Natural gas power plants need to run efficiently so the plant doesn’t use more of the energy that it produces than necessary. It takes a lot of energy to run a power plant, but the more energy the power plant uses to run the facility itself, the less it has to sell. While natural gas power plants use a fair amount of the energy it produces, it would need to use much more energy if their compressors weren’t efficient enough, reducing profits.
Gas combustion turbines in natural gas power plants have three elements:
1) A compressor draws air into the engine. It becomes pressurized and goes into the combustion chamber.
2) The combustion system has a ring of fuel injectors that inject fuel into combustion chambers where it mixes with the pressurized air. Both the gas (fuel) and the air have been compressed. They are then heated to 2,000+ degrees and sent to the turbine section.
3) In the turbine section, the gas/air mixture expands, rotating the blades inside the turbine. The rotating blades serve two purposes: pulling in more air and spinning a generator, which produces electricity.
By having efficient compressors in a gas turbine, natural gas power plants can produce more energy while using less. This increases their production and their profit.