The capacity addition programme is boosting the growth of turbines as well as that of lubricants, says Daya KingstonIndia’s growing economy and infrastructure sector with capacity addition of 100,000 MW in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17) is propelling the demand for high-efficiency turbines significantly. The three major kinds of turbines are steam, gas and wind. Malolan R Cadambi, MD, Greenshore Energy, a company into developing wind turbines said, “India installed nearly 2,300 MW in FY012. We are the world’s fifth-largest market. Higher installation can be expected since for the first time in 20 years, investment into renewables (solar and wind) has crossed investment into fossil fuel (coal and gas) based generation.”Steam turbines are on an upswing while fuel costs and fuel availability issues in gas turbines have still not made it a force to reckon with in the Indian market.Going ahead with full steam!Steam turbines enjoy the highest popularity amongst Indian industries. The steam turbine generator market in the country is expected to touch 10-12 GW per annum over the next 10 years. Some of the major manufacturers are APE Belliss, BHEL, Triveni, MaxWatt and others.MaxWatt is a leading manufacturer of steam turbines in the rating of up-to 15,000 KW.VS Uppin, General Manager, MaxWatt, said, “We have 70 per cent of the market in the less than 5 W turbines. The market is on an upswing and a 100 per cent growth can be expected. One of the reasons is that every industry is trying to minimise costs and the advantage of steam turbines is that the process steam can be used. Another advantage is that the grid buys any excess power produced. We also export to Norway, South Korea, Trinidad, Ukraine and Sri Lanka. Overseas, the costs are higher and they are looking at Indian manufacturers.” About the latest technologies in steam turbines, he said, “There is not much change in the technology but our USP is that we offer customised solutions, even incorporating changes in design as necessary. The advantage of steam turbines over gas is that it is a cheaper solution and also provides of fuel flexibility.”Gas turbines move slower!In India, gas turbines are available from Siemens, BHEL, Triveni Engineering Works, Alstom, DLF Energy Systems and Kirloskar oil engines. Factors like lack of fuel availability and cost have kept their demand lower than other types of turbines.Technology here is developing rapidly. Alstom’s latest offering is the Russia Power 2012, an upgraded version of its highly successful GT13E2 gas turbine, was originally launched in 1993 and it offers the highest output, flexibility and reliability. Similarly the Siemens gas turbine range offers 14 models with capacities from 4 to 375 MW and has been designed with the customer’s profitability in mind.Harnessing Wind PowerWind turbines provide clean energy and the growth prospects for this industry are very high. Suzlon, a leading manufacturer of wind turbines with over 18,000 MW of wind energy capacity installed in 28 countries and operations in 32 countries, has product portfolios ranging from sub-MW on-shore turbines at 600 KW to the world’s largest commercial 6.15 MW offshore turbine. Its latest turbine, the S8X, is designed specifically for the Indian market where the majority of potential lies in medium-to-low wind sites. John O’Halloran, President, Technology, Suzlon Energy, said, “The S8X features advanced blade designs and highly efficient control systems to optimise loads and performance.”Speaking of opportunities, S Malolan R Cadambi said, “India’s 7,516 km long coastline has untapped offshore wind potential which is expected to be opened up in 2012. Factors driving sales include accelerated depreciation, renewable energy certificates, improving technology and rising demand for power on a per capita basis in the nation. The advantage of wind turbines over gas turbines is that India does not have major gas reserves. Wind turbines consume no fuel and run without need for gas. India has nearly 16,000 MW of installed wind capacity and nearly 100,000 MW of untapped potential. The industry trend is for wind turbines that are cost-effective for low-wind speed sites and a shift away from permanent magnet-based wind turbines. The latest technology is the dual contra rotating wind turbine. The uniqueness is that, it has two sets of rotors. In fluid dynamics, C G Curtis, an American engineer introduced the concept of ‘velocity compounded impulse flow’, meaning, the flow of a fluid (wind) is wasted if not used after it has done work. Using this concept, Dr Kari Appa patented a ‘dual rotor’ wind turbine, which extracts nearly 25 - 40 per cent more power than a single rotor. We (at Greenshore) along with the help of Dr Kari Appa (WTS) installed it at INS Rajali NAS, which was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Anup Singh FOC-in-C (Eastern Naval Command).Lubricating turbinesGrowth in turbines has also seen growth in the allied sector of lubricants. George Paul, Executive Director, Lubes, BPCL, said, “The turbine oil industry is around 12 TMT/annum for initial fill (new turbines in project stages) and another 15 TMT for top up/oil change. BPCL’s share is around 1.5 TMT in the overall business for turbine oils. The government plans to add 100,000 MW during the 12th Plan to the current capacity of 174,000 MW. Last year, the requirement was 12 TMT for initial fill and around 15 TMT for top ups/oil change. The projected growth in 12th FYP is 100,000 MW majorly in coal-based turbines followed by gas. This is the major thrust area for the government and likely to be commissioned as per the FYP. We offer lubricants for steam (MAK turbine oils of different viscosity grades), gas-based (MAK turbine oils of different viscosity grades) and wind turbines, which though not presently in our marketing range has already been developed (synthetic grade). Our Group II plus base oils are most suitable for these types of oils due to their inherent characteristics of oxidation and thermal stability, demulsibility, low temperature properties, high viscosity index and other major parameters. This ensures longevity of oil and lesser subsequent top-ups.”About tests that are conducted on lubes, he said, “Vital tests to monitor oxidative or chemical degradation of turbine oils are RPVOT, TAN, viscosity, water content, wear metal analysis, insolubles, FTIR, ferrography analysis etc. To prevent fluid degradation issues, regular condition monitoring is a must in case of turbine oils. We have not come across any bacterial contamination in turbine oils which we have supplied in the past to our customers. However, there are biocides available to counter such contamination after a thorough analysis of the contaminated fluid. This again emphasises the quality of base oils used in manufacturing turbine oils as well as the importance of condition monitoring.”He said, “The maintenance cycle for lubricating turbines are generally specified by the OEM i.e., turbine manufacturers and customers as well as the turbine oil suppliers abide by the guidelines of the OEM w.r.t. maintenance cycle/condition monitoring. All OEMs specify the oil rejection parameters. The life span depends on the oil/additive content, quality of the input material maintenance practices (condition monitoring etc). Since MAK turbine oils are made of Group II plus base oils and latest additive technology, it exceeds the general specifications/ and all major OEM requirements thereby ensuring long life/lesser top ups.”
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