FER 56 4 123 2010

FER 56 4 123 2010
Recent Technologies for Steam Turbines
Kenji Nakamura † Takahiro Tabei † Tetsu Takano †
In response to global environmental issues, higher efficiency and improved operational reliability are increasingly
being requested for steam turbines, essential equipment for thermal power generation. By increasing the temperature and pressure of the steam turbine operating conditions, more efficient power generation is realized, and in order
to realize a turbine applied with the higher temperature conditions of 700 ˚C for the future, Fuji Electric is participating
in the METI-sponsored development of advanced ultra-supercritical power generation, and is evaluating and verifying
the reliability of materials used for high-temperature valves. In addition, for geothermal steam turbines, Fuji has developed surface coatings and other technology for enhancing corrosion resistance in order to improve reliability. Fuji
is also moving ahead with the development of geothermal binary power-generating turbines that utilize a low boiling
point medium.
1. Introduction
In recent years, environmental measures such as
for reducing CO2 emissions have been implemented on
a global scale. Demand for more efficient thermal power has also intensified than ever. Higher efficiency is
also being required of steam turbines, which are a mature energy conversion technology. Improved reliability, operability and ease of maintenance are requested
simultaneously in order to ensure the continued longterm supply of stable power.
To increase the inlet steam temperature and improve efficiency significantly throughout a plant, Fuji
Electric is working to develop materials that have
higher strength, longer life, and are capable of withstanding usage in higher temperature steam than in
the past, and is also developing application technology. Meanwhile, to improve the efficiency of the steam
turbine itself, Fuji Electric is also developing and commercializing new technology for the turbine blade row
and steam seal areas which have a large effect on efficiency.
Fuji Electric manufactures not only conventional steam turbines, but, in the field of renewable geothermal energy, has also manufactured
and delivered more than 60 geothermal turbines
over a period of nearly 50 years, beginning with
the construction of a practical geothermal power
plant in 1960. At present, Fuji Electric is counted among the top manufacturers worldwide. This
paper also introduces the technology in this field.
† Energy Solution Group, Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd.
2. Improved Efficiency Through Utilization of
High-Temperature High-Pressure Steam
2.1 High-temperature materials technology for major components
The long-term rise in energy prices and heightened
awareness of environmental issues, coupled with CO2
emissions restrictions, are factors prompting improvement in plant thermal efficiency. New turbines tend
to employ high temperature and high pressure conditions. In the large capacity turbines currently being manufactured, steam conditions of 25 MPa (abs)
main steam pressure, 600 °C main steam temperature,
620 °C reheat steam temperature have become mainstream.
Figure 1 shows the high-temperature materials
technologies used in the major components of a large
capacity steam turbine, and these items are described
in detail below.
(1) Development of materials for high-temperature
In the pursuit of higher temperatures, high reliability can be ensured by using advanced materials
having excellent high temperature creep characteristics, without changing the basic turbine structure. In
particular, in a 600 to 620 °C class steam power plant,
advanced 12% Cr steel is used in the rotor (Fig. 2), a
main component, and as the casing material (Fig. 3).
(2) Overlay welding
Rotors made from 12% Cr steel are used in the
high-pressure and intermediate-pressure rotors that
require high-temperature strength. For the following
reasons, however, these rotors have poor friction characteristics compared to low-Cr steel rotors.
(a) Thermal conductivity is low.
(b) Oxide film is difficult to form on the surface.
Fig.1 High-temperature materials technology for large-capacity steam turbines
High-pressure rotor
uses advanced 12%
Cr steel
High-pressure internal casing
uses advanced 12% Cr steel
Intermediate-pressure internal casing
uses advanced 12% Cr steel
Intermediate-pressure rotor
uses advanced 12% Cr steel
High-pressure first-stage
stationary blade
uses structure with shield
ring attached
Overlay welding
Overlay welding
Issue : Energy-Creating Technologies
High-pressure external casing
uses advanced 12% Cr steel
Overlay welding
first-stage stationary blade
uses structure with shield
ring attached and vortex cooling
High-pressure turbine
Intermediate-pressure turbine
Low-pressure turbine
Fig.2 Rotor prototype under construction
Fig.3 Intermediate-pressure internal casing under construction
(c) Carbonized compounds are formed easily from the
carbon in the lubricating oil and Cr.
