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T h e o r y a n d Te c h n o l o g y

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Section I
Optimizing Heat and Power Resources

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Heat and Power Resources Over view

irtually every facility requires energy conversion for both power and heat. Power may be purchased from an electric utility or private provider, or it may be produced on site. Power is used as electricity for lights and computers and to drive equipment via electric motors. It is also used as mechanical energy in the form of a rotating shaft that directly drives equipment. Heat or thermal energy is usually produced on site from purchased fuel through various types of energy conversion devices. Heat is used to raise steam, hot water, or hot air for space heating or process use, or to produce a cooling effect through certain heat-driven cycles. Power is generally produced by application of prime movers, either on site or at centralized electric generation plants. Prime movers are devices that convert fuel or heat energy into mechanical energy, which in turn can be used to drive virtually any type of shaft-powered equipment, including electric generators and motor vehicles. Due to the laws of thermodynamics, heat is produced as a necessary by-product of power production. Much of the technology discussed in this book involves three major types of prime movers: reciprocating engines, combustion gas turbine engines, and steam turbine engines. Most of the applications in this book involve strategic deployment of prime mover and certain heat-cycle technologies in commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities. This chapter introduces a number of terms used to describe and compare the application of these technologies. Facilities rarely have a consistent requirement for power and heat. Generally, these requirements vary based on the time of use or outside ambient conditions. The portion of a facilitys power or heat requirements that is constant is referred to as baseload. The portion that varies is referred to as intermittent load. Maximum intermittent requirements are referred to as the peak load. If thermal requirements are not considered, baseload power requirements are usually met most economically through purchased power from central utility power plants rather than localized on-site production. Advantages associated with centralized power production include: economy of scale, preferential fuel purchase opportunity, lower staffing levels per unit output, diversity, and reserve capacity. These advantages are usually sufficient

to overcome inherent disadvantages of centralized power production, such as system efficiency losses associated with power transmission and distribution, as well as an assortment of regulatory obligations. Intermittent and peak load requirements, on the other hand, are usually served by centralized utility systems with lower economic efficiency. In some cases, these requirements can be served more economically by strategic application of on-site power production technologies. Examples are on-site peak shaving electric generation, which is the on-site production of electricity during peak usage and/or cost periods, and various types of mechanical drive services. If thermal energy requirements are taken into consideration, on-site power production has a significant thermodynamic efficiency advantage over centralized power production, because heat energy rejected from the power production process can be used. Centralized power plants usually have no use for this heat energy and must liberate it to the environment at an economic loss. When a facility can recover and use this heat energy, the thermodynamic efficiency advantage translates into an economic advantage that may exceed the economic advantages of centralized power production. Comparison of life-cycle costs determines the degree to which it is economical to produce shaft power on site, rather than purchase power from an electric utility or private power producer. Such decisions involve analysis of an entire facilitys energy usage characteristics, including concurrent requirements for both power and heat, since on-site prime movers can provide both. The life-cycle cost elements of an on-site prime mover are primarily capital, fuel, and operations and maintenance costs, which are also the primary constituents of electric utility and other centralized power producer costs. Electric utility rates assign different portions of these capital and operational costs to different time periods based on the utilitys cost to serve. Rate designs, which often include demand charges and seasonal and time-of-use rates, send price signals that influence consumer behavior. The relationship between these price signals and on-site energy load characteristics will largely determine which portion of electricity requirements can be provided more economically by on-site prime movers than by electricity purchased from a utility or other centralized source.

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

Additionally, the marginal, or incremental, cost of utility power production will largely determine whether it is economical to produce more power than is required on site and export the excess to other sellers or users. Investment in an on-site prime mover shifts many additional cost factors onto the individual facility. These costs are capital, fuel procurement, and operation and maintenance, as well as costs associated with reserve capacity, emissions control, space considerations, and insurance. The potential payoff for absorbing these added cost factors is lower operating costs and increased economic performance.


