Siemens enters steam turbine market for geothermal power projects

Siemens SST-400 Geo Package Turbine unit (source: Siemens)
Alexander Richter 7 Nov 2011

Siemens enters the geothermal turbine market with its SST-400 Geo package turbine unit, that are built upon Siemens market leadership in steam turbine technology and the geothermal expertise of its subsidiary TurboCare.

At the recently held GEA Geothermal Energy Expo 2011 in San Diego, Siemens, one of Germany’s largest industrial players announced its entry into the geothermal energy market.

The company is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors and – according to the company – leader in the steam turbine market. So the entry into the geothermal market is maybe not so surprising.

The company already made an entry into the geothermal market several years back by its involvement in the build up of one of the first geothermal power projects in Germany, the Unterhaching combined geothermal heat and power plant. There Siemens provided the power generation technology by building the first Kalina plant in the country.

The array into the geothermal power market now though is focused on providing steam turbines that will be in direct competition with the market leaders in the geothermal market, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Fuji.

Siemens works closely with its U.S. subsidiary TurboCare.  TurboCare is by far no new entry to the geothermal market, as it has extensive experience working with geothermal power plants. The company has provided a wide range of products and services for geothermal applications, including providing refurbished turbines for new geothermal plants, uprating existing steam turbines, repairing damaged equipment and supplying replacement parts.

Now TurboCare and Siemens have developed a 60 MW steam turbine for geothermal power plants. It combines the casing and turbine-generator package with the steam path technologies developed, tested and applied by TurboCare. The turbine, called SST-400 steam turbine can be deployed in geothermal power plants with different thermal fluids.

The SST-400 GEO steam turbine can be deployed in geothermal power plants that operate with superheated direct steam (dry steam) or with saturated steam produced on pressure reduction of the thermal fluid (flash principle). The turbine can also be deployed in the direct or flash steam cycle of combined direct or flash steam/binary systems (flash/binary combined cycle).The low steam parameters and the aggressive constituents of the thermal fluid sometimes result in extensive corrosion. As a result, these plants require specially adapted steam turbines. The features demanded include special high-grade materials to combat corrosion and to prevent fatigue-related crack formation and fractures. The SST-400 GEO is suitable for live steam temperatures up to 250°C, with steam pressures up to 12 bar absolute, and includes resource- and turbine-stage-specific high-grade materials as well as special features for moisture removal at every stage.

Turbocare has some years of experience in this market, for example with its work on the turbine refurbishment of the 62 MW NCPA plant in the U.S.

The company sees an increasing demand for geothermal steam turbines, primarily in Asia. “As a market leader in steam turbine technology the step into the geothermal steam turbine market is a natural step and Siemens considers itself to be optimally set up and well positioned in the market place over the long term”, said Werner Altmeyer, VP for Global Marketing and Sales Industrial Power at Siemens in an interview with ThinkGeoEnergy.

So with an increasing competition in the  market for binary power generation units, to see a new market entry into the flash/ steam market is a good sign and are good news for the geothermal industry.

At the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, Siemens gave this video interview with Renewable Energy World.