Prevent Turbine Fouling with Proper Filtration

Prevent Turbine Fouling with Proper Filtration

A gas turbine inlet filtration system cleans the air entering a gas turbine. To prevent fouling, among other consequences, these inlet air filtration systems must be carefully selected and properly operated, maintained, and tested. Read on to discover how selection of the right air filter product is necessary to prevent fouling of the gas turbine.

Importance of Inlet Air Filtration

Even in a relatively clean environment, a gas turbine can ingest hundreds of pounds of various- sized, foreign particles each year. The more advanced the gas turbine, the more sensitive the turbine is to the quality of the air it ingests.

The primary purpose of inlet air filtration is to clean the air well enough that the operational goals of the machine are met. Secondarily, the inlet air filtration system is supposed to maintain inlet air filtration efficiency. Certain filter designs protect against particles of different sizes and composition.


Fouling is the next step of degradation of the gas turbine after erosion. Smaller, harder particles cause fouling. This occurs when material builds up in low, flow-rate locations along the path of the airflow and in cavities. Besides small particles, water, salts, oil vapors and other adhesive substances work individually or combine to form sticky places to which particles can adhere.

These small, hard particles stick to the surfaces of compressor blades and the turbine’s blade cooling passageways. The effect is that clearances are changed, rotating balance is disrupted, and air flow paths are obstructed. Additionally, blade surfaces of both stationary and rotating blades become rougher.

While fouling is reversible, the cost is the interrupted output process during what can be lengthy shutdowns. To prevent as much fouling as possible, ensure that your gas turbine’s inlet air filters are the appropriate filters best suited for a gas turbine’s environment and output goals.

Inlet Air Filters

Hard, submicron particles can easily be removed with the right air filters but keeping the turbine free from those sticky substances like water and oil vapors requires additional, special filters.

Turbine inlet filtration selection is a careful balance of performance and efficiency versus inlet air quality. Cleaner, less moist air will control fouling, but higher efficiency filters can cause pressure loss, which decreases efficiency, too. It can be challenging to keep pressure losses to a minimum while removing adequate amounts of moisture and particles.

Selection of the right inlet air filtration system for gas turbines means understanding the contaminants that the selected filters must remove. Operators must also understand filtration parameters and how these are affected by the environment in which the gas turbine operates.


Though fouling is a reversible process, it slows production and could result in repair and replacement of gas turbine machinery. Engineered Filtration Systems has experts on hand to evaluate your system and help you choose the best air filter for your gas turbine’s goals and environment. Contact EFS, at 800-796-4337, for more information or visit us on the web to learn more.

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