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Engine Drive Systems: Options - Gas Turbine

Combustion turbines are the primary workhouse of the power industry. Nearly all new power plants are combined cycle combustion turbines. Smaller versions can be used for DER (Distributed Energy Resources).

Small combustion turbines are found in a broad array of applications including mechanical drives, base load grid-connected power generation, and remote off-grid applications. Some cogeneration units are available, but the cogeneration package must be added to the basic turbine. Combustion turbines are also available in transportable configurations allowing them to be moved from one location to another.

Conventional combustion turbine (CT) generators are a very mature technology. They typically range in size from about 500 kW up to 25 MW for DER, and up to approximately 250 MW for central power generation. They are fueled by natural gas, oil, or a combination of fuels (dual fuel). Modern single-cycle combustion turbine units typically have efficiencies in the range of 20 to 45% at full load. Efficiency is somewhat lower at less than full load.

There are three main components in a combustion turbine generator:

  1. Compressor - incoming air is compressed to a high pressure.
  2. Combustor - fuel is burned, producing high-pressure, high-velocity gas.
  3. Turbine - energy is extracted from the high-pressure, high-velocity gas flowing from the combustion chamber.

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