Market & Product

Ready, steady… Polonia Aero

Everything is almost ready to go at the new Polonia Aero Cold Flow Turbine Test Facility in Zielonka, near Warsaw. Construction of the new Test Facility on a greenfield site by a consortium consisting of Avio Aero (59%), the Polish company WZL4 (39%) as well as Military Academy of Technology (1%) and the Polytechnic of Warsaw (1%) was a major undertaking. The three buildings making up the facility were erected in a very short timeframe for the purpose of performing the widest possible range of tests on low pressure turbines of various sizes and performance parameters.
A great deal of effort was made to minimise potential delays in terms of engineering, procurement and construction, and a zero-tolerance approach was adopted to safety and quality issues.
The first of the three buildings to be completed was the Transformer Substation, which transforms electrical voltage from 110 kV to 15 kV with a maximum power of 45 MW. Completed several months ago, it is already powering the facility, although the current supply request is low compared with its capability. The other two, the Electrical and Main Buildings (with a surface area of 2,500 sq.m housing offices, the technological and testing rooms as well as the compressor room) were completed last month.
All air and water pipes have been installed and connected, and the control valves have been connected to the Control System (for power, control and instrumentation), and successfully tested. The compressors and blower have been connected and powered-up, and all the main mechanical components in the Test Room (inside the Main Building) have been installed and aligned.
Last but not least, the Control Room (also located in the Main Building) has been equipped with the workstations and controllers needed to perform and supervise the tests. The commissioning activities will be conducted throughout the month of June, after which the facility will be ready for start-up and testing.
Polonia Aero will therefore have a team of around 20 engineers responsible for facility operations and maintenance, as well as the designers who will work on project development together with the Avio Aero Engineering team.
The initial tests will comprise a series of static tests in which a special simulator called the Static Turbine Simulator will be used in place of the Test Article. To ensure that the facility maintains satisfactory performance over the entire operating envelope, a special device called a Static Turbine Simulator (a custom-designed multiple flow orifice plate and housing) will be used in lieu of a low pressure turbine. These tests will be performed without any operating rotating parts.
Following successful completion of the static tests, the Static Turbine Simulator will be removed and replaced by the real Test Article, on which the dynamic tests will be performed. The first test article to be tested will be a GEnx AP14, already tested in the GE Cold Flow facility in Evendale. The turbine’s known performances during the American tests will be used as a master for the Zielonka facility. The test article will be prepared for installation while the facility runs the static tests so as to be ready for August. In September the dynamic tests will also be completed in order to assess the performance of the facility and if possible proceed to subsequent testing. The first tests for the main European R&D projects are planned for 2016.