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A Review of Inlet Air Cooling Technologies for Enhancing the Performance of Combustion Turbines in Saudi Arabia 2010

A Review of Inlet Air Cooling Technologies for Enhancing the Performance of Combustion Turbines in Saudi Arabia 2010

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A Review of Inlet Air Cooling Technologies for Enhancing the Performance of Combustion Turbines in Saudi Arabia
A Review of Inlet Air Cooling Technologies for Enhancing the Performance of Combustion Turbines in Saudi Arabia

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Published by: Hassan Kamal Abdulrahim on May 05, 2013
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A review of inlet air-cooling technologies for enhancing the performance of combustion turbines in Saudi Arabia
Abdulrahman M. Al-Ibrahim
, Abdulhadi Varnham
Energy Research Institute, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, P.O. Box 6086, Riyadh 11442, Saudi Arabia
a r t i c l e i n f o
 Article history:
Received 27 July 2009Accepted 21 April 2010Available online 11 June 2010
Combustion turbineInlet air coolingThermal energy storage
a b s t r a c t
Peak demand for electric power in Saudi Arabia occurs during the middle of the day in summer and isalmost double the off-peak demand. The demand pro
le is ill-matched to the performance pro
le of combustion turbines as their power output decreases with increased inlet-air temperature. Approxi-mately 42% of the Saudi Electric Company
s (SEC) annual energy sales are generated by combustionturbines, yet the turbines experience a 24% decrease in system capacity during the summer due toambient air temperatures up to 50
C. Methods of increasing the energy contribution of existing plant bychanging their performance pro
les through inlet air cooling could make a substantial contribution tothe additional 35 GW in peak demand capacity required by 2023. An extensive review of the variouscombustion turbine inlet cooling technology (CTIAC) options open to SEC has been made, and their keybene
ts and drawbacks in relation to the environmental conditions and generational requirements of Saudi Arabia have been identi
2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
1. Introduction
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located in the south west of thecontent of Asia along with its neighboring countries of Jordan, Iraq,Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Emirates, Oman and Yemen. Saudi Arabiahas land and costal boundaries of 4431 km and 2640 km respec-tively, and covers an areaof morethan 2 million squarekilometers;little is utilized for urban or agricultural needs, vast areas areuninhabited desert, and the climate is harsh and dry with greattemperature extremes. As a result, Saudi Arabia faces multipleenvironmental concerns, including deserti
cation and the deple-tion of underground water resources. Statistical rainfall dataavailable from the Ministry of Water and Electricity[1], show thaton average, urban areas of Saudi Arabia receive just 10 mm of rainpermonth.Thelackofperennialriversorpermanentwatersourceshas prompted the development of extensive seawater desalinationfacilities for domestic use. In 2007, demand for water in SaudiArabiawasmorethan 2billion cubic meters; 54% of whichwasmetfrom seawater desalination plants[1]. The limited supply of waterhas led to industry minimizing its use of water to less than 3% of total annual consumption, and to search for alternatives, such asthe wide-spread use of less ef 
cient air-cooled condensers insteadof water-cooled condensers.Having a desert climate, Saudi Arabia is faced with large dailyand seasonal ambient temperature variations. As a consequence,electricitydemandvariesconsiderably fromsummertowinter,andfrom day to night. The peak demand period for electric poweroccurs during the middle of the day in the summer, mainly due tothe cooling loads required by air conditioning equipment[2]. Themeasured electric power consumption for a large facility in Riyadhduring a summer
s day is shown inFig. 1.For this facility, electric power consumption during peak times reaches almost 9 MW,which is twice as much as the consumption during off-peak times.Over the decade from 1999 to 2009, the Kingdom of SaudiArabia underwent a rapid expansion of its industrial base alongwith an equally rapid increase in population. These trends, alongwith low fuel costs and low electricity tariffs, increased demandon the electric power generating utilities between 5% and 7% perannum. The number of electricity customers rose by 64% to 5.7million, energy sales by 70% to 193 TWh, and peak demand by82% to 40 GW[3]. To meet expected future demand, the Ministryof Water and Electricity of Saudi Arabia is planning an additional35 GW peak demand capacity by 2023 at an estimated cost of $120 billion[4]. In addition to the increasing demand for energy,the Kingdom is also facing a rapid increase in demand for desa-linated water, much of which is produced in cogeneration plantsthat export excess power to the electricity grid. To meet thisdemand, the Saline Water Conversion Company is planningintegrated power and water projects worth an estimated $50billion by 2020[4]. These huge increases in demand will be met
Corresponding author. Tel.:
966 1 481 3500; fax:
966 1 481 3880.
E-mail address:
aibrahim@kacst.edu.sa(A.M. Al-Ibrahim).
