equipment protection through effective prevention and detection of surge events.
While executive leadership wants to optimize costs and plan for the future, industrial operators responsible for maintaining reliability of their gas turbines and increasing productivity rely on software to manage alarms and asset health on a daily basis. Emerging technology must meet the goals of each organizational level, because data from connected assets – including everything from the turbine to the compressor control – is now a critical component for business success.
Homero Endara, Product Line Manager for control solutions at GE Measurement & Control noted: “Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as GE, provide this software to oil and gas organizations, enabling them to customize software modules to meet their unique needs and improve the efficiency of existing turbine equipment.”
When assessing new technology needs for gas turbine and compressor control operation, there are a number of software, hardware and lifecycle management concerns to take into consideration. Based on the number of operating units and environment, each upgrade needs to be specifically tailored to the facility requirements. Unit control systems that take advantage of the latest advances in software and analytics have an opportunity to improve gas turbine and compressor operation significantly and protect against unplanned outage.
Life cycle management
The primary concern for oil and gas, refining and petrochemical applications (the largest market for compressor controls) is to determine how organizations
can maintain and enhance the performance of their most critical, long-life assets. These assets interact and rely on digital electronic components that continue to advance and require regular updates. The rapid growth and capacity of information technology (IT), which was initially forecasted in Moore’s law, continues
to double nearly every two years. Both the control system and human machine
interfaces (HMIs) that the operators interact with through software are advancing at a rapid rate. They require frequent patches, upgrades and even full replacement of compressor control systems. Maintaining and upgrading systems is critical not only for the performance of the gas turbine, but also to protect computing systems against increasing security risks.
Despite the speed at which computing components and sensors that monitor and drive the gas turbine are evolving, the turbine itself can remain in operation for years. The cost to take a turbine offline in the oil and gas industry, particularly if the system downtime is unplanned, can be millions of dollars each day. As a result, operators must weigh the existing limitations and challenges with their available budget to determine the optimal path forward.
Nate Martin, also Product Line Manager for control solutions at GE Measurement & Control, explained: “Operators can select to replace existing hardware and software, upgrade software systems or maintain legacy systems through specialized programs designed to help organizations maintain out-dated systems with spare and refurbished parts. Each path has its own set of unique considerations. It is important that both the immediate constraints and future objectives are taken into account when evaluating how to move forward.”
Gas Turbine World
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