Since the advent of premix combustion technology in industrial gas turbines, regular manual combustion tuning and engine adjustments have been necessary to maintain engines within emission regulatory limits and to control combustion dynamics (pulsations) for hardware integrity. The emissions and pulsation signatures of premix combustors are strongly driven by ambient conditions, engine performance, degradation and fuel composition. As emissions limits became more stringent over the years, higher combustion dynamics were encountered and challenges to maintain acceptable settings after yearly combustion inspections were regularly encountered. This challenge was further increased as sites operating advanced Gas Turbines (GT) eliminated Combustion Inspections (CI) and required uninterrupted generation at optimum settings for up to three years. The case for automated tuning systems became evident for the Industrial Gas Turbine (IGT) market in the mid 2000’s and different IGT manufacturers and service providers began developing them. Power Systems Manufacturing (PSM) developed the AutoTune (AT) system in 2008 and has since installed it in over fifty units, accumulating close to a million hours of operation. The history of PSM’s AT system development as well as a description of its fundamental principles and capabilities are discussed.
The power generation market is changing rapidly with the injection of renewables, thus driving the demand for operational flexibility, the design of PSM’s multi-platform compatible, AutoTune system; allowing for increased peak power, extended turndown and transient tuning is discussed. The paper also describes, how, using the same tuning principles, the application for an AutoTune system can be extended to the Balance Of Plant (BOP) equipment.