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2:30pm – 16:15pm – The UK’s first industrial gas turbine

The UK’s first industrial gas turbine was developed by CA Parsons & Co beginning in the 1930s. The machine ran for the first time in 1945. All of the key elements: compressor, turbine, combustion chamber, exhaust heat exchanger and control technology were developed by CA Parsons & Co Ltd independently. The unit had to use the fuel available in WWII i.e. pool oil, and was used to investigate the viability of operation on residual fuel oil and pulverised coal. Geoff Horseman, formerly Chief Turbine Engineer at Siemens CA Parsons Works, will tell the story of this machine using information and photos from the original development files.

6:30pm – 20:15pm – Parsons first gas turbine-generator: the Dunston ‘A’ unit of 1948

In 1945, CA Parsons & Co constructed the UK’s first industrial gas turbine in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. It was an immediate success. It was followed by an order in 1948 for one of the first gas turbine-generators for use at a British power station. This was a 15 MW unit for Dunston ‘A’ power station in Gateshead.

This machine had to achieve an efficiency comparable with the best steam power plants then entering service, it had to operate for a life of at least 100,000 running hours and yet still had to provide all of the benefits of gas turbines eg fast starting. The available materials allowed a firing temperature of just 650oC if this service life was to be achieved and the stresses in the major parts had to be just 25% of those permitted in jet engines of the day. This resulted in an arrangement with three compressors with intercooling between each stage driven by one HP and two LP turbines with reheat at entry to both LP turbines and exhaust heat recovery.

The low firing temperature resulted in a complex arrangement but it achieved a satisfactory efficiency and proved to be a key step towards the simpler, more efficient, more capable high temperature gas turbine-generators of today.

About the Speaker

Geoff Horseman was formerly Chief Turbine Engineer at Siemens CA Parsons Works.

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