Gas Turbine Test Stands

General Electric Power Systems | 1999 Engineering Excellence Grand Award

Testing the world’s largest gas turbine, General Electric’s Test Stand 8, Greenville, South Carolina


The project won the CECG’s Engineering Excellence Awards Grand Prize in 1999 and was named a finalist in the National Competition.

The Problem

Gas TurbineGeneral Electric’s latest engineering development is the world’s largest, most efficient industrial gas turbine. The “9H” gas turbine features new “H” technology, a platform of advanced combined cycle systems designed to achieve maximum output with minimum NOx emissions.

Due to the advanced design features of the 9H, modification of an existing test stand was not a feasible means of proving turbine performance, so GE selected Emprise to design their new test facility. In addition to an extremely aggressive project schedule, the Emprise design team faced many challenges including:

  1. Facility size and floor space limitations
  2. Transportation and support of a 400 ton turbine
  3. Significant noise problems for the control building and nearby residential areas
  4. Difficult technical requirements to accommodate the new “H” technology

The Solution

Gas TurbineThe Emprise design team successfully developed solutions each of the technical challenges presented by the 9H.

  1. Pits and trenches were designed into the facility foundation to make efficient use of facility floor space, allowing the 18,000 gal. (60,000 liter) lube oil tank, and large 24 in (600 mm) diameter piping to be placed below floor level and covered with removable grating.
  2. A one-of-a-kind railcar and a concrete embedded railroad switch and track were designed to transport the 400 ton turbine from production to the test stand. For supporting the turbine on the test stand, custom pedestals with integral hydraulic jacks that bolt to a reinforced concrete dynamic block were designed.
  3. Noise abatement measures included the internally insulated inlet and exhaust ducts and a separate, detached, double wall construction control building. The vent tower also contains a sound attenuation system that baffles the sound from leaving the test facility.
  4. Emprise designed 9H technology support systems including filtered (2 micron) stainless steel high temperature cooling air circuits, and 8000 hp (6MW) electric starter, a natural gas boost compressor that pumps 25 lbs/sec (11 kg/sec) of fuel at 400 psi (2800 kPa), and a state-of-the-art turbine control room.

The Results

General Electric commissioned the new test facility on schedule and under budget. With the on time construction and few start-up problems, GE met an extremely critical business milestone, initiating 9H testing in May 1998. As a direct result, an international customer placed the first firm order for a 9H turbine. Moreover, the facility has proven valuable to GE as a marketing tool. Potential customers are able to witness test preparation and execution in an attractive, comfortable environment.

The TS-8 facility was a “clean sheet” design where Emprise was the prime designer. Additionally, Emprise provided the procurement service and supervised construction. Where electric drives include a gas turbine prime mover, this experience will be exactly compatible with your needs.

This project had a total cost of approximately $20 million.