As a countermeasure, low Cr steel is overlay-welded onto rotor surfaces in the journal area, the thrust
collar area and the pass-through areas of the bearing
pedestals, and Cr content in the rotor surface layer is
set to an amount equivalent to that of 1% Cr steel to
prevent damage to the axle from burn-in or scraping.
(3) Stationary blade with shield ring (Fig. 4)
In the first stage of high-pressure and intermedi-
ate-pressure turbines, a stationary blade with a shield
ring is employed so the high temperature inlet steam
does not make direct contact with the rotor surface.
Low temperature steam, after having passed by the
initial-stage stationary blade, flows toward the rotor
surface so that the rotor surface is maintained at a low
temperature and the increase in creep life consumption
is suppressed.
(4) Vortex cooling (Fig. 4)
In the first stage of a double-flow type intermediate-pressure turbine, a portion of the reheat steam
from the tangential steam flow inlet open to the shield
ring forms a swirling flow and is discharged, and vortex cooling is used to cool the rotor surface. In intermediate-pressure turbines, vortex cooling combined
with the aforementioned shield ring prevents the rotor
surface from reaching a high temperature and sup-
Recent Technologies for Steam Turbines
presses an increase in creep life consumption.
temperature of 700 °C or higher and steam pressure of
24.1 MPa or higher must be developed. To develop this
elemental technology, in 2008, the Japanese Ministry
of Economy, Trade and Industry began funding project
grants related to the development of practical elemental technology for A-USC thermal power generation.
Fuji Electric is working to develop high-temperature
valve elemental technology, one of the items for technical development in this grant-aided project.
(1) Overview of elemental technical development
A high-temperature valve is installed at the inlet
to a steam turbine, and plays an important role in operations related to the safe running and stopping of the
steam turbine, i.e., steam flow control and emergency
shutdown when a protection device has been activated, and is required to be highly reliable at all times.
Because it is exposed to high temperature steam, the
sliding part is processed with a surface hardening
2.2 Elemental technical development for 700 °C class
high-temperature valves
For the practical application of advanced-ultra
supercritical (A-USC) pressure thermal power generation technology, with which thermal efficiency is
expected to be dramatically higher than conventional
coal-fired power generation, a large capacity boiler
turbine system for use in the power industry and capable of withstanding steam conditions of a steam
Fig.4 Stationary blade with shield ring and vortex cooling at
intermediate-pressure turbine inlet
Fig.5 High-temperature wear tester
Shield ring
Steam flow
(b) Enlarged view of
shield ring
Swirl flow
(c) Vortex cooling
(A-A cross section)
(a) First stage of
Fig.6 A-USC development schedule
Materials development
Basic design, Layout optimization,Economic feasibility calculations
Development of new materials for large-diameter pipe and
heat exchanger tube, Improvement of materials
High-temperature long-term materials test (30,000 to 70,000 hours)
Verification of materials
Development & testing of welding technology, Bending test
Materials improvement
specification planning, etc.
Materials development
Structural, elemental &
materials development
Boiler components & small turbine test
(including high temperature valves)
Fabrication of actual-size component prototypes
Large welding technology and prototype fabrication for rotor, casing, etc.,
High-temperature long-term materials test (30,000 to 70,000 hours)
Elemental development
System design,
design technology development
Prototype fabrication
Trial design
Equipment manufacturing
Equipment manufacturing,
Test, Evaluation
ing the load on each stage of the LP blades, and
reducing the total number of stages of turbine
(c) High reliability based on extensive operating experience with prior-generation blades
Moreover, the application of this series of advanced
small LP blades to geothermal turbines was considered during the planning stage, and in addition to the
abovementioned characteristics, the following characteristics are also provided.
(a) High reliability as a result of materials selection
and strength design for a corrosive environment
(b) Use of simple inverted T-shaped root at all stages to prevent deterioration of strength and reliability due to stress concentration
(c) Higher efficiency by attaching a shroud to all
stages to reduce leakage loss at the blade tip
Figure 7 shows a rotor using a 555 mm blade,
which is the largest size blade in the series.
