GE has completed 9EMax gas turbine upgrade at the Sokolovska Uhelna power plant in Vresova, in the Czech Republic.

Considered to be GE’s first 9EMax gas turbine upgrade in Europe, the plant’s heat rate and power output have improved. The upgrade was completed within ten weeks.

Sokolovska Uhelna production director and board member Homola said: “Our two existing GE 9E gas turbines were reaching the end of their lifetime, and we evaluated many different scenarios.

“After examining both operating and capital expenditures, we determined GE’s 9EMax upgrade was the best option for our plant to improve the 9E gas turbine’s performance and flexibility as well as to lower the operation and maintenance costs for the upcoming lifecycle period.”

Sokolovska Uhelna is an independent power producer and a coal mining company in the country. Annually, it extracts 7 million tonnes of lignite, 50% of which is used for its own gasification purpose to produce syngas for integrated gas combined cycle (IGCC) to power its mining and industrial process, as well as catering to other customers in Europe.

"GE is excited to continue to work with Sokolovska to find the right solutions to meet their needs and to work with them on our first 9EMax upgrade in Europe."

The 9EMax gas turbine is part of GE’s Fleet360 platform of plant solutions. In simple-cycle operation, it offers up to 37% efficiency and up to 145MW of output, while in IGCC operation, it offers up to 53.5% efficiency and up to 210MW of output.

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GE Gas Power CEO Scott Strazik said: “GE is excited to continue to work with Sokolovska to find the right solutions to meet their needs and to work with them on our first 9EMax upgrade in Europe.

“We know our total plant services solutions and technical expertise in IGCC power plants were essential to successfully modernise this very important plant in only 10 weeks, which was absolutely crucial for Sokolovska Uhelna.”

GE also carried out rotor repair and fast stator rewind for two of its T240-370 generators to boost the plant’s performance.

The upgraded unit is equipped by GE´s On-line Monitoring System and linked to its Atlanta Monitoring & Diagnostics Centre. This enables in providing predictive maintenance support round-the-clock.

So far, GE has installed five 9EMax upgrades. Each of these units is operating commercially and two units have been in operation for more than 12 months.