Contents lists available atScienceDirect
Applied Thermal Engineering
see front matter
2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2010.04.025
Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1879
by investments in new power plants as well in upgrading exist-ing power infrastructures.In 2008, the electric utility company in Saudi Arabia (SEC)produced 178 430 GWh of energy, of which 79 130 GWh (44.3%)was produced by simple cycle combustion turbines, 15 131 GWh(8.5%) was produced by combined cycle combustion turbines, 81770 GWh (45.8%) was produced by steam turbines, and 2399 GWh(1.3%) was produced by diesel engines[1]. The ef 
ciency of combustion turbines (CT) decreases with increased inlet-airtemperature, which means that as air-conditioning demandincreases, the abilityof the turbines tomeetthe demanddecreases.Experience with simple cycle CT in the central Qaseem region of Saudi Arabia showed that high midday ambient temperaturesduringthesummercancausea24%decreaseinsystemcapacity[5].Toovercomethisproblem,SEChastwomajoroptions;theymayeither continue along the expensive route of installing new CT thatare only used during peak periods, or they may take an alternativerouteandcooltheairpriortoenteringtheCT.Throughanextensivereview of relevant literature, this paper examines the variouscombustion turbine inlet air cooling technology (CTIAC) optionsopen to SEC, and identi
es their key bene
ts and drawbacks inrelation to the environmental conditions and generational require-ments of Saudi Arabia.
2. Combustion turbine technologies
Combustion turbines used for electric power production aremanufactured in two basic sizes: industrial turbines and aero-derivative turbines. Industrial CT, usually referred to as single-shaftheavy-duty CT, have typical generating capacities ranging from 20MW to at least 130 MW, and operate with dual-fuel units usingnatural gasordistillate oil. A schematicof an industrialCT is showninFig. 2. Aero-derivative turbines (sometimes referred to asmediumCT)aremodi
edaircraftengineturbines,typicallyrangingfrom 500 kW to at least 40 MW, normally operate with natural gasfuel only, and serve the needs of pipelines and industrial markets[6]. Production capacities of both types of turbines are rated by theInternational Standards Organization (ISO), who specify thefollowingairinletconditions:airtemperature15
F),relativehumidity 60%, and absolute pressure (sea-level) 101.325 kPa (14.7psia) at a power factorof0.9.However, conditionssuch asthese arerarely experienced in Saudi Arabia, especially during the summer.Combustion turbines operate in the open
thermody-namic cycle[6]. As the ambient fresh air enters the CT chamber, itpasses through a compressor which causes its pressure to increaserapidly. Fuel is then injected into the high-pressure air and ignited.The combustion products
ow into the turbine and produce thework that is used to drive the generator shaft and so generateelectricity.Partofthegeneratedworkisalsousedtodrivetheinitialstage compressor. Usually, as the hot mixture (
C) leaves theturbine,it passes througha heat-recoverygenerator to recover partof its wasted heat; it is then released to the atmosphere.Combustion turbines are constant-volume engines for whichshaft power output is nearly proportional to the combustion airmass
ow at base load.At base load, the magnitude of mass
ow rateof airentering theCT determines its production capacity. Higher combustion air mass
ow rates increase the capacity of the turbines while alsoincreasing the fuel mass
ow rate. However, the increase in fuelmass
ow rate is smaller than the increase in power output, andheat rates (the ratio of fuel input rate to power produced) decreaseat the higher air mass
ow rates. Newly designed CT operate atlower air
ow rates per unit of power produced. The lower
owrates decrease the cooling requirement for CTIAC systems andtherefore increase the net bene
t. Capacity increases, however,may be restricted by the maximum capacity of the CT, themaximum generator kVA rating, or lube oil cooling limitations.Fig. 3depicts the theoretical relation between the temperatureof the inlet air, and CT power, heat rate and exhaust temperature.The difference between the ISO standard conditions of 15
C andthehotsummerpeakperiodsof 
C,mayresultina20%dropinCToutput power, whereas, if the inlet air to the CT was cooled to 4
C during these peak periods, a 27% increase may be observed.A decrease in air temperature entering the CT, may lead not only toa capacity enhancement, but an improvement in heat rate, anextension in turbine life, an increase in combustion turbine ef 
-ciency, and a delay in requiring additional generation capacity.
3. Review of combustion turbine inlet air-coolintechnologies
rst application of combustion turbine inlet air cooling(CTIAC) was a direct air conditioning system for a plant in BattleCreek, Michigan (USA) in 1987
88, and the second was an off-peakice harvester system in Lincoln, Nebraska (USA) in 1992[7].Although it is theoretically possible for gas turbines to reach ef 
-ciencies as high as 65%, open-cycle, most simple open-cycleturbines are about 40% ef 
cient. Increases in ef 
ciency can beachieved in a number ways including reducing internal losses,increasing inlet temperatures, recycling waste heat from gas
Fig. 2.
Schematic drawing of an industrial combustion turbine and its major compo-nents[5].
Fig. 1.
