Just as GE Energy, Siemens, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in May announced gas combustion technology developments—each seeking to push the 60% barrier with new gas turbine designs—Alstom has quietly been upgrading its KA26 combined cycle power plant. (See the July 2011 “Global Monitor” for more information on the GE, Siemens, and MHI turbines.) The firm says that the next generation of the 500-MW power plant, based on the advanced class GT26 gas turbine, features “achievable” efficiencies of over 61%, increased flexibility, and more than 350 MW, which can be delivered in less than 15 minutes to help integrate renewable energy sources (Figure 3).

3. Battle of the Titans. Like GE Energy, Siemens, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Alstom has been developing a gas turbine that pushes the 60% efficiency barrier. The company’s KA26 combined cycle power plant—based on an upgraded GT26 gas turbine—is being tested at the company’s full-scale test power plant in Birr, Switzerland. Courtesy: Alstom

Alstom introduced two similar sequential combustion gas turbines—the GT26 for the 50 Hz market and the GT24 for the 60 Hz market—in the mid-1990s. The improved GT26 gas turbine is being tested at Alstom’s full-scale test power plant in Birr, Switzerland, a facility that is equipped with a dual-fuel GT26 and a dual-fuel high-temperature technology demonstration unit that is dispatching to the Swiss electrical grid. According to a recent company white paper, as of June 6, full load had already been achieved.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.