NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    FEBRUARY 2015

Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Plants Will Pay $800 Million for Water Treatment Chemicals This Year

Gas turbine and combined cycle (GTCC) power plants will spend less than nuclear or coal-fired power plants on water treatment chemicals this year. However, this segment will show higher growth than the other two segments. One of the variables is the Fukushima nuclear plant which will account for nearly 2 percent of all the power plant treatment chemical purchases this year. Nuclear accidents are, therefore, a significant consideration in any forecast.

This power market sector is continually analyzed in Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals: World Market, published by the McIlvaine Company. (

GTCC plants use treatment chemicals such as coagulants on the intake water.  This is converted to ultrapure water. In the process, chemicals are used to adjust the pH and to remove contaminants. Additional chemicals are used with the steam to minimize high temperature corrosion.  The cooling water and wastewater also require a variety of chemicals.

One of the biggest markets is the retrofitting of peaking plants with heat recovery steam generators and steam turbines to combine the cycle. A number of operators in the Middle East routinely start with a peaking plant and later combine the cycle.  In the U.S., peaking plants are being converted not only because of the power needs but to minimize the greenhouse gas footprint.  A peaking plant emits nearly 40 percent more CO2/MW than a combined cycle plant.

There are a number of site specific variables which impact treatment chemical investment. One would be the silica content of the intake water. This varies by an order of magnitude depending on the water source. Another variable is the nitrates and organics in the source water.  The use of municipal wastewater as the source of GTCC plants is now common. When this source is utilized, the treatment chemical expenditures are higher than when more pristine sources are tapped.

Today GTCC plants are commonly cycled hundreds of times per year.  This creates problems which require additional treatment chemical expenditures.  Flow-Accelerated Corrosion (FAC) can cause leaks and ruptures in carbon steel piping, vessels and equipment.

The difficulty in obtaining water discharge permits is leading to adoption of zero liquid discharge.  The recycling and evaporation processes require treatment chemicals.  Purification of water used for inlet cooling to the turbine is another revenue generator for treatment chemical companies. For more information on Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals: World Market, click on:

McIlvaine also tracks each project and existing gas turbine plant.  For more information on this program, click on: 59EI Gas Turbine and Combined Cycle Supplier Program