Two new Essent CCGT plants in the Netherlands fire turbines for the first time

Source: RWE Group

Two new Essent power plants that are currently under construction, Claus C and Moerdijk 2 have undergone their ‘first fire'. This means that the power plant's gas turbine is put into operation for the first time. This is an important milestone towards the final completion of the power plants later this year (Moerdijk 2) and in mid 2012 (Claus C). 

Starting up the gas turbine releases flue gases of around 600 degrees Celsius. This heat is used to convert water into steam, which ultimately drives the steam turbine. Both the gas turbine and the steam turbine generate electricity through a generator.

Following an extremely successful construction period and a lot of preparatory work, the ‘First Fire’ process is a time eagerly anticipated both at the Claus and Moerdijk power plants. ‘It certainly hasn't been a piece of cake’, said Bart Beljaars, project manager for Claus C. ‘Earlier this year we had already conducted a small pre-test with a ‘First Ignition’, where the gas turbine was briefly put into operation. The remaining part of the installation has now also been completed, allowing the gas turbines to undergo protracted operation and further testing.’ For Moerdijk 2, the process of first firing has also been the crowning glory of the extensive preparatory work. Therefore, we really do consider the ‘first fire’ to be an enormous milestone’, says project manager Ray Bisley. Both first fires went well.

The Claus power plant in Maasbracht originally consisted of two 640-MW gas units, Claus A and B. The expansion and modernization of the Claus B unit to the Claus C unit was performed by the French company Alstom. The total capacity will increase from 1,280 MW to 1,920 MW. This will mean that the Claus power plant will be the largest power plant in the Netherlands. The power plant will then be able to supply power to almost 2 million households. This operation will also lead to an improvement in the efficiency being achieved, from 39% to 58.5%, whilst the C02 emissions will decrease by more than 40%. It is anticipated that the new Claus Power Plant will be completed in mid 2012.

The new power plant Moerdijk 2 is being constructed by General Electric. This is a 430-MW gas-fired unit, which produces electricity with a gas turbine, steam turbine and generator connected on the same shaft. In this unit too, the efficiency will increase to more than 58% and CO2 emissions will reduce by around 40%. Expectations are that Moerdijk 2 will be completed towards the end of 2011. This means that the total capacity of the Moerdijk complex will increase from the current 345 MW to 775 MW.

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