Overview

This modernization, which included an Axial Fuel Staging (AFS) upgrade, was part of a broader project to extend the plant’s operational flexibility, achieve major integration, and decrease total emissions at turndown.

The background

Until this project, RaM and the Termica Milazzo plant—located approximately 500m from the refinery in one of the most beautiful parts of the Sicilian coast—were totally separated from both an electrical and automation standpoint. Now, all electrical energy consumption of the Italian refinery is totally supplied by the upgraded gas turbine, which provides sustainable electricity with cost-competitive economics.

The solution

After the AFS upgrade, the 9E gas turbine now has a turndown of less than 40% ISO nominal power, corresponding to a target of about 50-55% of the entire thermal combined-cycle performance, drastically lower than its former 80%. AFS also significantly improves the 9E’s part load efficiency, thus improving the emissions sustainability of the plant and leading to an estimated savings of about 20%, in CO2, CO and NOx emissions.  

Outcomes

Responding to a dynamic energy landscape

turndown after AFS upgrade

100,000

working hours to complete the project

650

9E gas turbines operating worldwide

6,000

fired starts on AFS fleet

"

The new combustion system configuration increased the flexibility, efficiency, fuel savings and, consequently the overall sustainability of our refinery. In addition, by reducing load minimum turndown of the gas turbine, we can match potential energy trading market opportunity and add new revenue streams by the ability to sell additional power range to the grid which we were unable to do before.

Gianfrancesco Licandro

RaM 's Process &Technology Support Manager

The lower load operation positions Termica Milazzo to respond faster to bidding opportunities in a region that experiences frequent shifts in grid demand due to renewable power fluctuations. The combination of lowering operating costs and capturing new revenue streams can help the plant grow its profitability through more competitive operating profiles.

The modernization of GE’s gas turbine was part of a broader project, including electrical and automation Integration. The project lasted three years, and took more than 100,000 working hours for engineering and site work. The main gas turbine modifications were assembled and installed by Fieldcore and spanned almost a year themselves, including the first start-up, operational commissioning and tuning, and test validations.