3.2 Seal technology
To improve the performance of steam turbines, in
addition to the aforementioned turbine blade development, technical development for improving efficiency is
also needed.
Fig.7 Rotor using 555 mm blade (during implementation of
rotational vibration test)
3. Improved Efficiency Through Development of
Elemental Technologies
3.1 Advanced small LP blades
By applying the design techniques for advanced
low pressure (LP) blades developed for general-purpose
large-size steam turbines to the design of LP blades
of length of 560 mm or less, a series of high-efficiency
small LP blades that aim to improve performance significantly has been developed (Table 1).
The main features of Fuji Electric’s series of advanced small LP blades are as follows.
(a) Higher efficiency from a design that utilizes the
latest CFD (computational fluid dynamics) technology
(b) Realization of a more compact size by increasTable 1 High-efficiency small LP blade series
50 Hz-use
(nominal circular area)
60 Hz-use
(nominal circular area)
555 mm blade (3.2 m2)
462 mm blade (2.2 m2)
487 mm blade (2.5 m )
406 mm blade (1.7 m2)
348 mm blade (1.6 m )
290 mm blade (1.1 m2)
Recent Technologies for Steam Turbines
Fig.8 Locations where seal technology is applied
Blade tip seal
Shaft tip seal
Issue : Energy-Creating Technologies
treatment that results in excellent oxidized scale resistance, wear resistance, seizing resistance and sliding resistance. In a high-temperature A-USC plant
environment where the steam temperature is 700 °C
or higher, in consideration of material strength, nickelbased alloys must be used as the main material. The
friction characteristics and high-temperature oxidation characteristics of nickel-based alloys and surfacehardened conventional materials have not yet been
Fuji Electric has built a high-temperature wear
tester (Fig. 5), and by measuring the amount of wear,
has verified wear resistance and evaluated friction
characteristics. Additionally, steam oxidation testing
is being considered for evaluating the resistance to oxidized scale.
Based on the results of each verification test, materials are selected for the sliding parts and airtight
parts, and this step leads to the design of the gap
(clearance) in each sliding part.
(2) Development schedule
In this development, as a Japanese national grantaided project, domestic Japanese turbine and boiler
manufacturers joined forces with research institutions
and began in fiscal year 2008 to advance elemental
technologies development, materials development and
system design according to the schedule shown in Fig.
6. Fuji Electric is in charge of consolidating development of high-temperature valves and plans to construct a full-size inlet valve and, beginning in 2013,
to verify its functionality under steam conditions that
are the same as actual conditions by performing boiler
components and small turbine test.
A clearance must be provided between the rotating
body and stationary body in a steam turbine so that,
throughout all operation zones, i.e., startup, normal
operation and stopping, the rotating and stationary
bodies will not contact each other. Consequently, the
clearance must be larger than that required for normal
operation, and this had become a limiting factor for improving efficiency. By applying the following seal technologies, the amount of steam leakage at the steam
turbine blade tip and at the shaft end seal is reduced,
efficiency is improved and reliability during operation
is ensured as shown in Fig. 8.
(1) Brush seal
A brush seal is an aggregation of wear-resistant
wires installed on the stationary side of the seal area.
Figure 9 shows a verified example in which a portion of
the seal fin of the shaft tip seal area has been replaced
with a brush seal. With the wires of a brush seal,
the effect from contact with a rotating body is much
smaller than in the case of a conventional seal fin, and
a minimum clearance can be maintained during opera-
Assembly verification tests, the wear resistance
tests and leakage characteristic tests have been completed, and brush seals are beginning to be used in
steam turbines at power plants in Japan.
(2) Abradable coating
Abradable coating is a coating applied to free machining metal on the stationary-side inner surfaces
that face the seal fin of the rotating side of the blade
tip and shaft tip seal areas. Figure 10 shows a schematic diagram of a packing gland to which an abradable coating has been applied. The abradable coating
reduces the effect of contact with the seal fin during
operation of the steam turbine. Moreover, because the
seal fin cuts into to the coating material on contact, the
optimal and minimum clearance can be formed during
The wear characteristics resulting from a contact
test between the coating material and the seal fin have
been verified, and abradable coating will be used in
practical applications as of 2010.
