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Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

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Energy Conversion and Management


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/enconman

Thermodynamic evaluation of combined cycle plants


Nico Woudstra *, Theo Woudstra, Armando Pirone, Teus van der Stelt
Delft University of Technology, Energy Technology, Leeghwaterstraat 44, 2628 CA Delft, The Netherlands

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 19 June 2008
Received in revised form 18 May 2009
Accepted 13 December 2009
Available online 21 January 2010
Keywords:
Combined cycle plants
Exergy analysis
Internal exergy efciency
Exergy ow diagrams
Value diagrams
Cycle-Tempo

a b s t r a c t
The application of the exergy concept for the thermodynamic evaluation of energy conversion systems
and chemical plants is steadily growing. However the general application of this concept is complicated
by the large variety of parameters that is used to present the results of such evaluations. Easily understandable diagrams that offer a quick overview of the main results of such an evaluation will be very
helpful.
Large power plants, as for example combined cycle plants, consist of a large number of apparatuses.
The thermodynamic modeling of these plants requires the computation of the thermodynamic properties
at inlets and outlets of all apparatuses. These results allow for the calculation of the exergy values at all
considered points after dening an appropriate environment. Using these exergy values exergy losses and
efciencies of all considered apparatuses can be determined.
However, additional parameters and methods for presenting losses are necessary to understand the
origin of exergy losses and the options for further improvements. Exergy efciencies of power cycles
show the actual losses but do in general not clearly indicate the potential for improvement. The use of
the so-called internal exergy efciency of a power cycle will be helpful to understand this potential. Also
value diagrams and exergy ow diagrams are very useful to understand the thermodynamic performance
of complicated systems.
In this paper the application of these tools is demonstrated for the evaluation of alternative designs of
combined cycle plants. Three system designs are established for this purpose and modeled using the
computer program Cycle-Tempo. The considered combined cycles use the same gas turbine but have different steam bottoming cycles. Differences do originate from the number of pressure levels at which
steam is generated in the HRSG (Heat Recovery Steam Generator). The evaluation includes respectively
a single pressure, double pressure and triple pressure HRSG. The steam pressures are optimized with
regard to overall plant efciency using a multi-parameter optimization procedure.
The evaluation shows that the application of the internal exergy efciency of a power cycle is in particular useful if the temperature of heat transfer from the cycle will be affected by the cycle performance,
i.e. in the case of gas turbine cycles. The value diagrams show how the increasing number of pressure levels of steam generation will reduce the losses due to heat transfer in the HRSG but also the exergy loss
due to the exhaust of ue gas to the stack. The exergy ow diagrams show that the main exergy losses
of combined cycle plants occur in the combustion process. Possibilities to reduce these losses are limited.
Serious improvement of the efciencies of future combined cycle plants is conceivable by applying high
temperature fuel cells.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Exergy analysis is frequently used for the thermodynamic evaluation of power plants. In general an exergy analysis will provide
additional knowledge about the thermodynamic losses in the system. However the signicance of an exergy analysis depends on
the insight that will be achieved with regard to the origin of losses
and the options for loss reductions. Therefore, graphs that allow a
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +31 15 278 2178; fax: +31 15 278 2460.
E-mail address: n.woudstra@tudelft.nl (N. Woudstra).
0196-8904/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2009.12.016

simple presentation of the main losses in complex systems will be


very helpful; together with appropriate parameters that clearly
indicate the thermodynamic performance and the improvement
potential, they are essential during the search for system optimization. In this paper unusual methods to present system performance
and exergy losses like exergy ow diagrams, value diagrams and
the internal exergy efciency of thermal power cycles are described and demonstrated for the evaluation of alternative designs
of Combined Cycle (CC) plants.
The combination of a gas turbine with a steam turbine cycle in a
so-called CC plant appeared to be very successful. The combined

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N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

Nomenclature
ex
Ex
Exloss
ExQ
h
LHVfuel
m
Q
s
T
TC
TH
T0
T
TC
TH
W
Wrev

specic exergy (kJ/kg)


exergy (kJ)
exergy loss (kJ)
exergy of an amount of heat (kJ)
specic enthalpy (kJ/kg)
lower heating value of the fuel (kJ/kg)
mass (kg)
heat (kJ)
specic entropy (kJ/kg K)
temperature (K)
temperature of heat transfer from the cycle (K)
temperature of heat transfer to the cycle (K)
temperature of the environment (K)
thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer
(K)
thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer
from the cycle (K)
thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer
to the cycle (K)
work (kJ)
work from a reversible power cycle (kJ)

cycle became popular in particular in countries where natural gas


is sufciently available for electricity generation. Combined cycle
plants can achieve thermal efciencies up to 60%, based on the
LHV of the fuel, with present day gas turbine technology. The recent increase of fuel prices will stimulate the search for further
improvements. Detailed insight in the thermodynamic performance of combined cycle plants is necessary for the evaluation
of the various options proposed to improve the system efciency.
A variety of system improvements is investigated in Refs. [112].
In almost all papers any kind of exergy evaluation, based on preceding ow sheet calculations, is used to elucidate the effects of
system modications. Only in [2] no explicit results of exergy calculations are shown. The added value of the exergy evaluations is
not always obvious.
Results from exergy calculations are usual presented as exergy
losses (frequently called exergy destruction) in system components (like combustors, heaters, compressors and expanders) or
subsystems and relative exergy losses (exergy destruction rates).
Relative exergy losses are usually dened as the exergy loss divided by the total exergy supplied to the system by the fuel. Several references present (relative) mainly exergy losses of
subsystems [4,5,7,8,10]. Data are presented in tables or bar graphs.
More detailed results of exergy calculations are tabulated in
[1,3,12]. In Refs. [3,9] the exergy concept has been used also for
an economic assessment of system alternatives. It is obvious that
a nal optimization of energy conversion systems has to be based
on economic considerations. However, a separate thermodynamic
evaluation will be useful to understand the thermodynamic
strengths and weaknesses of the system congurations under consideration. Furthermore, the selection of arbitrary data for avoidable thermodynamic inefciencies and cost numbers, needed for
the exergoeconomic analysis, might hamper the credibility of the
results. Nevertheless, an exergoeconomic evaluation is considered
to be a useful but additional step in the nal phase of plant
optimization.
A graphical presentation of results from exergy calculations appears not to be very common. In [4] the results are summarized in
combined energy and exergy diagrams. In [11] the magnitudes of
the exergy ows are shown in a simplied system ow diagram.
Refs. [5,6,10] show trends in (summarized) exergy values and exer-

