Energy is changing. In 2019, a program for the modernization of thermal power plants in Russia was launched. By 2028, it will make it possible to create up to 2 GW of capacities based on innovative domestic gas turbines. This means a confident transition of the Russian electric power industry to a more efficient steam-gas cycle and independence from foreign manufacturers in critical technologies.
Import substitution was made possible by the development of the first domestic high-power gas turbine. The launch of serial production of the modernized 110 MW turbine (GTE-110M) is the result of joint efforts of Inter RAO, the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs of the RUSNANO Group, and ODK-Saturn, which is part of the Rostec Group. Since 2013, their joint venture, the Gas Turbine Technologies Research Center, has been working on the modernization of the unit. The RUSNANO structure has invested RUB 1 bln in the project.
“In this case, it was very important to create a dedicated team that would be able to act as a customer for this project. The fact that the partners managed to agree on this, put up money, and equipment in order to hire this team and ensure its correct dialogue with all partners—that was our role,” said Yury Udaltsov, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of the RUSNANO Management Company.
The original installation had a long and complex history. The idea of transforming the ship’s gas turbine, manufactured in Nikolaev, into an energy plant originated in the 1990s. In 2001, pilot versions of the GTD-110 appeared, but the case did not come to mass installation due to the high accident rate. At the same time, the need for domestic high-power gas turbines in the energy sector was obvious. As part of the first TPP modernization program under power supply contracts (PSCs), which began in the late 2000s, the need was covered by importing Western turbines.
The new development team from the Gas Turbine Technologies Research Center managed to eliminate the defects of the turbine and prove the reliability of its operation in real-world conditions. Since June 2019, the gas turbine has been experimentally operating at the Ivanovsk CCGT unit, where it was successfully tested for more than 3,000 hours and continues to operate in the unit. In a few years, such turbines will appear at other power plants: GTD-110M is ready for serial production on the basis of Rostec enterprises. Developers believe that its characteristics and “economy” today are not inferior to that of the imported counterparts: power has grown to 115 MW, efficiency has improved from 35.5% to 37%, and in the steam-gas cycle complex—to 52%. This will ensure the profitability of work in the wholesale electricity and power market.
“For the first time in the Russian history, a high-power gas turbine has been created in Russia. This is the most complex product, which has passed all tests to date, is already working in the unified power system of the country and has proven its efficiency and economy. Serial production is ahead. This is an absolute breakthrough,” commented Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the RUSNANO’s Executive Board.
On the basis of the Gas Turbine Technologies Research Center, it was possible to assemble a competent team of engineers who has started with a deep defectoscopy of the existing turbine. For example, the entire hot tract, the part of the turbine that continuously works at temperatures close to 900 degrees—has actually been reassembled by changing both materials and construct. “We have upgraded the turbine with new knowledge and technologies in mind. All the thermal barrier coatings have been completely replaced. Both the combustion chamber and the turbine’s blades are now covered with new materials that provide heat resistance for all elements,” says Yury Udaltsov.
Thermal barrier nanostructured coatings were specially developed for this task by Plakart, a RUSNANO portfolio company. Burn-out protection allows to increase the service life of the product: the deformation of the blades, for example, is largely due to temperature.
“Ensuring the turbine life was one of the key tasks of the modernization. This is the most important factor in reducing the cost of maintenance, since the turbine runs for a long time. This way, we not only increased the life, but also reduced the cost of life cycle operation. Customers from the generation are watching this indicator carefully,” says Yury Udaltsov.
Overhauling turbines is an expensive and lengthy process. Power engineers have always estimated the whole complex of costs: the cost of acquisition, maintenance regulations, how often it is necessary to carry out major repairs, what will be the break in work. This way, the increase in the turbine life directly influences its competitiveness.
The developers sought not only to ensure the country’s energy security in the event of sanctions, but also to achieve comparable technical characteristics with foreign models, and they succeeded: the efficiency of the new Russian turbine is comparable to imported counterparts, while in weight and size it is one and a half times smaller and lighter, which makes its transportation and installation more efficient. Other advantages include the ability to run on gas or liquid fuel. In addition to the economic effect associated with reducing repair and logistics costs, the new turbine gives the energy system independence from foreign critical technologies.
Earlier, a domestic gas turbine of medium and large capacity (35-120 MW) simply did not exist. How to assess the scale of the project? While there are more than a dozen car manufacturers in the world, there are already much fewer well-known aircraft manufacturers. The number of countries able to bring the development of gas turbines to mass production can also be counted on one hand. The process of creating them requires a lot of time, money, and engineering competence.
“The cycle of development, manufacturing, bench and industrial testing takes many years. We needed to build the process in such a way as to minimize the risks of failure at each stage, because each next step automatically adds RUB 1 bln to the project and 2 years for production,” explains Yury Udaltsov. “The project management was also challenging, since many different components are involved, which should work at the same time, as well as many collaborators and engineering teams.”
However, thanks to the joint efforts of the industrial manufacturer, power engineers and the technology investor, the partners were able to bring the turbine to market level. Serial production will start in 2021.
RUSNANO Joint-Stock Company was founded in March 2011 through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. JSC RUSNANO contributes to implementation of the state policy on the development of the nanotechnology industry by investing directly and through investment funds of nanotechnology in financially effective high-technology projects providing the development of new production facilities in the Russian Federation. Its primary investment focus is in electronics, optoelectronics and telecommunications, healthcare and biotechnology, metallurgy and metalwork, energy, mechanical engineering and instrument making, construction and industrial materials, chemicals and petrochemicals. 100 percent of RUSNANO’s shares are state owned. Thanks to RUSNANO’s investments, there are currently 138 factories and R&D Centers opened in 37 regions in Russia.
Management of assets of RUSNANO JSC is carried out by Limited Liability Company established in December 2013, RUSNANO Management Company.
Work to establish nanotechnology infrastructure and carry out educational programs is fulfilled by RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs, which was also established during the reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.
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The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs was established in 2010 in accordance with Federal Law No. 211-FZ “On reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.” The Fund aims to develop the innovative infrastructure in the sphere of nanotechnology and implement the educational and infrastructure programs already started by RUSNANO.
The supreme collegial management body of the Fund is the Supervisory Board. Under the Fund’s Charter, the competence of the Supervisory Council, in particular, includes the issues of determining the priority directions of the Fund’s activity, as well as its strategy and budget. The Chairman of the Fund’s Executive Board, the collegial management body, is the Chairman of the Board of Management Company RUSNANO LLC Sergey Kulikov.