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Gas Turbine Power Generation Plant? Construction, Working, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications

What is a Gas Turbine Power Generation Plant? Construction, Working, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications


Gas turbine power plants produce electricity efficiently using turbines driven by gases from high-temperature fuel combustion. Their fast starting, compactness, and economics make gas turbines suitable for utility and distributed power generation. Let’s explore what gas turbine power plants are, their components, working principles, types, manufacturing, installation, benefits, limitations, and major applications. Gas turbine power generation is a dynamic method of generating electricity using gas turbine engines. This comprehensive guide explores the world of gas turbine power plants, covering their principles, advantages, disadvantages, construction, working, types, applications, challenges, and future trends.

What is a Gas Turbine Power Plant?

A gas turbine power plant works on converting heat energy from fuel combustion into rotational mechanical energy used to drive generators for electricity production. Air compressed in a turbine is mixed with fuel, ignited in a combustion chamber, and expanded across subsequent turbine stages to produce usable shaft work.

The gas turbine’s rotational motion spins the generator rotor to produce electrical energy based on electromagnetic induction principles. Gas turbine plants offer high power capacity, reliability, and flexibility.

Gas Turbine Basics

Gas turbines compress and combust air-fuel mixtures to produce high-velocity gases that expand to rotate the turbine blades. They can burn a wide range of gaseous and liquid fuels. Single or multiple turbine stages mounted on a standard shaft are used for power generation.

Brayton Cycle

Gas turbine plants operate on the open Brayton thermodynamic cycle comprising isentropic compression in the compressor, constant pressure combustion, and isentropic expansion in the turbine rotating the shaft.

Understanding Gas Turbine Power Plants

Principles of Gas Turbine Power Generation

Gas turbine power generation relies on the combustion of gaseous fuels, such as natural gas, to drive gas turbine engines, which, in turn, generate mechanical energy.

Types of Gas Turbine Power Plants

We will delve into various gas turbine power plants, each designed for specific applications and operational requirements.

Now, let’s examine the major components of a gas turbine power plant.

Gas Turbine Power Plant Components


Inlet axial and centrifugal compressors to compress ambient air to high pressures.

Combustion Chamber

Where continuous combustion of compressed air and injected fuel occurs.


Has sets of stationary and rotational aerofoil blades. Expanding gases rotate the turbine to produce shaft work.


Coupled to the turbine shaft, it rotates within stationary coils to produce electrical energy.

Heat Recovery System

Utilizes exhaust heat from turbines in waste heat boilers or recuperators.

Control Systems

Computerized control and monitoring systems for efficient and safe turbine operations.

Let’s understand how these components enable electricity generation in a gas turbine power plant.

Working Principle of Gas Turbine Plant

Air Compression

Ambient air is drawn in and compressed up to 30 times atmospheric pressure by axial and centrifugal compressors.

Fuel Combustion

Pressurized air is mixed with fuel, ignited, and combusted continuously in combustion chambers to reach very high temperatures.

Gas Expansion

The resulting high-energy gas expands across multiple turbine stages. Gas flow causes turbine blades to rotate at thousands of rpm.

Power Generation

The turbine shaft rotation spins the coupled electricity generator to produce electric power based on the electromagnetic induction principle.

Heat Recovery

Exhaust heat from turbine stages can be recovered in heat exchangers to improve overall plant efficiency.

Different types of gas turbine plant configurations are based on heat recovery and cycle design.

Types of Gas Turbine Plants

Open Cycle Gas Turbine

Simple cycle turbines without any heat recovery. Offer up to 35% efficiency. Used for peaking and emergency power.

Combined Cycle Gas Turbine

Recover exhaust heat to generate steam and power a steam turbine. Overall efficiency exceeds 60%. Often used for baseload power.

Cogeneration Gas Turbine

Provides usable heat along with electricity generation through exhaust heat recovery boilers. Overall fuel efficiency is over 80%.

Gas turbine manufacturing involves precision fabrication, assembly, and extensive testing.

