Power Plant Upgrades in Colombia

Teaching an old plant new tricks. Celsia is providing sustainable energy for the city of Barranquilla
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Finding a Solution to a Challenge

Zona Franca Celsia just like many other plants out in the market today, was reaching its life expectancy, as older components started to limit the plant’s capabilities.  Celsia was faced with finding a solution that would allow them to quickly increase their power if they wanted to continue being a reliable thermoelectric power provider for the Colombian grid.

Hydro generation represents more than 70% of the installed capacity in Colombia thus increasing the national grid dependency on thermoelectric generation during dry seasons caused by El Niño.  Zona Franca Celsia has been a long-time contributor to the Colombian coastal grid providing thermoelectric energy for over 30 years.  Celsia is now able to provide even more power to the grid, while running a more reliable operation with advanced cybersecurity and state-of-the-art equipment, enabling the city of Barranquilla to have the reliable power they need, regardless of the weather conditions. 


Siemens was able to increase the customer’s asset value through an assessment of the gas turbines and control systems and provided recommendations for upgrades and modernizations, rather than completely replacing the units.  This was achieved by identifying and implementing improvements that aimed at increasing reliability, lessen downtime, mitigate costs, increase power and provide more plant security.  Finding the right solutions was part of an ongoing collaboration between Celsia and Siemens.  Siemens was committed to providing enhanced equipment and advanced services provided by an experienced staff to implement the upgrades on-time and without safety incidents. 

Partnership – An ally for the ages

It makes us happy to see Siemens bringing us new digital transformation ideas that allow us to operate and keep getting better.

Ricardo Sierra, Leader - Celsia

Celsia and its allies, in this case Siemens, continue to be fully committed to ensuring that the country will keep growing, keep developing, and keep having the reliable energy it needs.

Marcelo Álvarez, Leader of Generation - Celsia

Siemens is not just a supplier; they are a strategic ally. We’ve been working together since 1995, with excellent results. I’d say we’ve received everything we’ve hoped for and more.

Jaime Pardo, Thermal Power Generation Leader - Celsia

The benefits - An investment that pays off

By upgrading the plant components to the latest technology and software solutions, the plant now runs with increased reliability, availability, efficiency and security, allowing Celsia to provide reliable and secure power to the grid.  The upgrades implemented also decreased down-time by reducing the number of scheduled outages for the plant. 

The Solution

Modernizing the Turbine

Celsia chose to take advantage of proven results from the SGT6-5000F turbine rotor, by opting to replace their existing SGT-3000E compressor rotor with a new bolted compressor rotor, versus doing a full engine replacement.  This allows engine ramp rates of up to 24 MW/min and has a 150,000 hour lifespan, bringing new life into the rugged and tired turbine.

Improving Power and Heat Rate

Advanced Siemens Si3D turbine vanes and blades were installed in the SGT6-3000E gas turbine. These are part of a new generation of turbine blades/vanes that employ an aerodynamic redesign with enhanced materials, coatings, reduced cooling air requirements, and lower parasitic losses. These new blades provide a significant power gain and heat rate improvement. 

Replacing Controls and Increasing Security

As part of the modernizations completed at Celsia, they replaced their obsolete controls with a new SPPA-T3000 distributed control system allowing for boosted reliability and added cybersecurity.  Celsia can now control both power blocks from a unified controlled platform, achieving higher performance data distribution, and context-sensitive online diagnostic information at a glance.  

To learn more about the modernizations completed at Celsia, download the presentation given at PowerGen International 2018.

Download presentation


Would you like to know more about how to revitalize your plant?

Siemens supports a reliable, affordable, and efficient power supply through smart technology, state-of-the-art equipment, and innovative services and delivery options.  Reach out to us, so we can discuss how we can help extend the performance of your plant.