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Power Plants & Power Stations- Doug’s Tip of the Month

Types of Power Plants

Power plants are classified based on the type of fuel used for bulk power generation. Thermal, nuclear, and hydropower are the most efficient methods in this regard. A power-generating station can be broadly categorized into these three types. Some plants use multiple turbine types for electricity production, such as Co-Gen or Combined Cycle plants, where the heat from the gas turbine's exhaust boils water to steam, operating a steam turbine.

For today's Tech Tip, we'll focus on Thermal Power Generation. Thermal power involves burning fossil fuels like coal, fuel oil, natural gas, or waste to turn the turbine, which, in turn, drives the generator to produce electricity. Think of a turbine as a fixed jet engine; while there are differences between a Power Generation Turbine and a Jet Engine, their designs share similarities. Given a turbine's operation with tight tolerances, hot spots, and frequent starts and stops, careful consideration is necessary when selecting a turbine fluid. This fluid must lubricate moving parts, reduce friction and wear, and aid in cooling the turbine.

While specific requirements may vary among Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), many recommend the use of premium turbine oils like Petro-Canada Turboflo XL or Phillips 66 Diamond Class AW Turbine Oils. Some OEMs call for turbine oils with enhanced sludge and varnish protection, such as Petro-Canada Turboflo LV or Phillips 66 Diamond Class Turbine Oil. Others may specify synthetic turbine oil, like Petro-Canada Synduro or Phillips 66 Syncon Turbine oil. In some cases, turbines may require oil with an EP additive for a gear set associated with the turbine.

Given the diversity of power generation turbine manufacturers, consulting a particular OEM Operation/Owner manual for fluid recommendations should always be the first choice when selecting the proper lubricant for the application!

If you need assistance with selecting the right Petro-Canada and Phillips 66 Turbine Oil for your application, don't hesitate to contact our Lubricants Division or myself, Doug Vrooman - Senior Technical Advisor. We are here to provide you with expert technical support.

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