Advanced Building Systems – 2000 Conference, June 8, 2000Track 2: Thermal Energy Management Page: 3
for base load operation. Since the cooling is tobe provided on a continuous basis, a chiller(Absorption or Mechanical) or direct refrigerationsystem is used.An on-line chiller circulates a secondaryrefrigerant (glycol, water) to the cooling coils infront of the turbine. This system uses anabsorption chiller or vapor compression chiller,water-cooled condensers, cooling tower andcooling coils. Absorption chillers typically coolthe inlet air to about 50ºF. This temperature isusually low enough to maximize potential gainsin gas turbine power output. If additional turbinecapacity is required today’s advancedabsorption chillers can cool inlet air to as low as42ºF. Cooling the air to below 42ºF is notgenerally recommended because it could lead toice formation, unless the air has beendehumidified appropriately.
A direct refrigeration system uses compressors,condensers, a low-pressure recirculationsystem, a high-pressure receiver, and coolingcoils. The refrigerant is directly circulated to thecooling coils in front of the turbine.Refrigeration inlet cooling provides constantpower output, regardless of weather, andconstant moisture content of inlet air to facilitateNO
Direct Water Injection:
Inlet air evaporativecooling with direct water spray offers a relativelysimple, low cost method to increase poweroutput from existing gas turbine installations.The concept is simple; a high-pressure pumpsystem pressurizes water (
typically deionized water for gas turbine applications
). Normaloperating pressures are from 1000 to 3000 psi.The high-pressure water flows through anetwork of stainless steel tubes to specialnozzles. The nozzles atomize water into micro-fine fog droplets that evaporate quickly.
Evaporative Media Water Cooling:
Evaporative pads have also been used toincrease the production and efficiency of gasturbines. The evaporative process also addsmoisture to the air, which reduces the inlet airtemperature and reduces the NOx in theexhaust, thus reducing pollution. An additionalbenefit derived from the water distributionmechanism of the pads is that some dust in theair will be removed, thus reducing dust loadingon the filters.
Economic Benefits Of Turbine Inlet Cooling
Gas turbine power plants are ideal for providingcertain midrange and peaking electric power tothe grid for onsite power generation, as theyprovide a clean source of energy. Gas turbinesare responsive to load and are very costeffective, however, they have one drawback.Gas turbine power performance falls off rapidlywith ambient air temperature. Economicallyreducing inlet air is highly beneficial.
Table 1. Installed Cost of Inlet Cooling Equipment
System Installed Cost
Single-Effect Steam $800/RTDouble-Effect Steam $970/RTDouble-Effect Direct-Fired $1,030/RTElectric Centrifugal $800/RTEvaporative Cooling $4/kW
Using the installed cost estimates from Table 1,Figure 3 can be constructed showing the relativecosts of various inlet-cooling schemes.Providing no inlet cooling clearly shows up asthe most expensive, and the three types ofabsorption chillers show up as the leastexpensive options.
T o t a l P l a n t C o s t $ / k W
Figure 3. Plant Cost of Inlet Cooling Options
The right inlet cooling systems depend upon thespecific power plant economic requirements.For example, an 83.5 MW gas turbinedistributed generation plant located in Houston,Texas
; Figure 4 shows that a gas turbine usingan absorption chiller air inlet cooling system canproduce over 4,000 MWh per year more than
Example form GRI Absorption Chiller Application Brief