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A History of the Gas Turbine Association

A History of the Gas Turbine Association

William H. Day

October 2013

The Gas Turbine Association (GTA) was founded in 1995 in order to provide an effective voice to the US government on issues that impact the gas turbine industry in the US.

The Founding of GTA

The stimulus to found GTA was the need to support the Advanced Turbine Systems (ATS) Program. The ATS Program was started in 1992 which provided about $250 million over 8 years in funding from the US Department of Energy and a similar amount from industry for advanced gas turbine research and development (R&D). The main contractors were GE and Westinghouse (later acquired by Siemens) in large gas turbines, and Solar Turbines (subsidiary of Caterpillar) and Allison (later acquired by Rolls-Royce) for small gas turbines. The ATS Program also included funding for US universities to do fundamental research in gas turbines through the University Turbine Systems Research (UTSR) Program.

In Congress the House changed from Democrat to Republican majority in 1994, and there was a big push to reduce the size of government. The ATS Program was in jeopardy.

In February 1995, the Allison Engine Company, Rolls-Royce and Westinghouse approached William H. Day (formerly with GE and by 1995 with Pratt & Whitney) with the idea of founding a trade association for gas turbines that could influence Congress to save the ATS Program and asked if he would lead the effort. Mr. Day (Bill) had had worked with DOE both during his GE career and at P&W, and knew Tom Bechtel, formerly of GE, who ran the ATS Program for DOE. After getting Mr. Bechtel`s backing and approval from United Technologies (parent company of P&W), Bill proceeded with the founding GTA.

The initial member companies were Pratt & Whitney, Westinghouse, Siemens, Rolls-Royce and Allison Engine Company. In later years GE, Solar Turbines and others joined to comprise the current membership. Current member companies and staff are shown on the GTA website www.gasturbine.org.

Advocating for Gas Turbine R&D

After GTA was founded they focused on advocating for the ATS Program. The Board members would go to Capitol Hill as a group and meet with the House member who was responsible for DOE`s budget, on the Senate side with the appropriate staffers, and separately with DOE`s senior Fossil Energy staff who were responsible for the ATS budget. Bill Day gave testimony at several budget hearings relative to the ATS budget. It was clear from comments by congressional and DOE staff that they were impressed that the industry was speaking with a unified voice.

The ATS Program was funded through its completion as planned in about 2000. One never knows exactly how funding decisions get made, but GTA heard from several at DOE that GTA had made a real difference in keeping the ATS Program going.

As the ATS Program was winding down, GTA started advocating for a follow-on program of gas turbine R&D, called the Next Generation Turbine (NGT) Program, focused on advanced intercooled cycles as well as continuing the UTSR Program and some specific technology programs such as ceramics.

The NGT Program was underway briefly until it was replaced with the Advanced Turbines Program with a focus on integrated coal gasification combined cycles (IGCCs) with carbon capture and storage (CCS), with the objective to reduce their capital cost and increase their efficiency to the point where an IGCC with CCS would have a cost of electricity equal to or lower than that of the baseline commercial IGCCs without CCS (the reference case). In that program the major contractors are GE and Siemens, each developing the technologies to enable that improvement in performance, including component testing but not a complete demo plant. GTA has advocated for this program since its beginning in 2006. As of February 2013 the expected results of the program are improvements compared to the reference case of 4.3 % points in efficiency, $645 per kW lower capital cost and a 15% reduction in cost of electricity.

GTA advocated for a bill by Representative Tonko (D-NY) that would provide funding of $340 million over 4 years to develop technology to enable natural gas - fueled combined cycles to reach 65% efficiency and simple cycles to reach 50%. The bill, HR3209, passed the House on December 1, 2009. A companion bill by Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) was not able to get out of committee in time before the 111th Congress adjourned. In an effort to re-introduce the bill in the 112th Congress, GTA funded a white paper (developed by ICF Resources, LLC) that provides the estimated impact of jobs and financial benefits of the bill.

Advocating for Rational and Achievable Emissions Regulations

Although saving the ATS Program was the primary reason GTA was formed in 1995, it was also clear at the time that the gas turbine industry would benefit if GTA could advocate rational and achievable emissions regulations to EPA. The effort was started in parallel with the advocacy of gas turbine R&D. Much of the work has been has been in the vein of informing EPA and other government agencies of the technical and practical issues with proposed regulations. The GTA makes recommendations for changes to the proposals so that the rule language matches the realities of gas turbine operations. Examples of the actions taken or the last few years include:

EGU CO2 NEW SOURCE PERFORMANCE STANDARD: The GTA is actively involved in the review and comment on the proposed CO2 new source performance standard for new electric generating units and the proposed new source performed standard for modified and reconstructed electric generating units. GTA submitted comments on both proposals and met with EPA, OMB, and others to express our concerns with the proposed regulation as well as offering solutions that are in line with gas turbine state-of-the-art capabilities.

GAS TURBINE NEW SOURCE PERFORMANCE STANDARD: When subpart GG was being updated, GTA was successful in working with EPA and other trade organizations to achieve a final rule (subpart KKKK) that was representative of industry capabilities. GTA commented on the recent subpart KKKK rewrite and is involved with EPA in the revision process.

GAS TURBINE MACT: GTA was conducted a study to show that gas turbines should not be subject to a MACT standard and made a proposal to EPA for the "delisting" of gas turbines. The results of the study were sufficient to put a "stay" on the gas turbine MACT standard for several sub-categories. The stay has been in place for 10+ years while EPA addresses other studies related to formaldehyde. GTA continues to follow developments related to formaldehyde and the gas turbine MACT.

NATURAL GAS INTERCHANGEABILITY: GTA worked with industry experts to examine performance changes that could result from fuel variations related to gas interchangeability, and worked to incorporate those needs into consideration of natural gas specifications.