gth, rev thermal efciency of a reversible power cycle ()


gex, intern internal exergy efciency of an irreversible power cycle
()
Indices
bc
C
H
in
out
tc

bottoming cycle
cold
hot
inlet
outlet
topping cycle

Abbreviations
CC
Combined Cycle
GT
gas turbine (cycle)
HP
high pressure
HRSG
Heat Recovery Steam Generator
IP
intermediate pressure
LP
low pressure
ST
steam turbine (cycle)

gy destruction ratios as a function of the considered variable. In [7]


T,h-diagrams are used to illustrate the results of HRSG optimization. However, these diagrams do not explicitly show exergy values
or exergy losses.
Exergy efciencies, also called second law efciencies, are not
used abundantly in the referred papers. Refs. [3,5] show well specied exergy efciencies of plant components. Many of the other
references mainly present exergy efciencies of power cycles
and/or the considered power plants. With respect to thermal plant
and cycle efciencies, the added value of exergy efciencies is very
limited. For a comparison of the performance of plants and plant
components well specied exergy efciencies can be useful. Without clear specication exergy efciencies, like other efciencies,
are mainly causing confusion.
In this paper an attempt is made to present a comprehensive
and systematic evaluation of the thermodynamic performance of
power plants. For this purpose three system designs of CC plants
are established and modeled by using Cycle-Tempo [13], a ow
sheeting program for the evaluation and optimization of energy
conversion systems, developed at the Delft University of Technology. Since 1982 the program is applied by various universities, research organizations and industries worldwide. Calculation
procedures are based on the rst and second of thermodynamics.
Irreversibilitys have to be specied by the user; for specic apparatuses the program can provide default values. Optimization routines are available for multi-parameter optimization and the
calculation of exergy values is done by a postprocessor. The graphical user interface allows the user to establish easily various diagrams (T,s-diagrams, T,Q-diagrams and value diagrams) that will
visualize the calculated results. Comprehensive information,
including the program manual, is available from the Cycle-Tempo
website [13].
The system designs are based on the same gas turbine, but differ
with regard to the steam turbine cycle. Steam cycles are derived for
respectively single pressure, double pressure and triple pressure
HRSGs. The steam pressures are optimized using a multi-parameter optimization routine as available in the program. Cycle-Tempo
also calculates exergy values of all uid ows of the system by
using the composition of air from the environment, saturated with
water vapor, at a temperature of 15 C as the reference state.

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Furthermore, the program calculates exergy losses and efciencies


of all apparatuses as specied for the system, and is able to draw
value diagrams. Also exergy ow diagrams are presented for the
considered plants.
Before presenting the results of the system calculations the
internal exergy efciency of power cycles and the value diagram
will be described rst. Internal exergy efciencies have to be calculated by using the thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat
transfer to and from the cycle. Therefore it is also discussed how
this parameter can be calculated or estimated.



TC
W rev 1 
 QH
TH


TC
W gex; intern  1 
 QH
TH

gth gex; intern  1 


2.1. The internal exergy efciency of power cycles

gth; rev

W rev
TC
1
QH
TH

For real systems the efciency will always be lower because of friction and other losses in the cycle. If the effect of all losses in the cycle is included in the so-called internal exergy efciency (gex, intern)
the thermal cycle efciency can be written as:

gth

W
gex;
QH

intern



TC
 1
TH

The Eqs. (1) and (2) show that the internal efciency is actually dened as:

gex; intern

W
W rev

This means that the internal exergy efciency is dened as the ratio
of two amounts of work. The internal exergy efciency can be used
to assess the thermodynamic quality of a power cycle or a combination of power cycles. In other papers this efciency is also called
second law efciency (i.e. [19]) but as efciencies based on the
second law can be dened in different ways a more specic name
is preferred.
The work derived from an amount of heat can determined for a
reversible cycle respectively an irreversible cycle then becomes:

Heat transfer to and from a power cycle in general does not occur at
constant temperatures. However to enable the universal use of Eqs.
(1), (2), (4), and (5) the constant temperatures of heat transfer have
to be replaced by the thermodynamic equivalent temperature (T).
Then the general equation for the efciency of a thermal power cycle becomes:

2. Concepts for the evaluation of thermal power systems

The general system for the evaluation of power cycles is shown


in Fig. 1. From the second law of thermodynamics we know that
the efciency of a reversible cycle depends only on the temperatures at which heat is transferred to and from the cycle. By applying the thermodynamic temperature (Kelvin temperature) the
thermal efciency of a reversible power cycle can be calculated
using the following equation:

TC

!
6

TH

The combination of two cycles can be considered as shown in Fig. 2.


In this system all heat transferred from the topping cycle is transferred to the bottoming cycle. However the temperatures of heat
transfer are not the same. Thus an exergy loss will occur in the
intermediate reservoir due to heat transfer.
Eq. (2) can be applied for the separate cycles as well as for the
combined cycle. For the combined cycle can be written:

W W bc
gth tc
gex;
Q H; tc
gex;

intern;

CC  gth;

intern; CC

 1

TC

TH
7

rev

Thus the internal efciency of the combined cycle (gex, intern, CC) not
only includes the losses of the separate power cycles but also the
losses of the intermediate reservoir.
2.2. The thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer
Heat transfer to or from a uid ow will in general change the
temperature of the ow; only in case of phase changes of pure uids the temperature will remain constant. The exergy of the transferred heat can be determined with the following equation:

ExQ

out

in



T0
 dQ
1
T

The thermodynamic equivalent temperature (T) is dened such


that, if the same amount of heat is transferred to the system at that
specic temperature, the exergy transferred to the system will be
the same as in the case of the varying temperature, thus:

hot reservoir

TH
QH
topping
cycle

hot reservoir

TH

W tc

Q C,tc T C,tc
intermediate
reservoir

QH

Q H,bc TH,bc

W
bottoming
cycle

QC

W bc

QC

TC
cold reservoir
Fig. 1. General model of thermal power cycles.

