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Inventors of the Year 2016

Lifetime Achievement

If you want to be a leader in innovation, you must not make do with standard solutions. This attitude has led to Hans-Gerd Brummel winning an award as Inventor of the Year in the Lifetime Achievements category. He is behind many technologies to optimize the operation of gas turbines. For instance, he is one of the pioneers of remote diagnostics and maintenance and recently developed a self-learning system for burner adjustment. His inventions at Power Generation Services are of great importance for the operators of power plant turbines, since it can quickly become very expensive when such units fail.

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Technologies for reliable operation of gas turbines

From Berlin, some of the most technologically sophisticated gas turbines are shipped all over the globe to generate electricity reliably and efficiently, and Hans-Gerd Brummel can justifiably claim to have played an active role in that. A specialist for innovative measurement technologies and monitoring systems at the Power Generation Services Division, Brummel develops new methods from scratch.

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Pioneering remote diagnosis of damage to gas turbines

To bring gas turbine service to a new level, in close cooperation with a new plant, Brummel developed a remote diagnosis method for monitoring a turbine’s interior with a local diagnostics platform that transmits data to a specialized center. “The breakthrough came when, at our new monitoring center in Orlando, we diagnosed a fault in a gas turbine at a distance of thousands of kilometers,” Brummel recalls.

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Optimum configuration of gas turbines with artificial intelligence

With one of his more recent inventions, Brummel has helped to introduce a method of preventing damage from occurring in gas turbines. Together with Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich, he developed and deployed a smart, self-learning system. “The system has the memory of an elephant and notices every deviation from ideal operation, and it gains experience constantly,” he says. A controller that continuously improves the turbine's complex, multi-stage combustion process by regulating its individual fuel streams is connected to this system. “Previously, a combustion specialist had to visit the site every couple of months and make adjustments. Of course, that was too inflexible for the many fluctuations in operating conditions, including seasonal ones,” says Brummel.

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We discuss problems and weaknesses and at some point the idea crops up. It’s not so important who had the original flash of inspiration as we generally work in highly motivated teams because of the complexity of the tasks.

Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel, Developer at Power Generation Services, Berlin