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local build proves best option for turbine cooling system retrofit

An Origin Energy gas turbine peaking plant in Adelaide, South Australia recently underwent a successful replacement of critical oil cooling system components through local supplier, Air Radiators in Adelaide.

Gas turbine number 5 (GT5), the largest of five open cycle gas turbine generators at Origin Energy’s Torrens Island Quarantine Station, was identified in routine plant monitoring to be leaking radiator water into the containment bunding – the challenging operating environment contributing to the early decline and corrosion of the turbine lubrication oil cooling radiators.

As a local manufacturer, Air Radiators was contracted to supply replacement radiator cores – coils and fins – as a preventative measure to ensure reliability over South Australia’s summer season.

This project highlighted the benefits of buying local as the high-risk project could be carefully planned and execution. Through working closely together and with a high attention to detail, the risks of the program were mitigated and the units were delivery on time and within budget.

Origin Energy’s Plant Technical Manager, Conway Blacker, planned and supervised the project identifying a compelling business case to schedule the retrofit to meet the demands of the looming summer season and the poor state of the cooling system.

“Working with Air Radiators as a local supplier provided many benefits,” Mr Blacker said.

“Origin Energy prefer to engage with local suppliers where possible, and in this case, we achieved competitive pricing, effect project performance and the comfort of knowing local support and back-up is just around the corner.

“It was a huge relief to see the final unit slide into position – we knew then we had executed a successful project,” he said.

As the peaking plant provides power at times of high demand, replacing the damaged radiators had to carefully timed, being swapped out during a period of low demand allowing the main turbine set to be temporarily taken offline.

The three radiator cores delivered each measured 13 by 2 metres and were manufactured to a high tolerance to ensure exact fit within the original surrounding steel framework, plumbing, motors and fans.

The replacement radiators coils were also externally coated to provide advanced corrosion protection.

Origin Energy were extremely satisfied with the finished product stating the initial performance data showed a successful change out with cooling performance identical to specification.

“I am happy to report the retrofit went like clockwork,” Mr Blacker said.

“We completed the changeover well ahead of schedule and handed back the GT5 two days before deadline,” he said.

Air Radiators facility in Gillman, Adelaide service power generation companies throughout Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands.