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NAPHTHA FIRING IN GAS TURBINES: PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED AND MEASURES TAKEN

Rajan Kumar, Deputy Superintendent – 10 years working experience of CCPP Sanjay Kumar Mittal, Senior Engineer – 7 years working experience of CCPP Gurudas Mishra, Engineer – 4 years working experience of CCPP
NTPC Limited,Auraiya Gas Power Station,Dibiyapur,Dist. – Auraiya,PIN – 206244.

OBJECTIVE OF THE PAPER Today many gas based stations are forced to fire naphtha on account of plateauing domestic gas production, uncertainty in LNG supplies and high grid demand. The new gas discoveries by Reliance et al notwithstanding, the demand far outstrips supply. At Auraiya Gas Power Station (AuGPS) we are one of the biggest consumers of naphtha among plants of similar capacity. In this paper we intend to share our experience in naphtha firing by discussing some of the challenges that we have faced and the ways in which we have tackled them. It is a gist of eighteen years of O&M experience at AuGPS and includes the O&M practices that we have developed during this period. AuGPS: A BRIEF OVERVIEW With a total installed capacity of 663.63 MW, AuGPS is a medium sized gas based combined cycle power plant by current Indian standards. The plant is strategically connected with both the northern grid and the western grid. It supplies power to Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) Agra via two 220 kV lines, to Power Grid Agra via two 400 kV lines, to Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board (MPSEB) Malanpur and Mehgaon (industrial suburbs of Gwalior in the Western grid) via two 220 kV lines, and to Indian Railways and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) via two radial feeders each of 220kV. In addition to this the plant is also connected to Kanpur via two 400 kV lines and serves as a conduit to transfer Eastern grid power to National Capital Region (NCR). The layout of the plant comprises two modules, each having two gas turbines (GT) and a steam turbine (ST) with capacities of 111.9 MW and 109.3 MW, respectively [see Annexure – 1 for designed ratings of GT]. The MHI gas turbines belong to the D series (MW 701 D) and have duel fuel capability giving us three possible modes of operation --- gas, naphtha and mixed fuel. In the mixed fuel mode we can vary the liquid to gas ratio from 40% to 70%. For fuel changeovers, the turbines do not need an intermediate fuel such as HSD (which some other turbines elsewhere need). At maximum load, each turbine consumes 38,000 standard metre cube (sm3) of gas or 39 kilolitres (kl) of naphtha, approximately. At this rate we require 3.4 million sm3 of gas per day (mscmd) at the current NCV (Net Calorific Value) of 8100 kcal / sm3 to run at full capacity. WHY WE HAVE TO FIRE NAPHTHA: The plant was designed to operate as a peak load plant and accordingly in 1990, we entered into a contract with GAIL for 2.24 mscmd of gas. Since then it has been up scaled to 2.49 mscmd in 2002. But on account of the huge peak and energy shortages, the plant usually runs at or near its full capacity round the clock, which means a continuous deficit of 0.91 mscmd from our full load requirement. We meet this deficit by firing naphtha which we are transporting via road tankers in absence of a pipeline or a railway siding [see Annexure – 2 for naphtha unloading and storage