TC
cold reservoir
Fig. 2. General model of a combined cycle system.

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ex in

ex out

Q
Fig. 3. System of heat transfer to a uid.

ExQ

out

in





T0
T0
Q
 dQ 1 
1
T
T

sion processes of the real (irreversible) cycle (points 2 and 4) are


higher than the corresponding values of the reversible cycle (points
20 and 40 ). When applying Eq. (13) it will be obvious that the thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer to the cycle,
resulting in the temperature increase from point 2 to point 3, will
be higher in the case of the irreversible cycle than in the case of the
reversible cycle. The same must be concluded with regard to the
thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer from the
cycle. The effect will be quantied for some of the considered cycles in Section 3.2.1.

In Fig. 3 a system for heat transfer to a uid is shown. The exergy


balance for this system can be written as follows:

2.3. The value diagram

DEx m  exout  exin ExQ  Exloss

Value diagrams can be very useful to discuss the performance of


thermal power plants [14]. In Fig. 5 the value diagram of an open,
internal combustion gas turbine cycle is shown, assuming that
compression and expansion occurs in a reversible way, thus without friction. As the length of the horizontal axis equals the specic
exergy of the fuel supplied to the gas turbine and the length of the
vertical axis is one (with T0 as the origin and T = innite as the
upper limit) the total area of the diagram equals the specic exergy
of the fuel. In the case of natural gas the specic exergy of the fuel
is somewhat higher than the lower heating value (LHVfuel) of the
fuel. The upper curve in the diagram represents the temperature
increase of the gases in the combustor, assuming that air and fuel
enter the combustor at the same temperature. The area below this
curve equals the exergy of the heat that is transferred to the gas
turbine cycle (see Eq. (8)). Then it must be concluded that the
slantly shaded area is the difference in exergy between the situation before and after combustion; thus this area represents the
exergy loss of combustion. As the lower curve represents the temperature decrease of the ue gas during cooling from gas turbine
exit temperature to ambient temperature T0, the area below this
curve represents the exergy of the heat from the ue gas leaving
the gas turbine. In the case of a single gas turbine cycle the exergy
of the ue gas will be lost as the exhaust gases are cooled by mixing with ambient air. In CC plants the exergy from the ue gas is
utilized in a bottoming steam cycle as shown in Fig. 6 for a single
pressure steam cycle. The vertical shaded area represents the exergy losses due to heat transfer in the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) and due to the residual heat of the ue gas which is
discharged to the atmosphere. In the case of a single pressure

10

In such a system exergy losses are caused only by friction of the


uid ow. The exergy loss due to friction is almost negligible in
most technical applications. Combining Eqs. (9) and (10) and
neglecting the exergy loss in the system will result in the following
equation:



T0
m  hout  hin  T 0  sout  sin  1 
 m  hout  hin
T

11

From this equation it appears that the thermodynamic equivalent


temperature of heat transfer becomes:

hout  hin
sout  sin

12

Further simplication of this equation is possible if the uid can be


considered to be an ideal gas with constant specic heat (cp). Under
these circumstances Eq. (12) can be written as follows:

T out  T in
ln TTout
in

13

Unfortunately the concept of the internal exergy efciency does


not easily allow for the exact calculation of efciency values. By
denition the internal cycle efciency compares the power from
the irreversible cycle with the corresponding reversible cycle (see
Eq. (3)). However inlet and outlet conditions will never be the
same for these cycles since the conditions of the real cycle are affected by the irreversibilitys in the cycle. This can be demonstrated
by considering a simple (closed cycle) gas turbine cycle as shown
in Fig. 4. The outlet temperatures of the compression and expan-

p2
(1-

T0

p1

2
4

2'

p2 > p1

4'

0
W shaft
T0

Q flue gas
LHV

ex fuel
s
Fig. 4. Simple gas turbine cycle (closed cycle).

Ex loss, combustion

Ex flue gas

Fig. 5. Value diagram of a simple gas turbine cycle.

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N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

T0
T

Temperature [C]

(1-

600
500
400
300
200
100

W shaft, ST

Entropy [kJ/kg.K]
W shaft, GT

Q steam

LHV fuel
ex fuel
Ex loss, combustion

Ex loss, stack

Ex loss, heat transfer

Ex loss, condenser

Fig. 6. Value diagram of a single pressure combined cycle.

600

Temperature [C]

0
500
400
300
200
100

Table 1
Overall results and some characteristic data of the combined cycle plants.
1 press.

2 press.

3 press.

MWe

364.26
0.5514

374.84
0.5674
0.0160

379.13
0.5739
0.0225

Gas turbine cycle


Fuel ow
Pressure ratio
Turbine inlet temp. (ISO)
GT outlet temp.
Stack temperature

MW

C
C
C

660.62
17.12
1227.81
581.60
160.78

660.62
17.12
1227.81
582.43
119.03

660.62
17.12
1227.81
583.92
81.88

Steam turbine cycle


HP inlet temp.
HP inlet press.
IP inlet temp.
IP inlet press.
LP inlet temp.
LP inlet press.
Condenser press.

C
Bar
C
Bar
C
Bar
Bar

550.00
41.54
550.22
9.261

549.75
112.9
550.96
11.62

0.02643

0.02643

550.40
175.0
552.31
31.45
226.68
2.711
0.02643

steam cycle these losses are still substantial. Further reduction of


these losses is possible by generating steam at two or more pressure levels in the HRSG.
3. The combined cycle plants
3.1. Plant designs
System congurations have been established for three different
combined cycle plants. The plants are characterized by the number
of pressure levels for steam generation in the HRSG. The same gas
turbine data, based on published data of the Siemens V94.3A [15],
are used for all plants. The gas turbine is fuelled with natural gas
(Slochteren quality). Overall results and some characteristic data
of the plants are presented in Table 1.
The results conrm that increasing the number of pressure levels at which steam is generated in the HRSG will result in signicant higher overall thermal efciencies (1.60% and 2.25% (points)).

