Siemens aims deeper into geothermal with new turbine

Siemens has planted its flag at the heart of the geothermal sector by launching a steam turbine specifically designed for the industry.

The German engineering giant unveiled a geothermal-friendly variant of its SST-400 steam turbine, which is already used in industrial applications and at concentrating solar power (CSP) plants.

Siemens says global installed geothermal capacity is expected to triple to 31GW by 2020.

The German group names the US, the Philippines and Indonesia as existing major geothermal markets, with untapped potential in areas including East Africa, Russia and Turkey.

The company already provides a range of equipment to geothermal projects, but the market for steam turbines is dominated by Japanese suppliers such as Toshiba and Fuji.

Siemens claims the SST-400 GEO is adapted to operate in the steam cycles needed at geothermal power projects, with their associated corrosion and high temperatures. It has a rating of up to 60MW.

"We've done intensive groundwork on the specific requirements of geothermal plants and are now going to market with a proven turbine concept," says Markus Tacke, chief executive of the Industrial Power unit of Siemens Energy.

"As a steam turbine manufacturer we are optimally set up with this machine to be well positioned in the marketplace over the long term," Tacke claims.