A gas turbine’s engine is the heart of a power plant that churns out electric currents and energy. These machines are combustion engines that can convert natural gas and other liquid fuels into mechanical energy. The energy can then drive a generator that produces electric energy, which is then sent along various power lines into homes, businesses, and other structures.
There are two types of land-based gas turbines: heavy frame engines and aeroderivative engines and they can be extremely powerful. In fact, some gas turbine engines can generate 225 megawatts, equivalent to 644,000 horsepower, or the power of 644 Formula One race cars.
Keep in mind, these machines need to be carefully inspected in order to prevent costly and damaging issues from occurring. Since salt particles can be extremely damaging to a turbine, it’s important for regular inspection to identify whether or not these small particles are inside these machines. Once salt particles attach themselves to the turbine’s blades, they begin to attract other damaging particles like dirt, which can subsequently decrease the turbine’s overall power output by up to 15%.
Let’s take a deeper look at the turbine process and how it produces power:
- Igniting the air and fuel mixture — First, the gas turbine will compress air within and mix it with liquified fuel, which will then be burned at extremely high temperatures (nearing 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) to create a hot gas.
- The turbine blades spin — Next, the hot mixture of air and liquified fuel will travel throughout the turbine’s blades and cause them to spin very quickly. Additionally, the blades will actually turn the machine’s drive shaft because they are spinning so fast.
- Generator begins to be powered — As the turbine blades rotate, a rod inside the generator equipped with a large magnet and copper wile will begin to generate power; subsequently leaving to electrical production.
If you want to learn more about turbines and how they function or are in need of a thorough borescope inspection of gas turbines, give Advanced Turbine Support a call today.