Fig.9 Brush seal
4. Utilization of Renewable Energy
Geothermal energy is a renewable clean energy
source, and its utilization is expected to increase in the
future to help prevention of global warming.
4.1 Geothermal turbines
Seal fin
Holding ring
Brush seal
Fig.10 Abradable coating
Geothermal steam contains various corrosive
chemical substances such as chlorides, sulfates, hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. Even after geothermal
steam is processed with a separator (steam separator)
and flasher (vacuum evaporator) to remove those substances, the amount of corrosive components contained
in the steam entering the turbine is 100 to 1,000 times
that of a conventional steam turbine. Technology to
improve resistance to such types of corrosion as whole
surface corrosion of components, stress corrosion cracking (SCC), corrosion fatigue, erosion-corrosion and the
Fig.11 Application of thermal spray coating to rotor
Packing gland
(stationary side)
No coating
Seal fin
Minimum clearance
4.2 Turbine for geothermal binary power generation
In recent years, binary power generation systems,
capable of recovering power from not only high-temperature geothermal wells but also from low-temperature
geothermal energy sources that had not been utilized
previously because of the difficulty of extracting energy, have been attracting attention due to the large
number of available locations (Fig. 12).
Because low-temperature thermal energy has a
low heat drop and is difficult to extract, it is often discarded without being used. In order to recover energy
from low-temperature thermal energy, a medium having a lower boiling point than conventional steam vapor must be used. To commercialize power generation
that uses low-temperature thermal energy, the technical challenges specific to low-boiling point media must
be identified. That is, methods for analyzing and evaluating their (1) energy characteristics, (2) fluid characteristics, (3) strength characteristics, (4) seal characteristics and the like, must be developed.
In binary power generation, the main machinery
Recent Technologies for Steam Turbines
Fig.12 Geothermal binary power generation system conception diagram
Hot water
Circulation pump
Steam well
Reinjection well
is a steam turbine, and a low-boiling point medium is
used as the working fluid. Accordingly, development
is moving forward to meet the following two technical
(1) Design of optimal flow path and blade row that
uses a low-boiling point medium
To optimize the flow path shape, including the
blade, the design methodology must be re-established
and re-verified. For low-boiling point media that is
completely different from steam vapor, design tools optimized for characteristics based on thermal dynamics,
fluid dynamics and strength of materials analyses will
be developed, and design techniques for the flow path
shape and blade row design will be established.
(2) Development of seal technology
Because the low-boiling point medium used is
flammable, there must be no leakage to the outside.
Typically, however, the seal structure used in steam
turbines is susceptible to leaks. Therefore, new seal
structures capable of completely preventing the leakage of internal fluids are being developed and the technology is being established and verified.
5. Postscript
Fuji Electric has improved the reliability and performance of steam turbines, including geothermal turbines.
Fuji Electric is committed to development in order
to continue to provide high-performance, highly-efficient and easy-to-use steam turbines.
Issue : Energy-Creating Technologies
like is needed. As the main techniques for addressing
these issues, coating and shot peening techniques have
been developed.
(1) Coating technology
Coating is a technique in which a thermal spray
coating is applied to the surface of components in order
to limit the whole surface corrosion and erosion-corrosion of components, such as the rotor and stationary
blade holder, which are exposed to a highly corrosive
geothermal steam flow (Fig. 11).
Basic testing at laboratories and corrosion testing
at geothermal sites have been carried out, and coating
technology for applying WC-CoCr-based thermal spray
material with a HVOF (High Velocity Oxy-Fuel) thermal spray has been established and is being applied to
actual turbines as a technique providing excellent corrosion resistance and erosion-corrosion resistance.
(2) Shot peening technology
Shoot peening technology has been developed and
applied to actual turbines. With shot peening, high
stress areas of the rotor are struck with a steel ball,
generating compressive residual stress on the component surface and improving the resistance to SCC and
corrosion fatigue.
The results of SCC tests and corrosion fatigue tests
on blade materials and rotor materials treated with
shot peening revealed significantly improved resistance.
* All brand names and product names in this journal might be trademarks
or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF