We are considering changing the electric motor drive on our air compressor to a steam turbine to reduce available steam letdowns. We do not have any steam turbines and so do not know much about them. Would the air compressor manufacturer be consulted first to determine feasibility or will it require a new air compressor specifically designed for steam turbines? What would be costs to replace 250hp motor? What extra controls are needed? Also, I would assume maintenance costs for turbine would be a lot more compared to motor. Any idea costs for this?
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Veerasamy Venkatesan Forum Moderator 13 Posts
Re: What's involved in changing from an electric motor to a steam turbine?19 February 2010 at 1:29pmIt is very common to install steam turbines when there is a steady HP steam flow through let-down valves to a lower pressure header. The power savings usually justifies the turbine installation and maintenance costs. Turbines usually incur more maintenance cost than electric motors.
The steam turbines can drive air-compressors, pumps or any other drive applications. Air compressors and pumps are the most common steam turbine drive applications in process industries.
Based on the quantity of steam flow, pressure and temperature conditions of steam at up-stream and down stream of the let down valve, the turbine's shaft power output can be calculated. If there is enough steam flow at the let-down valve, your option of replacing a 250hp motor is technically feasible.
There is no need to change the air compressor, but a gearbox may be required as turbines run at a higher RPM than the motors.
Turbines are variable speed machines, while AC motors are constant speed drives. Depending upon the air compressor's control needs, the turbine controls could be specified.