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Valmet delivers integrated gas turbine package to Malaysia: One-stop-shop for turbine control

A first for Valmet in the area of retrofitting a General Electric LM2500 gas turbine for a power plant; a second order from the same customer. Valmet’s offer for the growing retrofit market is a one-stop-shop approach to a control system for the entire shaft. Customers benefit from a unique combination of knowledge and flexibility that adds value when it comes to an open solution that provides high system availability and cost effectiveness.

Valmet breaks into market with complete gas turbine controller concept

This past October, Valmet received an order for a gas turbine control system for Sabah Electricity’s Sdn. Bhd.’s power plant in Melawa, Sabah, Malaysia. A first reference, this order marks Valmet’s entry into the gas turbine sector with its complete concept for gas turbine control. The automation modernization is part of the plant’s relocation of a GE LM2500 gas turbine. Pestech Technology Sdn. Bhd., located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia is Valmet’s value-added reseller (VAR) partner for the project.

This is the second combined Pestech-Valmet team project for Sabah on the east Malaysian island of Borneo. The first was a turbine automation project for Sabah Electricity’s Tenom Pangi hydroelectric power plant in Tenom, Sabah, Malaysia, approximately 100 kilometers away. The automation was successfully commissioned in the autumn of 2015 to increase the turbine reliability and availability.

Deciding in favor of expertise

Sabah decided to upgrade its obsolete GE LM2500 gas turbine control system because there was lack of technical support and no spares available for its existing system, which was delivered in 1994 and has been in operation for more than 20 years. Therefore, the company decided to completely refurbish the entire turbine control and governor electric system, including a new turbine control, vibration and protection system, a generator excitation and synchronizer system, the fire and gas system as well as the panel control system. One of the main goals was to extend the lifetime of the plant for another 10 years.

 
Sabah decided to upgrade its obsolete GE LM2500 gas turbine control system because there was lack of technical support and no spares available for its existing system.

 

Pestech teamed up with Valmet to provide a total turnkey gas turbine project to the customer. Valmet’s extensive knowledge for such projects and deep expertise complemented Pestech’s ability to carry out the implementation work locally. Valmet delivered its turbine controller with overspeed protection, an information management application, a DNA Machine Monitoring application, related engineering and commissioning support. Pestech provided the work for hardware design, cabinet assembly, installation and testing.

New Valmet control room

The new Valmet control room for Sabah Electricity’s Sdn. Bhd.’s power plant in Melawa, Sabah, Malaysia. This order marks Valmet’s entry into the gas turbine sector with its complete concept for gas turbine control.

 

The Pestech-Valmet proposal scored good marks on the technical evaluation during the selective tendering process. The system offered was preferred by the customer because it is based on DCS technology and comes complete with plant historian and engineering tools. Furthermore, the Pestech-Valmet team had shown good commitment in executing Tenom project in a very short time.

Best gas turbine performance

Recently, Valmet integrated its gas turbine control, protection, and scalable information management into a turbine retrofit package. Valmet’s complete concept for gas turbine controllers includes the automation, machine monitoring, information management and the possibility to integrate them into a plant-wide distributed control system.

The Valmet’s solution for gas turbine automation ensures the control of all aspects of turbine functionality. It combines the convenience and simplicity of a stand-alone gas turbine control with the thoroughness of a fully integrated system that delivers protection and condition monitoring, along with precise control of the unit.

New Valmet display   New Valmet display
Valmet’s new displays for gas turbine control and trends to enable plants to achieve the highest possible system reliability and safe operation.


Valmet’s gas turbine controller and its redundancy concept are designed to achieve the highest possible system reliability and availability to ensure reliable and safe operation.

The new gas turbine control solution is more open, more comprehensive and more expandable than other solutions on the market today. For the end customer – the gas turbine owner or operator – this ultimately means the best possible gas turbine performance.


Growing retrofit market

The global retrofit market, especially in Europe, is expected to grow considerably over the next few years. With new EU directives coming into effect in 2016, plants with older turbines have only until 2020 to ensure compliance.

To date, Valmet has purchase orders for four gas turbines, three in Germany and the first one in Malaysia. Another three purchase orders have come for hydro plants.

