TransCanada Turbines Ltd (“TCT”), part of the Gas Turbine Services business of John Wood Group PLC (“Wood Group”), recently opened its newly constructed cold end drive test facility for General Electric LM6000 PA and PC industrial aero-derivative gas turbines. Located at the Cavalier Power Station near Strathmore in Alberta, Canada, which is owned and operated by EnCana, an independent oil & gas company, the test facility enables TCT to test against a live power grid, while utilising a real package with systems and controls identical to actual customer conditions.

Under agreement with EnCana, TCT has access to its test facility during off peak power periods, which are typically weekends. To overcome the time contraints associated with testing during weekends only, TCT modified an existing LM6000 PC package into a quick changeout test cell, and adapted it to accommodate PA engines also. This quick changeout design means that TCT has reduced the time required to remove, reinstall and align an engine from 36 to 12 hours.

Additional key features of the new test facility are its control system and data acquisition system. The original GE Mark VI control system was replaced by a Woodward MicroNet Control System, capable of operating all versions of the LM6000. The new Data Acquisition System is based on Yanos aerospace engine test log sheet (ETLS) technology, and performs all data archiving, performance calculation, log sheet reports, trending and diagnostics. TCT also added Yanos Remote Client software, which enables the company to provide on-line calibrations and calculation of performance numbers, and also remote dial in access via the Internet for customers to witness testing, saving them time and money.

Pete Watson, President of TCT, said: “We are extremely excited about our new testing design. The system is set up such that what our customers witness during testing of their turbines, either in person or via the Internet, should be what they will receive at their plant. What it boils down to is that cold end drive testing on the grid duplicates the engine’s actual operation on-site. Hot end drive testing is not how the LM6000 typically operates. The successful completion of this project, which gives LM6000 operators worldwide an independent testing alternative, would not have been possible without the entrepreneurial engineering of Wood Group Power Solutions and Fern Engineering, or EnCana’s valued cooperation.”

TCT’s first test of an LM6000 PA engine was completed in January 2004. The company successfully completed its first LM6000 PC test in 2003.