600

Temperature [C]

Units
Overall results
Net electrical power
Thermal efciency
Increase in efciency

Entropy [kJ/kg.K]

500
400
300
200
100

Entropy [kJ/kg.K]
Fig. 7. (a) T,s-diagram of the single pressure steam cycle. (b) T,s-diagram of the
double pressure steam cycle. (c) T,s-diagram of the triple pressure steam cycle.

The gas turbine has a compressor pressure ratio of 17.12 and a


turbine inlet temperature (ISO temperature) of 1227.81 C. It is
arbitrarily assumed that the increased complexity of the HRSG will
result in a higher pressures loss of the ue gases. The increased
pressure loss of the 2 and 3 pressure alternatives has caused somewhat higher GT outlet temperatures.
Steam turbine data are chosen without considering constructional limitations. The steam turbine cycles are single reheat cycles
with steam turbine inlet temperatures of 550 C. The slight deviations from this temperature are caused by the calculation process.
Steam pressures are the result of a multi-parameter optimization
that minimizes the overall exergy losses. In the case of the single
pressure steam cycle steam is generated only at a pressure level
corresponding to the HP turbine inlet pressure. After expansion
in the HP turbine steam is reheated in the HRSG and further expanded in the IP and LP turbine. In the HRSG of the double pressure
system steam is generated at pressure levels corresponding with
the inlet pressure of the HP and IP turbines. Expanded steam from
the HP steam turbine is mixed with steam from the IP steam generator before it is reheated to the IP turbine inlet temperature. In

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31

31
3
2
3

HPT

IPT

301

LPT

304

306

1
5

5
41

323

301

304

305

306

302
303
302

303
H

307
305

361

325

42

6
7
320

322
359

324

403

323

403

321

322

404

HP-EVAP

402

402

321
9

378
43

401

319

360

320

IP-SH

HP-ECO 3

401
358

359
H
318

44
10

308

8
11
IP-EVAP

355

357

319

358
H
356

356

357

12

355
13

317

61

45
H

HP-ECO 2

IP-ECO 2

354
354
H

LP-Super Heater
366

46
14
318

377
10

62

15
353

363

LP-EVAP

365
376
H

374
373

375

364
16

316

Dearator
11

63

47
317

311

LP-ECO
362

353

372

313

361

H
IP-ECO 1
17

371

352

351

352

351 313

314

312

HP-ECO 1

64

315

312
314

316
H

315
341

48
18

12

343

19
DA-evap 342
H
342

20
341
309
311

310 331

331

332

H
310

308

309

307

21
15
Stack

Fig. 8. CC plant with 3 pressure HRSG.

the case of the triple pressure system steam is generated in the


HRSG at three pressure levels corresponding with the inlet pres-

sure of the HP, IP and LP steam turbines. Steam from the LP steam
generator is mixed with the IP outlet ow. The temperature of the

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Table 2
Results of the gas turbine cycles.
Gas turbine cycle

Table 3
Results of the steam turbine cycles.
Units

1 press.

2 press.

3 press.

MW
MW

660.62
251.36
0.3805
1040.0

660.62
250.75
0.3796
1040.0

660.62
249.65
0.3779
1040.0

521.1

521.4

521.9

T H;

gth, rev, GT
gex, intern, GT

0.4989
0.7626

0.4987
0.7612

0.4982
0.7586

Exergy balance
Combustor
Fuel exergy
Exergy loss combustor
Exergy transferred to GT cycle

MW
MW
MW

691.48
204.61
486.87

691.48
204.61
486.87

691.48
204.61
486.87

MW
MW
MW

41.27
251.36
194.24
0.8590

41.20
250.75
194.92
0.8589

41.10
249.5
196.12
0.8586

Overall cycle data


Heat ow to cycle (LHV)
Net electrical power from cycle

gth, GT
TH
T C;

GT

GT cycle
Internal exergy loss
Net electrical power
Exergy of exhaust gas

gex, GT cycle

LP steam (approx. 227 C) almost equals the outlet temperature of


the IP steam turbine. The condenser pressure is based on the availability of cooling water of 12 C at condenser inlet and a temperature increase of 7 K. The three steam turbine cycles are presented
in the T,s-diagram in Fig. 7ac.
Detailed system models have been established which are applied for design point calculations. Fig. 8 shows the conguration
of the system model of the CC plant with 3 pressure HRSG. Steam
turbine efciencies are calculated by Cycle-Tempo. The applied calculation method is based on [17] and results in somewhat conservative values for the steam turbine efciencies.
3.2. Evaluation of system results
3.2.1. Gas turbine cycle
The amount of fuel supplied per second to the gas turbine
(17.387 kg/s) is the same for all three systems. The corresponding
heat ow (660.62 MW) is based on the lower heating value of the
fuel. The exergy ow of the fuel, as shown in Table 2, is
691.48 MW. The exergy loss due to combustion is 204.61 MW; this
means that 29.59% of the exergy transferred to the plant is lost during combustion. The exergy efciency of the combustion process is
then 70.41%. Table 2 shows that the generated net electrical power
by the gas turbine cycle is not the same for the three systems. The
differences in net electrical power result from differences in GT
outlet pressure. It was arbitrarily assumed that a higher number
of pressure levels should result in higher gas side pressure losses
of the HRSG. The assumed overall pressure losses are 24, 29 and
38 mbar respectively. Therefore the thermal cycle efciency (gth,
GT) slightly decreases if the number of pressure levels increases.
The thermal efciency of the cycle (gth, GT) represents the fraction
of the heat ow to the cycle that is converted into electrical power.
The thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer to
the GT cycle (T H ) is calculated by applying Eq. (13), with the compressor outlet temperature as Tin and the turbine inlet temperature
as Tout. Because of the combustion process it is not possible to apply Eq. (12). Therefore, and because of the high temperature increase due to combustion, the calculated value is not very
accurate. The inaccuracy can be checked by comparing the exergy
efciency of combustion. The exergy efciency of combustion can
be calculated using the data from the system calculation; then:
gex, combustion = 0.7041. But the exergy efciency of combustion
can also be estimated by using the thermodynamic equivalent
temperature of heat transfer; the estimated value then becomes:

Steam turbine cycle

Units

1 press.

