A significant portion of the new electrical generating capacity installed in the past decade has employed heavy-duty gas turbines operating in a combined cycle configuration with a steam turbine bottoming cycle. In these power plants approximately one-third of the power is generated by the bottoming cycle. To ensure that the highest possible combined cycle efficiency is realized it is important to develop the combined cycle power plant as a system. Doing so requires a solid understanding of the efficiency entitlement of both, topping and bottoming, cycles separately and as a whole. This paper describes a simple but accurate method to estimate the Rankine bottoming cycle power output directly from the gas turbine exhaust exergy, utilizing the second law of thermodynamics. The classical first law approach, i.e., the heat and mass balance method, requires lengthy calculations and complex computer-based modeling tools to evaluate Rankine bottoming cycle performance. In this paper, a rigorous application of the fundamental thermodynamic principles embodied by the second law to the major cycle components clearly demonstrates that the Rankine cycle performance can be accurately represented by several key parameters. The power of the second law approach lies in its ability to highlight the theoretical entitlement and state-of-the-art design performances simultaneously via simple fundamental relationships. By considering economically and technologically feasible upper limits for the key parameters, the maximum achievable bottoming cycle power output is readily calculable for any given gas turbine from its exhaust exergy.
Second Law Efficiency of the Rankine Bottoming Cycle of a Combined Cycle Power Plant
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Gülen, S. C., and Smith, R. W. (September 30, 2009). "Second Law Efficiency of the Rankine Bottoming Cycle of a Combined Cycle Power Plant." ASME. J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. January 2010; 132(1): 011801. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3124787
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