Mitsubishi kicks off production of advanced gas turbine at Georgia facility

November 30, 2015 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

SAVANNAH, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc. (MHPSA) has begun production on the world’s most advanced gas turbine at its Savannah Machinery Works (SMW) facility in Savannah, Georgia.

Recently, 65 industry leaders representing electric utilities, independent power producers, developers, investment bankers, and lenders were on-hand at SMW to mark the first time the most efficient and reliable gas turbine in operation in the world is being manufactured in North America. While it is the first to be manufactured in the US, this J-Series turbine will be the 28th to go into commercial operation, scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. Seven more M501Js are planned to roll off the SMW assembly line within the next year.

The industry leaders participated in a two day event that included reviews and analysis of the J-series performance since the start of commercial operation, and culminated in a factory tour highlighted by viewing the production of the M501J. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems’ (MHPS) J-series is the first high temperature advanced technology gas turbine on the market, years ahead of the competition and is a proven and reliable engine. With validation confirmed more than two years ago, the M501J has established itself as the standard for 21st century. Seventeen J-series units are currently in commercial operation at six different power plants world-wide and unit 18 is scheduled to go on-line in January 2016 in South Korea. The company recently increased its total units sold to 41 units with the announcement that two M501Js will be installed at an 850MW plant in Nuevo León, Mexico.

These sales reflect customer confidence in the technology. MHPS’s Advanced Technology Gas Turbine is the prime mover capable of achieving a combined cycle efficiency of 61.5% with sustained 1,600°C (2,912°F) turbine inlet temperatures. The J-series gas turbine offers the largest output and the highest performance among heavy-duty gas turbines in commercial operation in the industry. It also has resulted in the most efficient use of fossil fuel resources while providing significant environmental benefits including the reduction of CO2emissions of approximately 60% in combined cycle operation when compared to conventional coal plants.

Promise Made – Promise Kept

The decision to manufacture the J-series at MHPSA’s $325 million Savannah Machinery Works, an ultramodern manufacturing facility that opened in 2011, reflects the ability of some 350 employees to fabricate turbines to the most exacting standards imaginable.

At the time of its opening, the leaders of the Company fully understood the enormous potential of the Savannah Machinery Works. It marked the first time that MHPS had built a complete gas turbine manufacturing facility outside of Japan.

Bill Newsom, Executive Vice President, New Generation Systems of MHPSA stated, “That strategic decision was in recognition that we can offer manufacturing excellence right here in the United States in an ultramodern factory that can meet tolerances down to 0.008 millimeters (0.0003 inches).” The plant also ensured that MHPSA can be closer to its North American customer base and thereby provide far faster support.

Extraordinary Workforce – High Tech Equipment

Sam Suttle, Vice President of North America Manufacturing and Repair at MHPSA, stated, “Our work force is highly trained and capable of performing ultra-high precision machining, advanced welding, and very precise large fabrication and assembly operations. It is not by coincidence that they have been selected to build the 21st century’s leading gas turbine now in operation around the world.”

Mr. Suttle explained that MHPSA employees tasked with that responsibility are put through a rigorous and continued curriculum that ensures they are not only qualified to be on the factory floor but that their skills remain sharp.

“This facility includes a broad spectrum of equipment that allows us to bring significant efficiencies to the manufacture of the J-series. We have the largest operating high speed balancing facility in North America which is crucial for turbine manufacturing. Additionally there are over 200 pieces of sophisticated manufacturing equipment and robots we bring to bear for the task including water jet cutting, automated welding, 3 D printing and more,” Mr. Suttle said. “At the end of the day, however, it’s about having the best people doing the job,” he concluded.

A milestone for the J-series

That expertise is put to work as production continues on the first J-Series turbine being built in North America and slated for installation at Grand River Dam Authority’s (GRDA) Grand River Energy Center in Oklahoma. The unit will replace an old coal-fired unit furthering their goal of reliable and diverse electrical generation. “This unit has the potential to be the most efficient combined cycle plant in the country,” Charles Barney, assistant general manager of thermal generation for GRDA, explained.

“We are proud to be part of GRDA’s strategic plan to create reliable, efficient, lower cost energy for its customers and the J-series is the powerful ‘agent of change’ in achieving those goals. We expect it to be the standard of excellence by which all others are measured,” observed Mr. Newsom.

About Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc. is headquartered in Lake Mary, FL. With over 2,000 employees, MHPSA operates four manufacturing and repair centers and provides a wide variety of products and services for the electric power generation industry including gas, steam, and geothermal turbines, boiler, and environmental control systems to serve customers throughout the Americas. The company’s parent is Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd. (MHPS) in Japan. Learn more at