Our unique methods to increase reliability
Gas turbine technology has rapidly advanced over the past few decades, reaching higher power output and higher efficiency. If the gas turbine falls unpredictably, it will cause significant losses to the power supply. To prevent unpredictable failures, and to provide the customers with greater peace of mind in using Mitsubishi Power’s gas turbines, here we would like to introduce our unique methods to show what we have done in the past, and our future plans. Utilizing the latest verification facilities, our development, design, and manufacturing teams work together to make our gas turbines more reliable.
How difficult to develop reliable gas turbine technology?
Gas turbine is a power generation equipment similar to a huge jet engine. It is like placing the engine of a jet aircraft on the ground, and using the power of the engine to drive the windmill (turbine) to rotate at a very high speed and generates electricity. Since it’s combustion is operated at extremely high temperatures and rotated at high speeds, unexpected problems could cause severe accidents. For that reason, we exercise extreme care in developing and commercializing these turbines.
How do we provide safe products?
In order to provide customers with highly reliable power generation equipment, Mitsubishi Power integrates R&D, design, and manufacturing, and full-scale validation in one single location. The “T-Point*,” the only power plant in the world used for full-scale long-term reliability validation, was built at the company-owned Takasago Machinery Works facility in 1997.” ※1 : T-Point is short for “Takasago Point The verification plant is operated in the same way as an actual power plant while being connected to the local power grid. Specifically, we carried out the verification of 330-389MW gas turbines for two years (at least 8,000 hours in spring and fall). By feeding back the validation results to all the relevant parties simultaneously and analyze the problem and take necessary countermeasures for improvement, the company successfully minimized the non-conformities.
Verifying and commercializing the latest gas turbine
Mitsubishi Power’s vision for the T-point facilities came about 30 years ago, when the company recognized that actual operation of new and more advanced gas turbines can reveal issues that are very difficult to predict on the drawing board, or in the first few hundred hours of operation. For example, low cycle fatigue, thermal fatigue, creep, and thermal barrier coating deterioration are just a few failures that can severely impact turbine operation and life, and likely come with high unexpected repair costs. These failure modes take longer to develop and detect. T-Point 2 was built as a replacement for the original T-Point GTCC verification facility and began operating in July 2020. The aim of T-Point 2 is to verify the latest gas turbine technologies for higher temperatures, higher efficiency, and how to reduce NOx emissions. It is a combined cycle power generation facility with large state-of-the art gas turbine with a total power output of 566MW. Here we have successfully verified next-generation technologies of gas turbines.
The steady and continuous approach for reliability enhancement
While this validation process extends the overall product development schedule, Mitsubishi Power’s philosophy is to invest in time for high reliability. This investment in time during the validation process translates to less troubleshooting issues at the customers’ expense once the product is purchased, and it helps reduce unplanned downtime—saving costs, minimizing forced outages, and increasing unit availability. The commitment to long-term validation testing, coupled with aggressive research and development, sophisticated design capabilities, a focus on high-quality manufacturing and advanced technical service skills training…all of these elements eventually results in the achievement of the industry leading reliability as 99.5%.
In order to meet our customers’ requirements, as an upgrade part to T-Point 2, Takasago Hydrogen Park is currently under construction, and it will be used to verify the most advanced hydrogen combustion technology. More details of Takasago Hydrogen Park will be delivered at following article.