2 press.

3 press.

MW
MW
MW

400.28
300.73
112.90
0.3754
522.7

400.90
329.72
124.09
0.3763
529.7

402.02
355.91
129.48
0.3638
526.6

TC

295.2

295.2

295.2

gth, rev, ST
gex, intern, ST

0.4352
0.8626

0.4427
0.8501

0.4394
0.8279

MW
MW
MW
MW

133.51
112.90
4.38
16.23
0.8743

149.27
124.09
4.79
20.39
0.8589

160.32
129.48
5.27
25.57
0.8351

Overall cycle data


Heat ow from GT exhaust gas
Heat ow to ST cycle
Net electrical power from cycle

gth, ST
ST

Exergy balance
Exergy from HRSG to ST cycle
Net electrical power
Exergy from ST cycle to condenser
Internal exergy loss

gex, ST cycle

gex, combustion, estimated = 0.7229. The difference between the actual


value and the estimated value based on T H appears to be less than
3% (relative).
The thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer
from the cycle (T C; GT ) is also calculated by applying Eq. (13) using
the turbine outlet temperature as Tin and the temperature of the
environment (288.15 K) as Tout. A more accurate value can be obtained by applying Eq. (11). The differences between these values
have only a limited effect on the exergy values that will result from
these temperatures (about 1%). For this evaluation the accuracy of
the presented values is supposed to be sufcient. Because of the
different exhaust pressures of the three cases, the gas turbine exit
temperatures and therefore also the thermodynamic equivalent
temperatures of heat transfer from the cycle are slightly different.
The thermal efciencies of the reversible cycle (gth, rev, GT) are
calculated using the temperatures T H and T C; GT . The determination
of these values is based on temperatures of the irreversible process.
This is in principle not correct, but it is the only available data from
the system calculation. The inaccuracies resulting from this approach are discussed in chapter 4.
The internal exergy efciency of the cycle (gex, intern, GT) is calculated as the ratio between the irreversible and the reversible thermal efciency (see Eq. (7)). Differences between the values of the
alternative plants are only due to the differences in gas turbine
outlet temperature caused by the difference in pressure loss of
the HRSGs. The internal exergy efciency of the gas turbine cycles
is approximately 76% when using the calculated values for gth, rev,
GT and gth, GT.
In Table 2 also some calculated exergy values are shown. The
fuel exergy, the exergy loss of combustion and the exergy transferred to the gas turbine cycle are the same for the considered
cases. The exergy loss of the gas turbine cycle, the net electrical
power and the exergy of the exhaust gas show slight differences
due to the differences in the gas turbine exhaust temperature.
The exergy efciency of the cycle is calculated using the following
equation:

gex;GT cycle

Exproduct
Pelectr; net

Exsource
Exto GT cycle  Exexhaust gas

14

The calculated values of the exergy efciencies of the gas turbine


cycle are almost 86% which is much higher than the values calculated for the internal exergy efciencies of the cycles. The differences between these parameters are discussed in chapter 4.
3.2.2. Steam turbine cycle
The results of the calculations of the steam turbine cycle are
shown in Table 3. The heat ow that can be obtained from the

1106

N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

GT exhaust gas by cooling this gas to ambient temperature is based


on the assumption that water vapor in the ue gas will remain in
the vapor phase. Then, approximately 400 MW of heat can be extracted from the gas turbine exhaust gas. In the case of the single
pressure system only 300.73 MW from 400.28 MW is transferred
to the steam turbine cycle. The net electrical power from the steam
turbine cycle is 112.90 MW which results in a thermal efciency of
the (irreversible) steam cycle (gth, irrev, ST) of 0.3754. This efciency
is determined by dividing the net electrical power from the ST cycle by the heat transferred to the ST cycle. It appears that the part
of the heat from the GT exhaust gas that is transferred to the ST cycle is strongly affected by the number of pressure levels at which
steam is generated in the HRSG. In the case of the triple pressure
system the heat ow to the ST cycle is about 18% higher then in
the case of the single pressure system. The increase of heat extracted in the HRSG results in a lower outlet temperature of the
ue gas (=stack temperature, see Table 1) and in a strong reduction
of the heat lost through the stack. However the generated net electrical power is not only determined by the heat transferred to the
cycle. It appears that also the thermal efciency of the cycle (gth, ST)
is affected by the number of pressure levels; Table 3 shows that it
has a higher value in the case of the double pressure system and a
lower value in case of the triple pressure system.
The thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer to
the cycle (T H; ST ) is calculated by applying Eq. (12). As heat is transferred to the cycle in different heat exchangers, this equation has to
be modied into:

P
Um  hout  hin
T P
Um  sout  sin

15

It appears that the double pressure system enables a somewhat


higher temperature of heat transfer to the cycle (529.7 K); the temperature of the triple pressure system however appears to be
slightly lower than for the double pressure system (526.6 K), mainly
due to the larger decrease of the ue gas temperature. Heat is transferred from the ST cycle at constant temperature in the condenser.
Then, the condenser temperature is the temperature of heat transfer from the ST cycle (T C ). This temperature is the same for all cases.
The thermal efciency of the reversible cycle (gth, rev, ST) is calculated by using the thermodynamic equivalent temperatures of heat
transfer to and from the cycle. As the temperature of heat transfer
from the cycle is constant, the thermal efciency of the reversible
cycle is only a function of the thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer to the cycle (T H; ST ). Thus the highest value is
obtained for the two pressure case.
The internal exergy efciency of the steam cycle (gex, intern, ST) is
calculated again as the ratio between the irreversible and the
reversible thermal efciency. It appears that the internal cycle efciency of the steam turbine cycle decreases if the number of pressure levels is increased. The accuracy of the internal efciencies is
limited since the exergy losses that are determining these efciencies strongly depend on assumed performance data. But it seems to
be plausible that the higher complexity of the 3 pressure steam
cycle and the addition of steam at lower pressure and temperature
than the live steam will result in higher internal losses of the cycle.
As:

