Overview

In the midst of a natural disaster that lead to a plant outage, Valero Energy needed to find a way to restore power and resume production.

The challenge

When their usual short-term power solution was no longer a viable option, Valero Energy needed to find something that was smaller and could be installed quickly in a confined area. 

The solution

As an answer to their power issue, GE provided Valero with TM2500 gas turbine that was easy to ship and install in a short amount of time. Fortunately, less than a month after the hurricane hit, the plant was able to restart production and significantly reduce their downtime.

Outcomes

TM2500 gas turbine saves the day after natural disaster

22.5 MW

Of power provided by the TM25000

6

Days later the TM2500 was delivering auxiliary power

In September 2005, the Valero Energy Corporation experienced its first shutdown in decades when Hurricane Rita’s 125-mph winds and 8-foot storm surge left much of the plant under 2 feet of water.

With local power service unavailable, the refinery needed a temporary system to provide power in order to resume operations. Short-term power is typically furnished by hooking up 20.1 megawatt (MW) diesel generating sets—a time-consuming and complex installation that includes a transformer, cabling, fuel tanks, and hoses. Valero needed a simpler, smaller system that could be installed quickly and fit into a tight space.. 

GE supplied the refinery with a TM2500 gas turbine, a blackstart diesel generator, and an automatic transfer switch. The TM2500 was developed in part to meet demand from both oil and gas companies for temporary distributed power during planned maintenance, as well as unplanned shutdowns, such as those caused by natural disasters..

The TM2500 provides 22.5 MW and fits easily into four trailers, one a piece for the turbine-generator, inlet filter, exhaust and backup equipment, making it more powerful and much less sprawling than a cumbersome string of diesel generator sets.

The TM2500 trailer storage made the system easy to ship, and the seamless installation process allowed for quick onsite assembly with little foundation or prep work.

A fully operational TM2500 system was delivering auxiliary power just six days after Valero signed the contract. This considerably shrank the refinery’s downtime. Within a month after Rita passed through, the refinery had resumed production well before the local utility could restore permanent power to the site.