GE expands world-class gas turbine test facility in South Carolina

Source: General Electric Co.

GE (NYSE: GE) announced that it is further expanding the capabilities of its advanced gas turbine test facility. Located in GE’s Greenville, S.C., gas turbine manufacturing plant, the test facility will offer the capability for full-scale validation of its next generation gas turbines, heavy-duty compressors and gas turbine systems. The tests will be performed at full capacity and beyond and under “real-world” power plant conditions. The expanded capabilities will bring GE’s investment in the facility to approximately $170 million. 

Such testing of a new gas turbine prior to shipment should enhance customer enthusiasm about new technology advancements and increase the insurability of new products. It also reduces construction and commissioning cycle times at new power plant sites because the need for field-testing is greatly decreased. 

The facility will provide a controlled environment with additional instrumentation, enabling GE to acquire more data during validation testing as opposed to a traditional field validation approach. GE will be able to acquire data much earlier in the validation process, thus accelerating the maturation of new product designs. The richer, unit specific data and earlier availability can enable design enhancements prior to gas turbine shipment. 

The test facility is designed to help meet the global energy industry’s growing demand for new products to be thoroughly validated before the first unit is shipped. Reliability and availability over the first several years of operation form the foundation for the long-term success of gas turbine technology. 

Initially developed for the validation of GE’s recently upgraded Frame 7FA gas turbines, the facility will support long-term development and testing of a full range of GE 50 Hz and 60 Hz compressors and gas turbines. The facility has begun commissioning, and upcoming tests will include advanced compressor validation followed by full-speed full-load validation of the new 7FA gas turbine. 

“Our newly expanded test facility in Greenville will help enable thorough full-scale validation of heavy duty gas turbines at the factory site,” said Paul Browning, vice president—thermal products for GE Power & Water. “We’ll be able to validate a complete gas turbine system, duplicating conditions our customers experience at a power plant during operation. We also will have the ability to run variable speed, variable load tests to validate enhanced flexibility features.”

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