Pnet electr gex;

intern; ST

 gth;

rev; ST

 Q_ H to ST

16

it will be clear that the net generated electrical power is dominated


by the increase of heat transfer to the cycle. However the higher
internal losses mitigate the effect of the higher heat ow to the
ST cycle.
The exergy transferred in the HRSG to the steam cycle is calculated by summarizing the exergy transfer to the steam cycle in all
heat exchangers of the HRSG:

Table 4
Results of the combined cycle plants.
Combined cycle plant

Units

1 press.

2 press.

3 press.

TH

MW
MW

660.62
364.26
0.5514
1040.0

660.62
374.84
0.5674
1040.0

660.62
379.13
0.5739
1040.0

TC

295.2

295.2

295.2

gth, rev, CC
gex, intern, CC
gex, CC

0.7162
0.7699
0.8070

0.7162
0.7923
0.8157

0.7162
0.8014
0.8195

Exergy balance
Fuel exergy
Net electrical power
Overall exergy loss
Exergy efciency CC plant

MW
MW
MW

691.48
364.26
327.22
0.5268

691.48
374.84
316.64
0.5421

691.48
379.13
312.35
0.5483

Overall cycle data


Heat into cycle
Net electrical power

gth, CC

Exto ST in HRSG

Um;w exout;

 exin;

17

The values in Table 3 show that increasing the number of pressure


levels has a signicant effect on the exergy ow to the steam turbine cycle (+12% in case of double pressure and +20% in case of triple pressure). However also the transfer of exergy from the steam
cycle to the condenser increases as well as the internal exergy loss
of the steam cycle. Therefore the net generated electricity is not
proportional to the exergy ow to the cycle.
The exergy efciency of the steam turbine cycle is calculated in
the same way as for the gas turbine cycle. The following equation is
used:

gex; ST cycle

Exproduct
Pelectr; net

Exsource
Exto ST cycle  Exto condenser

18

The differences between the internal cycle efciency (gex, intern, ST)
and the exergy efciency of the cycle (gex, ST cycle) are much lower
than in the case of the gas turbine cycle.
3.2.3. Combined cycle plant
The CC plants are evaluated assuming that the gas turbine cycle
and the steam turbine cycle together are considered to be one thermal power cycle. The overall results of the CC plants are shown in
Table 4. The net electrical power generated by the combined cycle
equals the sum of the net electrical powers from the gas turbine
cycle and the steam cycle. Then the thermal efciency of the combined cycle increases from 0.5514 for the single pressure plant to
0.5739 for the triple pressure plant.
Heat transfer to the combined cycle occurs only in the combustor of the GT; therefore the (thermodynamic equivalent) temperature of heat transfer to the cycle is the same as for the gas turbine
cycle (1040 K). Heat transfer from the combined cycle to the environment occurs in the steam condenser (at 295.2 K). Thus the heat
transferred to the cycle as well as the thermal efciency of the
reversible cycle (gth, rev, CC) are the same for all the considered
cases. From Eq. (16) it will be clear that the differences in the thermal efciencies of the irreversible cycles are caused only by the differences in the internal efciencies of the cycles. Therefore
increasing the number of pressure levels for steam generation in
the HRSG will increase the internal efciencies (gex, intern, CC) from
0.7699 for the single pressure case to 0.8014 for the triple pressure
case.
The exergy efciency of the combined cycle can be calculated as
before for the GT and the ST cycles. But in this case also the exergy
that is discharged to the environment trough the stack has to be
subtracted in the denominator. The following equation is used:

N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110


Table 5
Exergy balance of the HRSG.
HRSG

Units

1 press.

2 press.

3 press.

Exergy balance
Exergy transferred from GT cycle
Exergy transferred to ST cycle
Exergy loss HRSG
Exergy ue gas to stack

MW
MW
MW
MW

194.24
133.51
29.64
31.09

194.92
149.27
23.12
22.53

196.12
160.32
18.99
16.81

gex; CC

Exproduct
Pelectr; net

Exsource
Exto GT cycle  Exto stack  Exto condenser

1107

the HRSG obviously inuences only the losses in the system parts
that have limited effect on the overall exergy loss of the CC plant.
More detailed insight into the effect of an increased number of
pressure levels can be obtained from the value diagrams of the
HRSGs. The value diagram for the single pressure case (Fig. 9)
shows that substantial exergy losses occur in most of the heat
exchangers and in particular in the stack. The value diagram for
the triple pressure case (Fig. 10) shows that further reductions of
the exergy losses in the HRSG and stack are possible. But it also
makes clear that further attempts to reduce these losses will have
only little effect.

