Siemens developed a software that cools steam turbines more rapidly. This shortens the maintenance phase. An operator can bring a power plant back on line sooner. A revision interrupts the generation of electricity. Depending on the type of a steam turbine the software allows to shorten the cooling period from seven to ten days to two to four days. A gas turbine normally cools down in a single day.
Maintenance can only start if both turbines have cooled down completely. Siemens uses a faster cooling process for steam turbine for some time, called "forced cooling". Until now, that has meant an enormous amount of work for the customer's maintenance personnel. The temperature and the rate of cooling had to be checked every 15 minutes. If necessary, a valve had to be adjusted manually to alter the amount of cooling air.
This process is also improved by the software. Working with turbine commissioning experts, Siemens steam turbine developers in Mülheim achieved that the cooling process is handled by the installed control system. The new program called "fast cooling" does not only shorten the maintenance period, it also simplifies the work to be done by avoiding about 290 manual procedures. This also helps to avoid procedures prone to errors. The "fast cooling" process was successfully tested in a combined cycle power plant in Germany. Now the experts want to further develop the software and establish it as standard equipment for this type of steam turbine. Alongside all future installations, this method could be applied to optimize about 250 existing facilities.
Explore further: Researchers produce two biofuels from a single algae