BHEL to Establish India’s First Super Alloy Turbine Rotor Test Rig

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the government-owned manufacturer of electrical systems in India, is setting up a facility to test fatigue effects in turbine rotors required for coal-based thermal power plants.

BHEL logo

This facility being set up at BHEL Hyderabad Campus would be first of its kind in India for experimental validation of the design of Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) steam turbine rotor. AUSC power plants itself will be the most efficient coal-based power plants in the world reducing carbon emission by 10- 15% compared to subcritical power plants of the same capacity.

Need for BHEL’s Turbine Testing Facility

The Advanced Ultra Super Critical power plant technology is being indigenously developed by a consortium of BHEL, IGCAR (Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research) and NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) known as AUSC consortium.

NTPC Ltd's logo

While BHEL and NTPC are already leading PSU’s in power sector of India, IGCAR is providing all the advanced research support in development of this innovative technology. The research and development team of the consortium has chosen Nickel based super-alloy 617M to manufacture steam turbine rotors which would be more efficient than present Chrome-based Steel rotors used widely.

The new facility will test this Nickel-alloy rotor on various conditions according to guidelines of ASME Standards (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) which specifies standards for materials to be used in construction and infrastructure.

Experimental Validation of Design

BHEL’s new turbine rotor testing facility would be the first testing facility in India to test creep-fatigue damage (deterioration of metals and alloys subjected to a cyclic thermomechanical load at elevated temperature) of AUSC steam turbine rotor. It will also be one-of-its-kind real size engineering experimental setup of heavy engineering in India.

During the test, turbine rotor segments are subjected to various damage conditions similar to that in the plant operation, like high temperatures up to 800 Degree C, high speed up to 3,600 revolutions per minute, followed by long term steady-state operation and controlled heating and cooling.

The total test time for certifying Nickel based super-alloy rotor will be 10,000 hours including 2,000 startups (hot+warm+cold).

About BHEL: India’s largest power generation equipment manufacturer was established in 1964. It has commissioned 58 sets of supercritical boilers and 53 sets of supercritical steam turbine generators so far. It has a network of 17 manufacturing units, 2 repair units, 4 regional offices, 8 service centres, 8 overseas offices, 15 regional centres, and 7 joint ventures.