The United Engine Corporation (UEC), an arm of “Rostec,” has begun testing a prototype of a new gas turbine engine known as the AL-41ST. The press service of the UEC revealed this information on December 27.
The June 2019 agreement of understanding between UEC and Gazprom PJSC governs the development of the AL-41ST-25 engine. The plan calls for building a brand-new, 25 MW gas turbine engine that is incredibly efficient. There are plans to develop an entire family of extremely efficient gas turbine drives for gas pumping units with a capacity of 25, 32, and 42 MW, all based on a single gas generator.
Bench testing of the first prototype of the AL-41ST gas turbine engine, which has a power output of 25 megawatts, has been initiated by the UEC enterprise. Two prototypes have been planned.
According to the statement, the new unit is differentiated by greater dependability and durability; it can operate continuously for at least 120,000 hours, a new milestone in Russia’s engineering industry.
The engines’ key characteristic is their unified gas generator, which can work with engines with capacities ranging from 32 to 43 MW. Gazprom requires such units for new projects involving long-distance gas delivery. It is worth noting that the AL-31ST (16 MW) engine already runs at Gazprom Transgaz Ufa.
The company stated that the power plant was built by experts from the Ufa enterprise ODK-UMPO as part of the collaboration between “Rostec” and “Gazprom,” with the assistance of the Republic of Bashkortostan being a contributing factor.
Gazprom is looking forward to the arrival of this cutting-edge product, which features improved ecological friendliness, increased efficiency, and increased dependability, according to Sergey Chemezov, the Chief Executive Officer of “Rostec”. He said that despite the greatly increased workload of Rostec and its group companies, it developed the gas turbine in a record-short time — just two years. He added that each new breakthrough is an additional step towards an import substitution rate of one hundred per cent in the country’s fuel and energy complex.
According to engineers’ estimations, the engine’s efficiency reaches 39.1%, and it is possible to increase it to 40% (the AL-31ST engine’s efficiency is 35.5%.). In contrast, the efficiency of conventional engines does not surpass 38.5%. Furthermore, the unit’s features permit greater operating pressure in the gas transportation system, making it suitable for use in modern gas pipelines with higher operating pressure and long routes. While thermal efficiency is known, the engine’s overall efficiency, which includes energy losses, is unknown.
The head of UEC, a member of the bureau of the Central Council of the Union of Machine Builders of Russia, Vadim Badekha, stated that the corporation is actively developing the industrial engines sector, with the AL-41ST-25 project having a priority status.
He said Russia’s first industrial fifth-generation experimental engine is a high-tech device that rivals the top models in its power class worldwide and even outperforms them in certain important areas. According to him, there are plans to develop an entire family of highly efficient gas turbine drives for gas pumping units with a capacity of up to 42 MW in the future, based on the gas generator of the new power plant.
They also emphasised the engine’s primary benefits to “Gazprom,” namely its quick installation and commissioning. It also complies with Russian and international environmental requirements due to its low emissions of hazardous compounds.
The first AL-41ST-25 engine will undergo a pilot-industrial operation at Gazprom Transgaz Kazan LLC’s “Arskaya” compressor station. According to Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, the power plant will run for 5,000 hours to show its dependability and efficiency.
AL Series Gas Based Engine
In 1991, the renowned AL-31F engine of the military aircraft SU-27 was reprofiled as a drive for petrol pumping units in terrestrial applications by the Moscow Scientific and Technical Centre named after A. Lyulka.
The first acceptance tests of the new aviation drive were conducted in 1994 at Tyumentransgaz LLC’s compressor station “Karpinskaya.” However, it required some time to create a mutually beneficial partnership. In December 2002, the first unit, GPA-16R “Ufa,” made by the Ufa Engine Production Association (Ufa Engine Industrial Association), was introduced at the CS-18A “Moscow” at Dyrt Yulinsky LUMG of Gazprom Transgaz Ufa LLC. The project’s viability was unquestionable, but there were concerns about the drive’s flaws. Intensive joint work between Bashkir gas carriers and Ufa engine builders over several years considerably boosted the reliability of the AL-31ST. In 2015, the programme was expanded: Gazprom abolished all limits on the engine’s use in the company’s planned investment projects.
The AL-31ST engine powered the repaired CS-17 “Polyana” and CS-19 “Sharan” at Gazprom Transgaz Ufa LLC in 2022. It is in high demand with the other Gazprom facilities, including the Bovanenkovo field and the Power of Siberia gas pipeline.
The AL-41ST gas turbine engine is the project’s next step.