TURBODEN – Company profile

Turboden, a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries company, is an Italian firm and a global leader in the design, manufacture and maintenance of Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) systems, highly suitable for distributed power generation. ORC systems can generate electric and thermal power exploiting multiple sources, such as renewables (biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy), traditional fuels and waste heat from industrial processes, waste incinerators, engines or gas turbines. With more than 35 years of experiences worldwide and 350 power plants in 40 countries, Turboden offers ORC turbogenerators up to 20 MWe per single shaft.

The Oil & Gas sector is challenged to develop new solutions aimed to reduce CO2 emissions and improve its production processes sustainability, enhancing the process energy efficiency. The conversion of residual, low-grade heat into useful power represents a prompt and effective way to address both the issues.

As supplier of sustainable and energy efficient technology solutions, Turboden provides a concrete answer to current energy and climate challenges in compliance with the COP21 agreement and international initiatives such as the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI). The implementation of ORC-based heat recovery system appears to be the right choice to increase the efficiency of up, mid and downstream facilities, converting residual low-grade heat into useful electric or mechanical power. ORC breakthrough technology can be used either in gas compressor stations to recover high temperature exhaust gas streams from open-cycle gas turbines as well in refineries, where high temperature processes dissipate considerable amounts of thermal power; or to exploit flare gas.

The technology

ORC technology, thanks to the employment of a high-molecular-mass organic working fluid, permits an efficient exploitation of high-to-low temperatures waste heat streams. In addition, the specific features of these fluids lead to some technical advantages, such as high turbine efficiency (up to 90%), low mechanical stress of the turbine (low rotational speed,  low tip speed, moderate temperatures), no blades erosion, no oxidation, high efficiency even at partial loads and wide range of operation (from 10% up to 110% of the nominal load). These characteristics result in an overall heat recovery system that is completely automatic, with simple start-stop procedures and that has high availability and flexibility while maintaining long lifetime (> 20 years) and minimum O&M requirements and costs. In addition to these significant advantages, the ORC technology permits to develop power plant without use of water, which is a major concern within the power industry. Depending on the characteristics of each specific project, i.e. number of heat sources available for heat recovery, possible layout constrains, water availability on site etc., the ORC solution is designed to best fit with such characteristics. A wide range of technical solutions is available: different organic fluid can be used depending on the heat source characteristics; different heat carriers can be employed to transfer the thermal power from the heat source to the ORC system or a direct heat transfer is also possible;  air cooled or water cooled systems are available; etc.

All these features make the ORC technology very appealing in heat recovery applications from industrial processes as well as in combined cycle projects, downstream of open cycle gas turbines or reciprocating engines, where the implementation of such heat recovery system represents a way to meet not only sustainability targets, but also a profitable business.

Turboden field-proven experience

In 2011 Turboden successfully installed and put in commercial operation 1 MW ORC unit bottoming 1 Solar Centaur 40 in a TransGas gas compressor station in Canada. The ORC unit is a retrofit installation on an existing station and its integrated heat recovery system fully covers the compressor station captive consumption. It has been demonstrating until now an overall availability exceeding 98% with more than 36,500 working hours of operation. The ORC allowed a comparable fuel saving between 15 and 20% and its associated cost, without adding major operating and maintenance costs. The power plant showed a huge downturn capability (from 10% to 110%) to follow efficiently the gas turbine operation load. This project was Turboden’s first heat recovery application in North America.

In 2015 Turboden delivered and started up its first heat recovery power plant in Russia: a 1.8 MWe integrated combustion and heat recovery ORC-based solution with two independent boilers to efficiently exploit the Associated Petroleum Gas of a LUKoil oil field in Perm Region. The system is capable to work in power only mode, to cover part of the station self-consumptions, but also in cogeneration mode, to give additional thermal power, in the form of pressurized water at 95°C, to warm up refined products to facilitate their pumping into pipes.

Turboden latest contracts awarded in Oil &Gas industry are located in Uzbekistan, where two Turboden power plants will cover the captive consumption of two gas compressor stations. A 1 MW ORC power plant will exploit the exhaust of three GE LM16

00 gas turbines in Hodzhaabad gas compressor station operated by Uztransgaz. A 5.5 MWe unit will recover waste heat from one GE LM2500 gas turbine. Both solutions will be air-cooled condensed, making the systems water-free. The first customer opted for a containerized solution, suitable for climatic and seismic conditions of Uzbekistan, with consequent limited activities on site; the second one for a modularized solution, with compact footprint with 2-levels configuration.

Turboden fleet produced more than 15.7 thousand GWh and reached more than 13 million working hours so far.

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