There are numerous terms used to describe application of prime mover cycles. These include topping, bottoming, simple, combined, and cogeneration cycles. Definitions for these terms are flexible. Commonly, topping and bottoming are applied to cycles to indicate the stage at which an energy stream is used to produce power. Alternatively, the term base unit may be used to indicate the primary system to which a topping or bottoming cycle is applied. The topping cycle may be characterized as one that uses a high temperature working fluid to generate power followed by use of recovered heat. In contrast, in a bottoming cycle, the working fluid is used as a high-temperature heat source before being used for power generation.

overall thermal efficiency. The base system may be a preexisting system or a new one, and it normally is the major power producer. For example, if a gas turbine is fitted with a heat recovery boiler that supplies a steam turbine, then the steam turbine plant becomes a bottoming unit on the base gas turbine. Figure 1-1 illustrates a simple-cycle gas turbine base unit. Figure 1-2 illustrates the addition of a heat recovery system to this base unit. Simple cycle refers to the conventional application of a single prime mover cycle. As shown in Figure 1-3, a combined cycle, as the name implies, is the sequential linking of any topping and bottoming cycle, or two simple cycles. The classic combined cycle is a gas turbine in conjunction with a steam turbine. The gas turbine generates shaft power at the upper range of the energy stream. Its exhaust heat is converted to steam in a heat recovery steam generator, and then passed through a steam turbine to generate additional power. The entire plant would be referred to as a combined-cycle plant. From the power plant perspective, a reciprocating engine applied in mechanical drive or power generation service may be considered as a base unit since it would be the major power producer. A combustion gas turbine might be the base unit or the topping cycle, and the steam turbine might be the base unit or the bottoming cycle. Where the base demand is for process steam, conventional steam cycles with extraction steam turbines might be considered as a topping cycle. Figure 1-4 shows several variations on application concepts for repowering a power plant with 150 megawatt (MW) gas turbines. In these examples, approximately 75 MW can be recovered from its exhaust energy. The basic combined-cycle unit provides a total output of 225 MW and offers the highest thermal fuel efficiency of the various options. The fully fired boiler concept is some-

Fig. 1-1 Application of Simple-Cycle Gas Turbine Base Unit. Source: ABB

Under these definitions, topping cycles have the capacity to independently deliver mechanical or electrical energy from the conversion of fuel or heat energy. Bottoming cycles cannot operate without a preceding energy conversion cycle or process. Bottoming cycles tend to be physically large and relatively expensive due to the low quality of the energy input. In the context of large power generation plants, the terms topping and bottoming cycle may be applied to the systems that are added to base systems in order to enhance
Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Fig. 1-2 Application of Heat Recovery Unit to Gas Turbine Base Unit. Source: ABB

Heat and Power Resources Overview

times referred to as hot windbox refiring. From the power plant perspective, it is considered a topping cycle in that the gas turbine provides only 150 MW of a total plant output of 600 MW. The gas turbine can also be applied in a topping cycle as shown in the feedwater heat exchanger repowering, which can be well utilized in a wide plant capacity range. Note that plant efficiency increases as the repowered plant size becomes smaller relative to the capacity of the gas turbine. Figure 1-5 shows the potential performance achieved with each of these options as a function of repowered plant output. Cogeneration is the sequential use of fuel energy to produce more than one finished energy product, such as electric power, steam, refrigeration, thermal drying, air heating, or a host of others. While two finished products can be made by splitting the output of a single-boiler steam supply between a steam turbine power cycle and a heating application, this is not cogeneration. What distinguishes cogeneration and the thermodynamic efficiency benefits it produces is the operative concept of sequential use and production of both power and usable thermal energy. Cogeneration may be applied to both simple and combined cycles. Heat recovery turns a relatively inefficient simplecycle power generation process into a more efficient cogeneration or combined-cycle process. Heat recovery is the effective capture and use of heat rejected from the power cycles. Rejected heat is the energy associated with streams of air, exhaust gasses, and liquids that exit the system and enter the environment as waste products.

As shown in Figure 1-2, heat recovery is applied to the simple-cycle gas turbine for the purpose of sequentially providing thermal energy to a process, thereby transforming that system into a cogeneration cycle. As shown in Figure 1-3, heat recovery is applied to a simple-cycle gas turbine for the purpose of powering a steam turbine, thereby transforming the system into a combined-cycle system. Figure 1-6 shows the application of heat recovery twice. Heat is first recovered from the simple-cycle gas turbine, transforming the system into a combined cycle. Heat is then recovered again from the steam-turbine cycle and used for a process application, transforming the entire system into a cogeneration combined cycle.



To establish federal regulations and Qualifying Facility (QF) cogeneration system efficiency standards, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) defined cogeneration as the combined production of electric power and useful thermal energy by sequential use of energy from one source of fuel. As defined by FERC, a topping cycle first uses thermal energy to produce electricity, and then uses the remaining energy for thermal process. In a bottoming cycle, the process is reversed. Figures 1-7 through 1-11 are diagrammatic examples of cogeneration topping, bottoming, and combined cycles, consistent with commonly used regulatory definitions.

Fig 1-3 Combined-Cycle System Featuring Gas Turbine, Heat Recovery Unit and Steam Turbine. Source: ABB

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

Gas Turbine 150 MW Exhaust Energy for Use in Steam Cycle Approximately 75 MW

Repowering with an HRSG 75 MW Steam Plant ~54%*

*Approximate Repowered Net Plant Efficiencies
Gas Turbine Reheat Steam Turbine

Repowering with a Fully Fired 450 MW Steam Plant ~49%*

Repowering with a Feedwater Heater 750 MW ~46%*

Repowering with a Feedwater Heater 200 MW ~50%*

Gas Turbine Reheat Steam Turbine Fully Fired Steam Generator Heat Exchanger

Gas Turbine Reheat Steam Turbine

Heat Recovery Steam Generator

Fig. 1-4 Various Repowering Options Featuring Addition of 150 MW Gas Turbine. Source: Siemens Power Corp.

Facilities have numerous options for meeting their power and heat resource requirements. Electricity will most commonly be purchased from electric utilities or other centralized power producers, which will employ simple- or combined-cycle systems to generate the power. Facilities may also employ simple or combined power cycles to generate their own power in the form of electricity or direct shaft power output, thereby reducing or eliminating their purchase of electricity. Facilities may also employ cogeneration cycles, which sequentially serve both power and heat requirements. To determine if it is economical to apply prime mover technology on site, a facility should perform a life-cycle cost-benefit analysis. Terms such as thermal efficiency, fuel rate, fuel credit, net fuel rate, and fuel and cost chargeableto-power are useful in this pursuit. Still, the repeated statement that mechanical or electrical energy is more valuable than heat energy must be considered within the context of available market alternatives. The relative values of heat and power are not fixed, but are ever changing along with the energy market and the technologies available.

% 55

Combined Cycle Plants with Heat Recovery Steam Generators

Net Plant Efficiency


Combined Cycle Plants with Feedwater Heat Exchanges Combined Cycle Plants with Fully Fired Steam Generators (Hot Windbox)


Steam Turbine Power Plant

1350 750 450 300 150 75MW

Steam Turbine Output

1500 900 600 450 300 225 MW

Repowered Plant Output

Fig. 1-5 Efficiency Range of Repowered Plant with 150 MW Gas Turbine as a Function of Repowered Plant Output. Source: Siemens Power Corp.

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Heat and Power Resources Overview

Figure 1-6 Cogeneration Combined Cycle with Heat Recovered from Gas Turbine and Steam Turbine Cycles. Source: ABB

Mechanical Inefficiency

Generator Inefficiency Generator Outputs Electricity Optional Outputs Process Heat

Air and Fuel Gas Turbine

High-Temperature Exhaust

Low-Temperature Exhaust

Preheated Combustion Air Process Heat Heat Exchanger

Process Steam


Waste-heat Recovery Boiler

Fig. 1-7 Gas-Turbine Topping Cycle. Source: U.S. DoE

Diesel Engine

Generator Inefficiency Generator

Air and Fuel


High-Temperature Exhaust Low-Temperature Exhaust Jacket Cooling Water Process Steam

Heat-recovery Boiler Fig. 1-8 Reciprocating Engine Topping Cycle. Source: U.S. DoE

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications


Mechanical Inefficiency

Generator Inefficiency Electricity

Fuel Water Steam Generator (boiler) Fig. 1-9 Steam-Turbine Topping Cycle. Source: U.S. DoE Exhaust

Generator Back-pressure Low-pressure Turbine Process Steam

Mechanical Inefficiency Source (waste heat)

Generator Inefficiency Electricity

Turbine Vapor Generator


Coolant In

Coolant Out


Feed pump Regenerator Fig. 1-10 Steam Turbine Rankine Bottoming Cycle. Source: U.S. DoE Mechanical Inefficiency Air and Fuel Generator Inefficiency Electricity Generator Gas Turbine Low-temperature Exhaust

High-temperature Exhaust

Mechanical Inefficiency

Generator Inefficiency Electricity

Fuel (optional) Steam Turbine Water Heat-recovery boiler Process Steam


Fig. 1-11 Combined-Cycle. Source: U.S. DoE

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.