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DETERMINING EQUIPMENT LOADING FOR

GENERATING STEAM EFFICIENTLY

A plant has a steam generator capable of delivering up to 1000,000 lb/h (45,400


kg/h) of saturated steam at 400 lb/in2 (gage) (2756 kPa). The plant also has an
HRSG capable of generating up to 1000,000 lb/h (45,400 kg/h) of steam in the
fired mode at the same pressure. How should each steam generator be loaded to
generate a given quantity of steam most efficiently?

Calculation Procedure:
1. Develop the HRSG characteristics
In cogeneration and combined-cycle steam plants (gas turbine plus other prime
movers), the main objective of supervising engineers is to generate a needed quantity of
steam efficiently. Since there may be both HRSGs and steam boilers in the
plant, the key to efficient operation is an understanding of the performance characteristics
of each piece of equipment as a function of load. In this plant, the HRSG generates
saturated steam at 400 lb/in2 (gage) (2756 kPa) from the exhaust of a gas turbine. It can be
supplementary-fired to generate additional steam. Using the HRSG simulation approach
given in another calculation procedure in this handbook, the HRSG performance at
different steam flow rates should be developed. This may be done manually or by using
the HRSG software developed by the author.

2. Select the gas/steam temperature profile in the design mode


Using a pinch point of 15F (8.33C) and approach point of 17F (9.44C), a temperature
profile is developed as discussed in the procedure for HRSG simulation.
The HRSG exit gas temperature is 319F (159.4C) while generating 25,000 lb/h
(11,350 kg/h) of steam at 400 lb/in2 (gage) (2756 kPa) using 230F (110C) feedwater.
3. Prepare the gas/steam temperature profile in the fired mode
A simple approach is to use the fact that supplementary firing is 100 percent efficient, as
discussed in the procedure on HRSG simulation. All the fuel energy goes
into generating steam in single-pressure HRSGs.
Compute the duty of the HRSG—i.e., the energy absorbed by the steam—in the
unfired mode, which is 25.4 MM Btu/h (7.44 MW). The energy required to generate
50,000 lb/h (22,700 kg/h) of steam is 50.8 MM Btu/h (14.88 MW). Hence,
the additional fuel required 50.8 25.4 25.4 MM Btu/h (7.44 MW). If a
manual or computer simulation is done on the HRSG, fuel consumption will be
seen to be 24.5 MM Btu/h (7.18 MW) on a Lower Heating Value (LHV) basis.
Similarly, the performance at other steam flows is also computed and summarized
in Table 1. Note that the exit gas temperature decreases as the steam flow increases.
This aspect of an HRSG is discussed in the simulation procedure elsewhere in this
handbook.

4. Develop the steam-generator characteristics


Develop the performance of the steam generator at various loads. Steam-
generator suppliers will gladly provide this information in great detail, including plots and
tabulations of the boiler’s performance. As shown in Table 2, the exit-gas temper