German power plant uses metal AM heat shields and vanes in natural gas turbine

November 10, 2016

German power plant uses metal AM heat shields & vanes gas turbine

The Berlin Mitte power plant

The Berlin Mitte plant, operated by the German power company Vattenfall, is using additively manufactured first-stage heat shields and first-stage vanes inside a natural gas turbine used in a large power plant near Berlin. Developed by GE, the system incorporates the world’s largest AM parts found in any commercially operated gas turbine. Each part is said to weigh 4.5 kg and is around the size of a laptop. Together these parts help the turbine run more efficiently and burn less gas.

“3D printing is often thought of in terms of very small, complex components. We’re proving now that actually, you can commercially manufacture large pieces for turbines,” stated Wolfgang Muller, product line leader of GE Power Services’ gas turbine e-fleet. The turbine has been in operation since September 2016. “It’s a very important, district-heating power plant. It heats the capital’s feet,” added Muller.

When operators start the machine, the heat shields, which are typically made by casting, reach 1,000°C and must be cooled by air. The parts can handle the heat since the machine blows a relatively cooler air of about 400 to 500°C through channels cut into the components to lower their temperature. However, this cooling also reduces the turbine’s efficiency.

German power plant uses metal AM heat shields & vanes gas turbine

The world’s largest AM components found in any commercially operated gas turbine (Courtesy GE Power Services)

The use of Additive Manufacturing therefore allows GE engineers to create much more complex pathways than traditional metal casting. The structures include intricate air passages that cool the components more efficiently. Muller added that when all fifty or so heat shields on the turbine are additively manufactured instead of cast, they reduce cooling flow by more than 40%. “That’s millions of dollars in fuel-cost savings per year,” Muller adds. One turbine typically consumes 10 kg of fuel every second.

One of the hottest components in an operating turbine is the first-stage vane. By additively manufacturing portions of the vane, GE engineers have achieved a 15% reduction in the need for cooling air, which equates to approximately $3 million in fuel savings per year.

www.gepower.com

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 196-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Sintavia: New facility signals the move towards volume metal Additive Manufacturing for aerospace and defence
  • Thinking about metal Binder Jetting or FFF? Here is (almost) everything you need to know about sintering
  • Metal Binder Jetting and FFF: Considerations when planning a debinding and sintering facility for volume production
  • Velo3D: How a ‘support-free’ Laser Powder Bed Fusion process could remove roadblocks to serial Additive Manufacturing
  • New horizons for Additive Manufacturing in the oil, gas and maritime industries
  • Redesigned for Additive Manufacturing: Serial production of a new fuel swirler for Siemens gas turbine
  • Understanding metal powder requirements for Additive Manufacturing: Views from the industry
  • Towards a true digital twin for the metal Additive Manufacturing process
  • > More information

Latest news

    E-newsletter

    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter