Increased cycling of combined-cycle plants has made precise control of attemperator spray water within heat-recovery steam generators more important if damage to their hardware and piping is to be avoided. Complicating the issue is the industry’s still-limited experience with cycling and the fact that demands on the attemperator and turbine bypass of cycled plants are more stringent than those on baseloaded units.
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The U.S. power generation industry is changing at warp speed, via regulatory changes, consolidation, mergers, and sales of assets at yard-sale prices. New players have entered the market and become major players overnight, while several mainstays have gone bankrupt. Though many of the latter blamed high gas prices for their woes, well-diversified merchants enjoyed a record year. Whatever changes are in store for the business of combined-cycle generation, you can be sure that innovations in plant design and O&M such as those described in this special section will keep pace with them.
With U.S. combined-cycle plants increasingly being cycled—rather than being run continuously, as they were designed to do—owner/operators worry that units expected to last two or three decades may survive only a few years without an expensive overhaul. Cycling takes as much of a toll on heat-recovery steam generators as it does on gas turbines. Whether you’re procuring a new HRSG or adapting an existing one for cycling service, robust design features should be what you’re looking for.
Operating a combined-cycle power plant profitably is no walk in the park, even under ideal conditions. But the extreme conditions at the Beluga Power Plant—from isolation to volcanoes—challenge its staff every day in ways that operators in the lower 48 can only imagine.
The jury is still out on the economic and technical feasibility of burning gasified coal to generate electricity. Gasification technology has yet to be proven on a utility scale, especially with Powder River Basin coal as the feedstock. And on the generation side, there are more questions than answers about the capital cost and availability of integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants. But with natural gas prices high and rising, it’s definitely worth examining whether it would be economically and technically feasible to convert the existing U.S. fleet of gas-fired combined-cycle plants to burn gasified coal.
Designers of heat-recovery steam generators are using computational fluid dynamics software as one tool to reveal the invisible forces affecting the flow over, under, around, and through structures such as inlet ducts, distribution grids, and guide vanes.
The U.S. needs to add 600 to 800 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas storage capacity ASAP. Independent storage providers (ISPs) are the entities best equipped to build this needed infrastructure, but they continue to be restrained by anachronistic regulatory policies. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) December 2005 rule-making to modify its […]
Paris-based Alstom just handed the keys to the new, 1,200-MW Cartagena combined-cycle power plant (Figure 2) to Barcelona-based Gas Natural. The facility was finished in 24 months and 12 days following its ordering in December 2003, and nine weeks ahead of schedule. Peter Papert, project manager for Cartagena, said, "It was built more quickly than […]