Engineering a World-Class Gas Turbine [PODCAST]

GE introduced the F-class gas turbine to the power industry nearly 30 years ago. Since that time, more than 1,500 F-class machines have operated for more than 54 million hours. With available outputs ranging from 51 MW for a GE 6F.01 simple cycle unit to more than 1,000 MW for a 3×1 7F.05-based combined cycle plant, the F-class is a versatile workhorse around the world.

Don Brandt, former manager of GE gas turbine engineering, has been called the father of the F-class, but he is hesitant to accept all the credit.

“I can’t express enough the number of people and the skills—the broad skills—that made that F machine a success,” Brandt said as a guest on The POWER Podcast. “Just the little thing like the rolling of a thread became critical to the success of the F machine, because if that thread broke, you lost the continuity of the rotor, the rotor would vibrate, the machine would shut down, it wouldn’t be a success.”

During the interview, the 87-year-old Brandt reminisced about his career with GE. He joined the company in 1963 and quickly found his calling in the gas turbine business. From working with slide rules and computer punch cards to high-tech design using finite element analysis, Brandt has seen it all. Yet, what impresses him the most is the teamwork required to produce revolutionary gas turbines.

“It wasn’t me. It was hundreds of people doing really creative things,” Brandt said. “And that’s still true. I went down to Greensville this past spring to see the 9HA.02 prototype. They were gracious enough to bring me down there. And the work that those people are doing down there—the individuals, manufacturing, materials, design, you name it.”

Brandt is proud not only of the work he did, but also of the industry he supported. “The gas turbine business has really accomplished a lot to the betterment of society, and I gotta tell ya’, that thrills the livin’ daylights out of me.”

Hear the full interview on The POWER Podcast and learn what it took to engineer the innovative F-class gas turbine.

For more power podcasts, visit The POWER Podcast archives.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).