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Gas, Steam Turbine Market Grew 339% in 1999

Gas, Steam Turbine Market Grew 339% in 1999

Unprecedented growth of nearly 339% last year in the gas and steam turbine market was fueled by the rise in combined cycle configurations, a manufacturing method that has dramatically increased efficiency in electricity production and become increasingly popular with power plant producers, according to a new research report by Frost & Sullivan.

The report, "North American Gas and Steam Turbine Markets" concludes that several factors have contributed to the turbine industry's growth, which last year generated revenues of $8.22 billion. Researchers believe that there will be continued strong sales through 2006, mostly because of the combined cycle configuration. Some turbine manufacturers are reporting order backlogs now stretching to 2004.

In this configuration, one or more gas turbines are combined with a steam turbine, and as exhaust is discharged from the gas turbine, the fumes are captured in a heat recovery steam generator, and thus, drive the steam turbine.

"This type of configuration is often near 60% efficiency, compared to a single gas turbine in a simple cycle that generates 35% to 40% efficiency," said analyst Max Mayer. "This configuration has contributed to the market for associated products like steam turbines and heat recovery steam generators, which have both shown solid increases in sales."

The combined cycle configuration allows more versatility for power producers. With a two-gas, one-steam turbine configuration, one of the gas turbines may be turned off during low-load or maintenance periods, while the rest of the machine runs at an optimum level.

Gas turbine manufacturers and power plant producers are especially interested in the market's outlook and plan to focus in the next several years to bringing more combined cycle systems on line, especially in high brownout areas and regions with high electricity costs.

"Improving efficiency rates is a driving force in turbine technology," Mayer said. "Turbines are the most efficient generating source in combustion technology used to create electricity. Slight improvements in efficiency percentages translate to lower costs for power plants and thus lower prices for electricity."

For information about the report, contact Rolf Gatlin at 210-348-1017, or send an e-mail to rgatlin@frost.com.

Carolyn Davis, Houston

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