19

The differences between the internal cycle efciency (gex, intern, CC)
and the exergy efciency of the cycle (gex, CC) are again much lower
than in the case of the gas turbine cycle.
The exergy balance of the combined cycle in Table 4 shows the
resulting overall exergy losses and the exergy efciencies of the
considered plants. The overall exergy loss is the difference between
the fuel exergy and the net electrical power; the exergy efciency
is calculated as the ratio of the net electrical power and the fuel
exergy and increases from 0.5268 for the single pressure case to
05483 for the triple pressure case.
The efciency increase results from differences of the heat
transfer in the HRSG. Therefore the exergy losses of the HRSG will
be discussed into more detail. The exergy balances of the HRSGs
are presented in Table 5. From the exergy transferred from the
GT cycle (194.24 MW) in the single pressure case 29.64 MW is lost
due to heat transfer in the HRSG, 133.51 MW is transferred to the
steam cycle and the remainder (31.09 MW) is passed to the stack.
It appears that by increasing the number of pressure levels the
reduction of the exergy loss to the stack is even higher than the
reduction of exergy loss due to heat transfer in the HRSG. The
reduction of exergy loss results in a signicant higher exergy transfer to the steam cycle for the triple pressure case (+20% when compared to the single pressure case). However the effect on the
overall plant efciency is somewhat mitigated by the slightly higher exergy losses of the ST cycle as shown in Table 3.
The effect of the increased number of pressure levels is demonstrated into more detail by the value diagrams of the HRSGs
shown in Figs. 9 and 10 for the single and triple pressure cases.
The shaded areas do represent the exergy loss. The temperature
curve of the ue gas, if cooled to environmental temperature after
leaving the stack, shows clearly the effect of condensing the water
vapor that is available in the ue gas.
An overview of all exergy losses and exergy ows of the
combined cycle plants is shown in the exergy ow diagrams
(Grassmann diagrams) in Figs. 11 and 12. The diagrams show the
reduced exergy losses of HRSG and stack for the triple pressure
case. However they also show that the larger exergy losses due
combustion and friction in the gas turbine cycle remain unaffected.

4. Discussion of results
4.1. Exergy ow diagram and value diagram
The exergy ow diagrams of the CC plants and the value diagrams of the HRSGs give a clear and useful overview of all exergy
losses. The exergy ow diagrams (Figs. 11 and 12) show that more
than 35% (205 + 41 MW) of the fuel exergy entering the CC plant is
lost due to combustion and friction in the gas turbine cycle. The
exergy losses in HRSG, stack and steam cycle together are only
11% (30 + 31 + 16 MW) in the case of the single pressure system
and are reduced to 9% for the triple pressure case. The increase
of the number of pressure levels at which steam is generated in

4.2. Internal exergy efciencies and exergy efciencies of the cycles


Different parameters are applied in the previous chapters to
indicate the performance of (sub)systems. The internal exergy efciency of the cycle as well as the exergy efciency are used for the
power cycles. The reason for this is that different questions have to
be answered during the evaluation of power cycles. The performance of real cycles is affected by irreversibilitys. The extent of
these irreversibilitys is expressed by the exergy efciency of the
cycle. But this efciency does not clearly show what the difference
is between the actual generated power and the power that would
have been generated in the case of a reversible cycle. For this purpose the internal cycle efciency has been introduced. The internal
efciency is by denition lower than the exergy efciency of the
cycle.
The relevance of these efciencies can be demonstrated by
comparing the exergy efciencies and the internal exergy efciencies of respectively the GT cycle, the ST cycle and the combined cycle. It appears that the differences between these efciencies are
rather small for the ST cycle and the combined cycle. However
large differences are calculated for the GT cycle: the internal exergy efciency for the single pressure case is 0.7626 whereas the
exergy efciency is 0.8590. It indicates that the difference in power
from a reversible GT cycle and the real GT cycle is much higher
than the exergy loss of the real cycle. This is caused by the fact that
in the case of a reversible cycle the temperature of the GT exhaust
gas will be lower and consequently the exergy that is transferred to
the GT exhaust gas will be far less than in the case of the real GT
cycle. Thus the difference between the internal efciency and the
exergy efciency will become higher if the exergy transfer from
the cycle is more affected by the performance of the cycle.
In the case of a steam cycles with near environmental condensing temperature the exergy transfer from the cycle is almost independent of the cycle efciency. Then the internal efciency is very
close to the exergy efciency. In that case the exergy efciency
indicates the achievable improvement rather well. This is also true
in the case of a combined cycle; however, it appears that the differences between the internal efciencies and the exergy efciencies
of the combined cycles are somewhat higher (for the single pressure case: gex, CC  gex, intern, CC = 0.8070  0.7699 = 0.0371) than
in the case of the steam cycles (gex, ST cycle  gex, intern, ST =
0.8743  0.8626 = 0.0117). The higher difference in the case of
the combined cycle is caused by the fact that the combined cycle
discharges exergy to the environment not only in the condenser
but also through the stack.
Thus, the exergy efciency of the cycle (or combined cycle) represents the extent of exergy losses in the cycle while the internal
exergy efciency indicates the differences between the reversible
and the irreversible cycle.
4.3. Further developments
The exergy efciencies of the CC plants differ from 0.5268 for
the single pressure case to 0.5483 for the triple pressure case;

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N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110


1

value diagram 1 press. HRSG

1 - T 0 / T [-]

HP Superheat 317
HP Evaporato 316

400
0.5

300

HP-ECO 313
DA evap 342

200

Preheater 308

Temperature [C]

800
700
600
500

Reheater 303

100
Stack 107

15

0
0

33.7

92.5

223

274
282 301

465

Transmitted heat [MW]

Fig. 9. Value diagram of the HRSG with steam generated at 1 pressure level.

value diagram 3 press. HRSG

1 - T 0 / T [-]

HP Evaporato 322
HP end ECO 319
IP superheat 358
IP Evaporato 357
HP-ECO 2 317
IP-ECO 2 354
LP-superheat 366
LP Evaporato 365
LP-ECO 362
IP ECO 1 352
HP ECO 315
D.A. evapora 342
Heat Exchgr. 309

0.5

Temperature [C]

800
700
600

HP Superheat 323
Reheater 303

500
400
300

200

100

Stack 15

15

0
0

59.1

103

154

198
204

240

270280
283

315
316
318
322332

356

467

Transmitted heat [MW]

Fig. 10. Value diagram of the HRSG with steam generated at 3 pressure levels.