Electric power consumption for the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Tech-nology complex for Aug 22nd, 1998[5].
 A.M. Al-Ibrahim, A. Varnham / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1879
turbine exhausts, and the subject of this work, by decreasingambient temperatures.Ambient temperatures are typically decreased using thefollowing techniques:
Wetted media evaporative cooling
High-pressure fogging
Absorption chiller cooling
Refrigerative cooling
Thermal energy storageThesetechniqueshavebeenstudiedextensively,andincreasingly,arebeingappliedtogasturbinesthroughouttheworld.Kitchenetal.[8], for example, assessed the potential capacity increase of variousgas turbines with inlet cooling; Giourof [9], De Lucia et al.[10], ASH- RAE[11], and Andrepont[12]gave detailed discussions of cooling techniques; and Stewart[13]has produced a comprehensive designguide. The results of practical experience, singly or in hybrid combi-nations; comparative studies; hybrid techniques; and economicstudies; have all appeared in recent literature.
 3.1. Wetted media evaporative cooling 
Wetted media evaporative cooling (Fig. 4) is most suited to hotdry areas as it uses the latent heat of vaporisation to cool ambienttemperature from the dry-bulb to the wet-bulb temperature.Cortes[14]found the technique isable toincreasepoweroutputupto14% andthat annual O&Mcosts are about3
5% ofinstallationcosts. Nabati et al.[15]found parasitic power consumption to beless than 0.5% of the increased production, and in addition, that itreduced emissions of NO
by 0.8
1.5% per
C of cooling. Punwaniet al.[16]estimated additional costs to be about $50 per kWadditional capacity; however, Nabati et al.[15]reported thatinstallationcantakeasmuchas10 days,whichismuchlongerthanan equivalent fogging system, and that it has limited potential inregions of high summer humidity. The media evaporative coolingsystem installed in the gas turbines of the Fars (Iran) combinedcycle power plant was modelled and evaluated by Hosseini et al.[17]. At an ambient temperature of 38
C and a relative humidity of 8%,atemperaturedropof19
Cwasachievedresultinginanoutputincrease of 11 MW. The annual power gainwas 5280 MWh and thepayback at current tariffs was four years.Meher-Homji and Mee III[18]highlighted the fact that theamount of water required for evaporative cooling in CT depends onthe degreeof cooling required,ambient conditions, and the turbinemass-
ow rate. In their analysis, indicative
gures for the amountof water were given as a function of degrees of cooling and mass-
ow rates; an average of 300 l/h is required for every degree of coolingper200kg/sofmass-
owrate.Noinformationwasgiventolink this indicative
gure to the humidity levels of the intakeambient air. However, they reported the
eld results of an inletfogging system for a GE Frame 7FA CT in the state of Oregon (US):the results show an increase 16 MW was achieved; however, foreachCT,13.6cubicmeteroffreshwaterwasrequiredforfoggingforevery hour of operations.Dawoud et al.[19]made a thermodynamic assessment of several inlet air-cooling systems for a GE Frame 6B CT in Oman(south east of Saudi Arabia) at an ambient summer temperature of 48.8
C and a nominal power output at base load of 40 MW. Withevaporative cooling a gain of 9.4% was achieved and with foggingthe gain was 11%. However, annual water requirements for the 40MW CT were 12 655 tons for evaporative and 14 085 tons forfogging; amounts equivalent to the annual water needs of a 1200inhabitant urban area in Saudi Arabia near the Oman border[1].Hariri and Aghanaja
[20]used a mathematical model to assesstheuseofanindirectevaporativecoolertoboostthepoweroutputof a simple cycle gas turbine having a rated ef 
ciency of 27.06%. Theyshowed that the indirect evaporative cooler may result in a reduc-tion in the ef 
ciency of the turbine under investigation to 26.32%because the increase in fuel consumption outweighs the gainattained from the reduction of the compression process
work,causing a reduction in turbine ef 
 3.2. High-pressure fogging 
High-pressure fogging (Fig. 5) is the spraying of droplets of demineralised water, 5
20 microns in diameter, into air inlet ductsat1000
3000psia[21].Asthefogdropletsevaporate,100%relativehumidity is produced and the air is cooled to the wet-bulbtemperature: the lowest possible temperature obtainable withoutrefrigeration.Excess fogging can be applied so that the droplets evaporate inthecompressorthereby reducing gasturbine compressorworkandfurther boosting turbine power. Technically, fog droplets are lessthan 40 microns in diameter and remain airborne due to Brownianmotion. In still air, a 10-micron droplet takes 5 min to fall 1 m. This
Fig. 4.
CTIAC using evaporative cooling over wetted media.
Fig. 3.
Relation between the temperature of the inlet air, and CT power, heat rate andexhaust temperature[5].
 A.M. Al-Ibrahim, A. Varnham / Applied Thermal Engineering 30 (2010) 1879

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