In addition to this. combustor baskets. if the blade path temperature deviation exceeds 45°C [see Annexure – 3 for tripping logic]. Also. This is mainly due to the premature failure of the hot path components viz. breaker trip coil malfunction. the earlier practice was to select one GT for naphtha firing and meet the demands by varying the naphtha ratio from 40% to 70%. resulting in a non uniform firing. naphtha firing shortens the duration between successive overhauls by up to 1. its long recirculation line is taken into service for at least half an hour so as to keep rust or any other particles from reaching the nozzles. Associated with naphtha firing is the problem of choking of one or more of these nozzles. A pump that is idle for quite some time may trip on starting due to rotor jamming. the MFOP started in auto.5 kg per square cm (ksc). a change in operation practice was employed.25 times. If the MFOP tripped during this period due to any reason. Response: To reduce the chances of nozzle choking. This practice has helped in keeping the hot path components of both the turbines in relatively healthier state.system description]. etc. as a result of the higher temperatures associated with naphtha firing. Response: To meet this challenge. This ensures that every nozzle behaves in a similar way when put into service and yields a uniform temperature distribution. when a unit is taken into naphtha operation after a long time. naphtha unloading pumps and naphtha transfer pumps is done and is cleaned periodically or immediately after reaching a DP of 0. an intensive monitoring of the differential pressure (DP) of suction strainers of main fuel oil pumps (MFOP). The new operation practice employed is to operate the GT in mixed fuel mode and if demand on naphtha increases then another GT is taken in mixed fuel mode. But tripping of the unit on this account only can easily be . PROBLEMS FACED DURING NAPHTHA FIRING & MEASURES TAKEN: Problem 1 Deterioration of Hot Path Components: As per the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). a thermal barrier coating (TBC) is also being provided on the blades and vanes of the first and second stage of the turbine. Problem 2 Nozzle Choking: The GT consists of eighteen circumferentially arranged nozzles. the unit would trip. when the changeover command from the central control room (CCR) was given. blades and vanes. The station currently has a maximum storage capacity of usable naphtha at 2440 kl which is sufficient for just two days. There is also an associated probability of tripping. overload. This causes differential heating at various points and contributes in premature failure of the hot path components. Problem 3 GT Tripping due to tripping of MFOP during fuel changeover: As per the original design logic for fuel changeover. transition pieces. nozzles. there is the problem of boiler tube failure due to increased soot deposition. each naphtha adaptor (naphtha nozzle) is checked for its spray angle during overhauls. Less amount of naphtha firing also means less amount of soot deposition which in turn means less chances of boiler tube failure. and if still there is demand then it was met by changing to full naphtha. On account of the fire hazard associated with naphtha firing. developing the required pressure and the changeover of various fuel control valves followed. Apart from this. Also. which has increased their life.

Response: This problem was tackled by changing the control logic to cause a changeover to gas fuel when a flow of naphtha greater than 4. at zero. the unit would trip.e. especially when fuel changeovers have become frequent.5 MW for each GT operated in naphtha at full load. in full gas ) so as to yield maximum possible load and the scheduled naphtha to be consumed for the day is taken care of during the off peak hours when the demand is comparatively lower.5 MW in the steam turbine (ST). . the ratio is kept at the minimum ( or if possible. the unit would automatically revert back to gas fuel [see Annexure – 5 for details of the original and the changed logic]. The unit would also trip if during mix fuel operation or naphtha operation a loss of naphtha flow occurred. checked thoroughly for any abnormality. Problem 6 Reduced Steam Formation in the Boiler: Naphtha firing leads to increased soot deposition on the boiler tubes.0 kl is not sensed within a period of 65s. This results in a decreased output of the ST and as per the OEM specifications the load loss per degree Celsius increase in the boiler exit temperature is 0. The station witnessed a few trippings on this logic due to closure of naphtha pressure control valve. and then fuel changeover command is given [see Annexure – 4 for the original and the changed fuel changeover logic details]. The reason for this is the increased temperatures generated during naphtha firing leading to the rated turbine inlet temperature (T I T) of 1154°C at a lower load.136 MW. sometimes the naphtha line control valves encountered problems in opening. reducing their heat transfer capability and resulting in an increased boiler exit temperature. the MFOP is started manually. During peak hours. we exploit the 40% to 70% range of mixed fuel operation. i. This eliminates the uncertainty associated with a pump to be started in auto while standing idle for some time and thus avoids tripping of the unit during fuel changeover. if there was a loss of naphtha flow during changeover from gas fuel to mix fuel (or naphtha). Problem 5 Load Reduction in Naphtha: At full load. Problem 4 GT Tripping due to Loss of Naphtha Flow: When naphtha had not been taken in a unit for a long time. if a flow of naphtha greater than 4. Response: To counter this limitation. there is a reduction of approximately 3 MW in GT on naphtha as compared to gas [see Annexure – 1 for a comparison of loads in gas and naphtha]. As per the original control logic. The fuel changeover logic has been modified in consultation with the OEM and now the fuel changeover is done as follows: Prior to the fuel changeover..avoided if we can ensure the normal running of the pump and then proceed with the changeover of the control valves.Combining it with the associated 1.0 kl is not sensed within any period of 65s. This logic has also been extended to the fuel changeover procedure so that if during a changeover from gas to mixed fuel or naphtha. the total load reduction stands at 4. Response: And this is precisely what has been done to avoid such an incident.

With our maximum usable storage capacity of 2440 kl [see Annexure – 2 for storage system description]. Alkaline water is used for this purpose and a periodic sampling of the boiler outlet water is done to ensure that its pH value remains above 7 as acidic water could lead to thinning of the boiler tubes. the practice of boiler washing has been established at AuGPS and is yielding encouraging results. Proposals for additional storage tanks and a railway siding for naphtha transportation have been mooted at various organizational levels but could not be implemented due to the hope shown by the recent seamless tie up of regassified liquefied natural gas (RLNG). These pipelines were observed to rust from inside due to air and moisture ingress. it becomes logistically impossible to replenish our naphtha reserves in such a quick time. these pumps remained idle.Response: To clean the soot deposits. As a result of keeping a transfer pump continuously in service. But currently the plant runs mostly as a base load plant and consequently the storage capacity is often not enough. Boiler washing is done during overhauls and also during other opportunities such as reserve shutdowns due to load crash. etc. we have already increased the number of unloading bays by one and half times from original eight to twelve [see Annexure – 2 for naphtha unloading and storage system description]. Response: A decision was taken to keep one transfer pump in service on a continuous basis whether naphtha is to be fired or not. Therefore. While keeping up the efforts to augment our naphtha storage capacity. on the managerial front we have explored and tied up with new vendors such as HPCL Mumbai. Problem 8 Rusting in Naphtha Pipelines: The pipelines that transfer naphtha from the storage tanks to the turbines are about a kilometer long. BPCL Numaligarh and GAIL Pata. For the rest of the period. Response: This problem calls for a 360° techno-managerial solution and an all round effort has been made for it. Since then the problem of rusting has been eliminated and there is an added benefit also.49 mscmd only. during periods of high demand in naphtha. Similarly. the naphtha transfer pumps were called into service only when there was a need to fire naphtha. there is a real possibility of losing out on our station DC due to shortage of naphtha. It would be pertinent here to mention that the plant was originally designed to operate as a peak load plant with a naphtha storage capacity sufficient to sustain ½ GT on naphtha for five days. the naphtha system . Problem 7 Loss of Declared Capability (DC) due to Inadequate Naphtha Storage Capacity: On account of our station being in the power hungry Northern grid and our gas contract being 2. As the trend for naphtha firing from the beginning has remained highly unpredictable. This has resulted in increased receipts and unloading of naphtha and has helped us declare our full capacity. And with naphtha being transported via road tankers with normal capacity of 20 kl or less. we get daily generation schedules in naphtha up to 1800 kl. These proposals are being reconsidered after having experienced an erratic supply of LNG for around a year and half. shutdowns for inlet air filter replacement. it implies emptying of the tanks in just over a day.

This has also helped us to save the Unscheduled Interchange (UI) charges for the 15 (fifteen) minute time block in which the changeover took place. viz. The earlier practice of hanging the hoses on the poles caused damage in the bent portion. Response The earlier practice of the fuel changeover was discussed with the OEM and the station started the practice of fuel changeovers at 85 MW which is near the upper permissible safe limit. Additionally. extensive dye penetration tests (DPT) are conducted for the naphtha main and pilot ring headers and lines.remains charged up to the main fuel oil pump (MFOP) and thus valuable time is saved during fuel changeovers which have now become frequent. the naphtha drain tank may get pressurized and may explode also. apart from the usual safety precautions and practices. measurement of tankers and their unloading . storage of 3000 kl of naphtha in itself is a major fire hazard and the attendant activities. Therefore it is always desirable to reduce the partial loading in gas turbines. Response: To mitigate these fire and explosion risks. . to save upon the UI charges the changeovers are done in two overlapping time blocks. the impact on heat rate was more acutely felt. Extension of the measurement points and unloading bays resulting in reduced unloading time Construction of a new road for tankers to come in the unloading area from the old road and get out from the new one. the OEM had adopted a practice of fuel changeover at 60 MW. The station continued with this practice for all subsequent fuel changeovers. In spite of all fire fighting arrangements. i. specifically after the implementation of ABT (Availability Based Tariff). These were replaced by sockets made of brass / gun metal. This would allow the tankers to get out smoothly in case of an emergency. Additionally. the following measures have been taken: 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 During overhauls. During commissioning of liquid fuel firing system. Dedicated personnel for tightening of naphtha flanges to ensure uniform tightening. a total of 36 lines carrying naphtha and 72 (seventy two) flanges. exacerbate it. Recent provision for annunciating the starting of naphtha drain tank pump to signal rising level in the tank. But as the fuel changeovers became more frequent in the recent times.. The large number of flanges and joints with naphtha flowing at a pressure of 60 ksc poses an explosion and fire hazard. with each having a main line and a pilot line. Problem 10 Fire Hazard in GT and Unloading Area: The gas turbines at AuGPS consist of 18 (eighteen) nozzles for fuel firing. in the event of combustor shell drain valves passing or naphtha line drain valves passing. This has reduced the loss in heat rate due to partial loading.e. Problem 9 Partial Loading during Fuel Changeovers: The loss in heat rate for a GT varies significantly with its partial loading. Checking each flange for leakage using a portable gas leak detector prior to taking naphtha for the first time after overhauls. Continuous monitoring of GT package temperatures and choking of package vent fan lines. The unloading hose sockets were initially made of steel whose threads were damaged easily and they caused sparking. Provision of ramps for supporting unloading hoses.

