Non-Varnishing Turbine Fluids

Major oil companies have been forced to remove carcinogens from their lubricant base stocks and, after several iterations (Group I to Group II to Group III base stocks), the resulting base materials exhibit poor solvency and issues with heightened varnish formation. These deficiencies are significant problems in the power generation (PowerGen) industry where large gas turbines incorporate sophisticated (servo) valves that are intolerant of decomposition byproducts. A small amount of varnish can cause servo valves to stick, causing an unscheduled trip and turbine shutdown, significant maintenance and repair expense, and lost generating capacity.

In chemistry, “likes dissolve likes”. EcoSafe® TF-25 polyalkylene glycol (PAG) turbine fluid from American Chemical Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is a polar molecule that produces only polar byproducts that will always remain soluble in the base stock. They are unique in that they are chemically incapable of producing insoluble varnish. After eight years and over 68,000 hours of varnish-free performance, General Electric now includes PAG’s in their GEK 32568 specification for large frame gas turbines. For varnish-free performance and reliability, synthetic PAG-based turbine fluids are the answer.

If the budget won’t permit a total fluid conversion, or there is no outage scheduled to make change lubricants in the near future, patented EcoSafe® Revive turbine fluid additive from ACT can be used to shift the polarity of an existing hydrocarbon-based turbine fluid to achieve non-varnishing characteristics similar to those provided by straight PAG chemistry. It is the latest ACT solution designed to provide the PowerGen industry with effective solutions to critical operating issues, including eliminating costly turbine trips.