“In 2015, most of the cases were for steam turbines,” says Tom Bäckman, Product Manager, Turbine Controls, Automation Business Line, Valmet. “Last year, we also saw more gas and hydro turbine projects. Although the Sabah case is a first reference with an LM type of gas turbine, we have delivered similar solutions for many years to district heat plants, power plants and backup or black start units.”


Partnering opens doors

This reference is also a showcase for Valmet’s way of working and partnering with VARs as system integrators.

“One of our strengths is the fact that we provide an integrated hardware and software package – and, of course, all the knowledge and technical support,” Tom explains. “Our local VAR, like Pestech in Malaysia, then executes the project to make it more cost effective for the customer.”

“We want to be known for our one-stop-shop approach as an automation supplier. A customer can get everything from turbine control, to machine and vibration monitoring, generator control and hydraulic upgrades,” he describes. “It’s very easy for the customer to have one lead engineer, one project manager and one company to talk to.”


Flexibility offers more value

“We don’t make black boxes. We provide an open platform,” Tom emphasizes. “Our customers don’t want their hands tied. They’re free to change the displays to their liking, even during the FAT stage. Thanks to this approach, our customer from Germany placed a follow-up order because the operators knew their wishes were being heard.”

The Valmet gas turbine control provides deeper insight into the LM2500 gas turbine and guarantees redundancy at all levels. “It’s control and protection in one system,” Tom says. Other benefits include high availability along with easy and cost-effective maintenance.


Why gas turbines are special?

“To provide a successful gas turbine control package, you need the knowledge of regulations,” states Johan Musch, Product Manager, Gas Turbine & Compressor Automation, Automation Business Line, Valmet. “Nuclear and coal plants are being shut down. Wind doesn’t always blow; the sun doesn’t always shine. Small gas turbines are a great solution to provide backup power for renewables. And they can be started up quickly to support the grid.

Gas turbines, however, can be sensitive to overfiring, combustion instability and mechanical overload, causing materials to wear fast. “It’s costly to do something wrong,” Johan continues. “Therefore, the control system needs to be configured in such a way that it is able to react quickly and accurately.”


Record startup in six months

In all, the entire project was fully completed in just six months after winning the tender. Typically, projects of such scale usually take about 8 to 10 months to deliver.

During the month of January 2016, the mechanical work for the Sabah project took place with software FAT in Kuala Lumpur. Commissioning was carried out from February 8 to 11, 2016 when a Valmet software expert was onsite to ensure that all went smoothly. For Sabah, the retrofitted LM2500 gas turbine was up and running by the end of February 2016 as Valmet’s first reference in this area.

Knowledge sharing between all parties helped the commissioning team immensely, contributing to quicker problem solving that enabled the project to be completed one week before the official outage end date. 

 

The knowledge sharing between all parties helped the commissioning team immensely. This contributed to quicker problem solving and enabled the project to be completed one week before the official outage end date.


Local support helps win deal

“We’re very pleased to have been chosen for this delivery,” says Puvanesvaran, Sales Manager of Pestech. “During the evaluation stage, we understood that one of the main criteria for Sabah was to have DCS technology because it is an open system. This allows them to make modifications and changes easily, if required.”

He continues: “The fact that Valmet has extensive experience in retrofitting gas turbines throughout the world gave Sabah confidence that we would be able to deliver the project successfully. Also, Pestech has a team of local engineers in Malaysia with solid experience in the power generation industry. Sabah prefers using local rather than overseas support that is expensive and time consuming. These factors, too, helped us win the project.”

For Sabah, the decision to upgrade the obsolete turbine control system with the latest-technology solution will give the plant new tools with better functionality and a more operator-friendly interface. The operators received in-depth training to help them take full advantage of the new system. Moreover, the management can be assured of having a smoothly operating turbine control system for the next decade of the plant’s lifetime.

Sabah operators received in-depth training to help them take full advantage of the new system, while the management has a smoothly operating turbine control system for the next decade.  

 

For more information:

Esko Koivisto
Manager, Strategic Accounts
esko.koivisto @ valmet.com

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