Annexure – 1 NET OUTPUT RATINGS IN GAS AND NAPHTHA Natural Gas Base Rating Peak Rating Power Output in open cycle (kW) Power Output in combined cycle (kW) 111. 27°C 0. This naphtha is stored in two naphtha storage tanks with a storage capacity of 1500 kl each. of which 280 kl is the dead stock.990 113.100 117. Two unloading pumps (one duty and one standby) each with capacity 50 meter cube per hour are employed to unload the naphtha from the tankers.860 Naphtha Base Rating Peak Rating 108.9966 bar abs Unloading P/Ps B Naphtha Tank-B 1500M3 U N L O A D I N G B A Y A Naphtha Tank-A 1500 M3 C B T R A N S F E R P U M P S A TO GAS TURBINES . To unload these tankers there are twelve unloading bays.760 110.600 Performance Design conditions: Ambient temperature Barometric pressure Annexure – 2 NAPHTHA UNLOADING AND STORAGE SYSTEM DESCRIPTION The station receives naphtha through road tankers as there are no pipelines or railway siding. which leaves a total usable capacity of 2440 kl (3000560=2440).390 106.300 115.790 112.

15. 14. 17 Average BPT of 3.To fire naphtha in the gas turbines three naphtha transfer pumps. 7. F (x) = function to convert Combustor Shell Pressure to Blade Path Temperature Set Point ∆ = difference of the two inputs HLM = High Low Monitor BPT = Blade Path Temperature Annexure –4 . 6. Annexure – 3 BLADE PATH TEMPERATURE DEVIATION TRIPPING LOGIC Combustor Shell Pressure F(x) Blade Path Reference / Set Value ∆ HLM > 45°C TRIP Average BPT of 1. 5.16 Average BPT of 2. 3. are employed to transfer naphtha from the storage tanks to the suction of the individual gas turbine’s main fuel oil pump. 18 HLM > 680°C Median Legend: 1. 12. 4. 8.10. 11. with a capacity of 120 meter cube per hour each. 2.13. 9. 4.

2. 3. 7. 5.ORIGINAL AND MODIFIED LOGIC FOR FUEL CHANGEOVER PERMISSIVE L4 MD 3 FXSTBOK S GAS LFTP Ready MFOP Auto S OIL Gas Fuel Avail Diagram 1. FXSTBOK = Signal for fuel changeover permissive L4 = GT running MD3 = Unit synchronized LFTP Ready = Liquid Fuel Transfer Pump Ready S GAS / S OIL = Select gas / oil MFOP Auto = Main Fuel Oil Pump selected in auto from Switchgear Gas Fuel Avail = From UCP / UCD . 4. 6. Original Logic Legend: 1.

5. 6. Modified Logic Legend: 1. 2. FXSTBOK L4 MD3 LFTP Ready S GAS / S OIL MFOP Auto Gas Fuel Avail MFOP ON = Signal for fuel changeover permissive = GT running = Unit synchronized = Liquid Fuel Transfer Pump Ready = Select gas / oil = Main Fuel Oil Pump selected in auto from Switchgear = From UCP / UCD = Main Fuel Oil Pump ON . 4. 7. 3. 8.L4 FXSTBO K MD 3 S GAS LFTP Ready MFOP ON MFOP Auto S OIL Gas Fuel Diagram 2.

Modified Logic .Annexure – 5 CHANGE IN FUEL CHANGEOVER LOGIC MAN FX S GAS PB Gas Fuel Select Mix Liquid S MIX PB S LIQ PB Diagram 1. MAN FX = Manual Fuel Changeover selected S GAS / S MIX / S LIQ = Select gas fuel / mix fuel / liquid fuel MAN FX S GAS PB Gas Fuel Select Mix Liquid S MIX PB S LIQ PB MD 3 HLM < 4 KL 65s Delay 3. Original Logic Legend: 1. 2.5s Delay MFOP ON Pulse LF FLOW MFOP RQ Diagram 2.