Gas Turbine Manufacturing

Component Fabrication

Turbine materials like nickel alloys and titanium alloys are fabricated into blades, vanes, disks, casings, etc., using precision machining.


Turbine and compressor sections are assembled coaxially on casings. Auxiliary systems integration completes the turbine.


Each component is individually tested. Completed turbines undergo full-load performance testing to verify operation before field installation.

Proper site selection, foundation design, and installation are vital for gas turbines.

Gas Turbine Installation

Site Selection and Preparation

The site must have accessible logistics, suitable geology, space for handling, and infrastructure needs. The site is prepared with necessary leveling, compacting, etc.

Foundation Design

Reinforced concrete foundations are designed for static and dynamic loads. High-precision alignment is ensured.

Lifting and Mounting

Large cranes lift and place the turbine precisely on the prepared foundation. Grouting provides fixation.

Piping and Ducting

Inlet, outlet, fuel, and cooling system piping is connected as per design specifications to integrate the turbine with auxiliaries.

Electrical Connections

Generator terminals are connected to the switchyard, synchronizing equipment, and grid interconnection facilities.

Gas turbine plants offer multiple advantages:

Advantages of Gas Turbine Plants

  • High power capacity and compact size
  • Low startup times and high operational flexibility
  • High availability exceeding 95% when properly maintained
  • Fuel flexibility – natural gas, ethane, propane, kerosene, etc
  • Lower emissions than diesel gensets
  • Scalable modular configurations for distributed power needs
  • Can be installed near load centers

However, gas turbines also have some limitations:

Disadvantages of Gas Turbine Plants

  • Open cycle efficiency is low at around 30%, though combined cycle improves it vastly
  • High initial capital costs, though very low operating costs
  • Advanced materials with thermal capability are needed
  • Consumes large quantities of intake air
  • Compressor washing is required because of air intake dirt
  • Limited turndown capability restricts part-load operations

Some significant applications of gas turbine power plants include:

Applications of Gas Turbine Power Plants

Utility Power Generation

Used by electric utilities for base load, peaking, and emergency power production feeding the grid.

Mechanical Drive

Driving compressors in pipelines, centrifugal pumps, and generators as mechanical loads.

Marine Propulsion

Widely used for main propulsion and onboard power in naval vessels, cargo ships, and luxury liners.

Peak Load Plants

Quick-starting gas turbines serve peak demands and handle grid load variations.

Peaking Power Plants

Gas turbines are often used in peaking power plants to meet high electricity demand during peak periods.

Aircraft Propulsion

Gas turbine engines power aircraft, providing thrust for aviation.

Combined Cycle Power Plants

Combined cycle power plants combine gas and steam turbines to maximize efficiency and power output.

Comparison with Other Generators

  • Gas turbines are lighter and faster starting than diesel or steam turbine generators.
  • More compact, less complex, and efficient than steam turbine plants.
  • Provide steadier voltage control than highly variable renewable energy generators.
  • Gas turbines have lower emissions than diesel generators.

Challenges and Future Trends

Efficiency Improvements

Ongoing research focuses on improving gas turbine efficiency through advanced technologies and designs.

Hydrogen as a Fuel Source

The exploration of hydrogen as a clean fuel source for gas turbines is gaining attention for a more sustainable future.

Environmental Considerations

Addressing emissions and environmental impacts remains a critical challenge for gas turbine power generation.


Gas turbine power generation plays a pivotal role in the modern energy landscape, offering high efficiency and quick response capabilities. While it has advantages and disadvantages, ongoing innovations aim to make gas turbine power more efficient and environmentally friendly.


Gas turbine power plants offer efficient, modular, and scalable power generation solutions for utility and distributed needs. They compress air and combust fuel to release enormous heat energy, expanding across turbine stages to produce mechanical rotation that drives coupled generators.

