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Evaluation of Air Filtration Options for an Industrial Gas Turbine

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher A. Perullo, Tim Lieuwen

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Josh Barron

Southern Company, Birmingham, AL

Dale Grace, Leonard Angello

Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA

Paper No. GT2015-43736, pp. V003T08A011; 9 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2015: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Coal, Biomass and Alternative Fuels; Cycle Innovations; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, June 15–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5667-3
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Gas turbines ingest large quantities of air during operation. As a result, large quantities of foreign particles ranging in size from smoke (0.01 to 1.0 micron) to pollen (10 micron) enter the unit and can contribute to both fouling and erosion depending on particle size. Fouling and erosion both lead to reductions in unit output and efficiency resulting in increased operational cost. Operators have historically combatted fouling through a combination of online water washes, more effective off-line water washes, and air filtration. As is the case with almost all engineering problems, the trade-off between the cost and effectiveness of these methods must be evaluated. Online washing is somewhat effective but has led to first stage blade erosion and unit trips in some cases. Off-line washing is more effective at cleaning the unit, but requires the unit to be shut down for extended periods of time. Air filtration can help prevent foreign particles from entering the unit, but higher efficiency filters are generally associated with a larger inlet pressure drop, leading to decreased unit output; this is balanced against reduced fouling rates. These tradeoffs between the costs associated with higher efficiency filters and the frequency of compressor washing need to be evaluated on a plant-by-plant basis to determine the best combination of air filtration and compressor washing programs. This paper presents a field study carried out to determine the effectiveness of high efficiency filters in preventing compressor fouling. Fourteen units at four sites were monitored over a 9 month to 3 year time period to determine the changes in unit performance and the impact of water washes on unit performance for both pre and final filters of lower and higher efficiency ratings. Results to date indicate that higher efficiency filters are effective at reducing the need for off-line water washes and potentially reduce life-cycle cost. Reduced output from the higher pressure drop, high efficiency filters is offset by the better performance retention offered from reduced fouling rates.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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