Pat MurphyDirector Integrated Combustion Solutions / MD&A Fuel Nozzle Services Division
In January of 1980, I began my career with General Electric®, at its Cincinnati Service Center, which has since closed. While at GE®, I progressed from a Machinist Apprentice to a Work Leader for the Large Steam Turbine bucket division in 1988 focused on low speed balance and machining. In 1994 I moved to the Gas Turbine department as a work leader in Stationary Hot Gas Path Repair. Later, I moved to a leadership position overseeing the Stationary Hot Gas Path Machine shop and Combustion Component Repairs. In this role, I had the crucial responsibility of starting the Cincinnati Fuel Nozzle repair shop. After GE, I worked for PSM® in their Fuel Systems Services department, before partnering with Joe Palmer in 2011 to create Integrated Combustion Solutions (ICS).
What do you do here at MD&A?
I am the Director of Technology for Fuel Nozzles at MD&A’s Fuel Nozzle Services Division in Duncan, South Carolina. My role is to lead the decision-making processes on new product introductions, feasibility, and accountability. I also assist in troubleshooting any issues that come up during the fuel nozzle rebuild processes, working closely with engineering. When the need arises, I am available to consult with Customers on the best course of action for their turbine’s performance.
What is the most interesting challenge you have come across on Gas Turbine Fuel Nozzle?
That is a tough question. I have had many challenges throughout my career to date. I have had the opportunity to work with so many brilliant minds. They were the individuals who have taught me how to look at the fuel systems from a variety of angles. I would surmise the most interesting “Challenge” was to set a standard for 7EA/9E DLN 1.0 flows. The end goal, which we were able to achieve, was to have the fuel nozzles flow within a 0.5% deviation and to hold that as a benchmark.
How do you determine the precise flow of fuel gas for all fuel nozzle types?
For the most part, the flow parameters were set long ago. A multitude of tests have been performed to determine correct flow through the years. Hours of bench tests were conducted and validated to ultimately conclude the best practices to follow during the rebuild and final flow of each component and assembly. The preciseness of the flow is often based on the type of nozzle and vintage of the combustion system. There are several types of fuel systems requiring different levels of allowable variations or deviations, Multi nozzle Diffusion, single nozzle diffusion, or premix flame and/or a combination of both. Mainly the flow results and the corresponding flow requirements must be tied to the fuel type the engine receives and the systems used.
Now we offer Portable flow bench testing for fuel nozzles on-site, What does that entail and what are the benefits?
The Portable flow bench will provide the customer with a side by side comparison of the fuel gas and air flow while the cover assembly is still on the unit. The reason we have gone to site to flow customers nozzles was to provide data feedback due to the engine control room reporting high temperature spreads. Using their swirl chart, they have pinpointed the possible problem area or quadrant combustion cans. We have set up the flow bench and provided the customer flow data showing the total deviations for each circuit. We then made recommendations derived from that data to assist the customer in making decisions on whether to remove and replace a cover assembly or several assemblies. In one instance, it was found that the covers were not the issue at all. The problem ended up being the Transition Piece seals on one can.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be the ability to follow a fuel molecule through the system from skid to the exhaust stack.