Open cycle, combined cycle, and cogeneration gas turbine configurations balance performance, efficiency, and costs for specific roles. With fast starting, high reliability, and operational flexibility, gas turbines complement the grid integration of renewable energy. Advancements to boost efficiency and flexibility will expand gas power’s applications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is gas turbine power generation, and how does it work?
    • Gas turbine power generation uses the combustion of gaseous fuels to drive gas turbine engines, which generate mechanical energy converted into electricity.
  2. What are the main advantages of gas turbine power generation?
    • Advantages include high efficiency, quick start, compact design, and relatively low emissions.
  3. What are the primary disadvantages of gas turbine power generation?
    • Disadvantages include fuel dependency, limited fuel options, and maintenance costs.
  4. Where is gas turbine power generation commonly applied?
    • Gas turbines are used in peaking power plants, aircraft propulsion, and combined cycle power plants.
  5. How do the construction and working of gas turbine power plants take place?
    • Gas turbine engines drive generators, which produce electricity through electromagnetic induction.
  6. What are the different types of gas turbine power plants?
    • Types include open-cycle gas turbine plants, closed-cycle gas turbine plants, and combined-cycle power plants.
  7. What challenges does gas turbine power generation face in the future?
    • Challenges include improving efficiency, exploring hydrogen as a fuel source, and addressing environmental considerations.
  8. Is gas turbine power generation environmentally friendly?
    • Gas turbine power generation is relatively environmentally friendly due to low emissions, but ongoing efforts aim to reduce its environmental impact.
  9. What is the future of gas turbine power generation?
    • The future involves increased efficiency, exploration of hydrogen as a fuel, and addressing environmental concerns.
  10. How can gas turbine power contribute to a sustainable energy future?
    • Gas turbine power can contribute to sustainability through efficiency improvements, cleaner fuels, and emissions reduction technologies.

MCQs related to Gas Turbine Power Generation

  1. How does a gas turbine plant generate electricity?

It converts heat from compressed air-fuel combustion into mechanical rotation to spin-coupled electrical generators for power production.

  1. What are the main components of a gas turbine plant?

Key components are the compressor, combustion chamber, turbine stages, generator, heat recovery system, fuel system, lubrication system, control system, etc.

  1. What are the different types of gas turbine plants?

Simple cycle open plants, combined cycle plants, and cogeneration plants are among the common gas turbine configurations.

  1. What are the advantages of gas turbine plants?

Benefits include high power capacity, low startup times, fuel flexibility, low emissions, high availability, and suitability for distributed power.

  1. What are the applications of gas turbine plants?

They are used in utility grids, distributed generation, mechanical drives, marine propulsion and peak power production.

  1. How does a combined cycle improve gas turbine efficiency?

It recovers waste heat from turbine exhaust to generate steam and power a steam turbine for up to 60% combined efficiency.

  1. What are the Brayton and Rankine cycles?

Brayton cycle models the gas turbine process. Rankine cycle models the steam turbine process in combined cycle plants.

  1. How is a gas turbine started?

Smaller turbines use electric starters. Larger turbines initially use small starter motors or starter gas turbines that accelerate them to firing speeds.

  1. What are the disadvantages of gas turbines?

Disadvantages include high initial costs, advanced materials needs, air intake contamination risks, and poor part load performance.

  1. How fast can a gas turbine start-up?

Gas turbine startup durations range from 10 minutes for aero-derivative turbines to an hour for heavy-duty industrial turbines.

Engr. Muhammad Ali Raza

Hello, I'm Engr. Ali Raza, an Electrical Engineering Professional with a passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence. I completed my electrical engineering degree in 2017 and have since been actively engaged in the field, where I've had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills to real-world projects. Over the years, I've gained valuable experience in Engineering field, allowing me to contribute effectively to the development and implementation of electrical systems and solutions. I thrive in dynamic and challenging environments, constantly seeking opportunities to expand my expertise and make a meaningful impact in the world of Electrical Engineering.

One thought on “Gas Turbine Power Generation Plant? Construction, Working, Types, Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications

  • Talat Hameed

    Gas generates pollution


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