Grassmann diagram combined cycle


(single pressure HRSG)

Grassmann diagram combined cycle


(triple pressure HRSG)

Ex fuel = 691 MW

Ex fuel = 691 MW

combustion Ex loss = 205 MW

combustion Ex loss = 205 MW

Ex to GT cycle = 487 MW

Ex to GT cycle = 487 MW

GT cycle Ex loss = 41 MW

GT cycle Exloss = 41 MW

Ex to HRSG = 194 MW

Ex to HRSG = 196 MW

HRSG Ex loss = 30 MW

HRSG Ex loss = 19 MW

Ex to SC = 134 MW
stack Exloss = 31 MW

Ex to SC = 160 MW
stack Exloss = 17 MW

steam cycle Ex loss = 16 MW

PGT = 251 MW
Pe = 364 MW

condenser Ex loss = 4 MW
PST = 113 MW

Fig. 11. The exergy ow diagram (Grassmann diagram) of the CC plant with 1
pressure HRSG.

steam cycle Ex loss = 26 MW

PGT = 250 MW
Pe = 379 MW

condenser Ex loss = 5 MW
PST = 129 MW

Fig. 12. The exergy ow diagram (Grassmann diagram) of the CC plant with 3
pressure HRSG.

19
00

00
17

15
00

00
13

11
00

90

70
0

30

50
0

1.000
0.900
0.800
0.700
0.600
0.500
0.400
0.300
0.200
0.100
0.000

efficiency

N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

temperature of heat transferred to the system (K)


Carnot efficiency

actual efficiency

Fig. 13. The effect of the temperature of heat transfer to the cycle on the efciency
of a thermal power cycle (the actual efciency is based on an internal cycle
efciency of 0.80).

the corresponding thermal efciencies are respectively 0.5514 and


0.5739. These values are somewhat lower than the highest obtainable values (about 0.60) today. Thus, it must be concluded that
even the best performing combined cycles are wasting more than
40% of the available exergy from the fuel. Directions for further
improvements can be derived from Eq. (6) as well as from the exergy ow diagrams. The main options are: a further increase of the
temperature of heat transfer to the cycle and an increase of the
internal exergy efciency (by reducing the exergy losses within
the cycle).
The exergy losses within the cycle are the result of a trade-off
between driving forces for heat transfer etc. and capital costs.
Technology development and increased fuel prices will result in
a gradual reduction of these losses. The internal exergy efciencies
of the combined cycles today are about 80%, the remaining space
for further improvements is not very high. An increase of the internal exergy efciency to 85% or 90% will raise the plant thermal efciency with roughly 47% points; the necessary efforts will take
probably a long period of continued development.
The other option is the increase of the temperature of heat
transfer to the cycle. This can be achieved in several ways: increasing the gas turbine inlet temperature (TIT), increasing the pressure
ratio and applying one or more reheats. The effect of increased
temperatures of heat transfer is indicated in Fig. 13. The solid line
represents the Carnot efciency of a thermal power cycle that
transfers residual heat to the environment at environmental temperature; the dotted line represents the cycle efciency if an internal exergy efciency of 0.80 is applied. The calculated temperature
of heat transfer to the cycle of the systems considered in this paper
is 1040 K. Fig. 13 shows that with this temperature a thermal efciency of somewhat less than 60% can be achieved. This corresponds rather well with the value calculated for the triple
pressure plant. Temperatures higher than 13001400 K are necessary to reach efciencies that are signicantly higher than 60%. A
thermodynamic equivalent temperature of heat transfer to the cycle of about 1350 K can be obtained with a pressure ratio of 40 and
a TIT of 1700 C in case of a gas turbine without reheat; this will
result into thermal efciencies of CC plants of 6263%. Raising
the TIT to 1900 C will increase the thermal efciency with about
1% point. Today the gas turbine with the highest TIT is the GE Hseries (S109H, S107H) [16] with steam cooled blades. Further increase of the turbine inlet temperatures will require substantial efforts from gas turbine manufactures; because of the limited
benets it is not very likely that they will opt for this development.
The application of reheat is another option to increase the thermodynamic temperature of heat transfer to the cycle. The intro-

1109

duction of a reheat gas turbine by Alstom (GT26) [16] is the only


attempt into this direction so far; further developments are not announced. Therefore, the prospects of combined cycle efciencies
signicantly higher than 60% in the future seem to be limited.
Electrochemical conversion of fuels provides an opportunity to
avoid the large exergy losses that are inherent to thermal fuel conversion. In particular high temperature fuel cells have the potential
to enable plant efciencies over 80%. In [18] a study is presented
that investigates the conditions under which these high efciencies are conceivable using SOFCGT hybrid systems. The results
show that such high efciencies can be achieved without bottoming cycle and with rather moderate conditions for the gas turbine
as well as the fuel cell; the application of a bottoming cycle will enable a further increase of the plant efciency with 13% points.
Overall plant power is dominated by the performance of the gas
turbine, but can be much lower than for conventional power stations. It is obvious that the present state of the art of SOFC technology is insufcient to build SOFCGT hybrid plants, but the
perspective of very high conversion efciencies might justify substantial development efforts today.

5. Conclusions
The application of combined cycles has resulted in a signicant
increase of power plant efciencies during the last decades. Overall
plant efciencies of about 60% are achievable today if heat from the
gas turbine exhaust gases is efciently used. The evaluation of
exergy losses in combined cycle plants shows that these losses
are mainly dominated by the exergy losses of thermal combustion.
Possibilities to reduce these losses are limited. The exergy ow diagrams (Figs. 11 and 12) show that the highest losses are caused by
(thermal) combustion of the fuel. The further enhancement of
overall power plant efciencies to 70% or even higher will require
the development of high temperature fuel cell systems like SOFC
GT hybrid systems
The comparison of CC plants with increasing number of pressure levels of steam generation in the HRSG shows that the efciency gain of a triple pressure system in comparison with a
single pressure system is caused by the reduction of the exergy loss
of heat transfer in the HRSG as well as the lower exergy of the ue
gasses discharged to the stack. The last effect is even more important than the reduction of exergy losses due to heat transfer as can
be learned from the value diagrams of the HRSGs (Figs. 9 and 10).
In the case of the triple pressure system the remaining exergy
losses of heat transfer and ue gas discharge together are about
5% of the fuel exergy. A further increase of the number of steam
pressure levels in the HRSG does not seem to be really benecial;
it enables only a small reduction of the overall exergy loss of the
plant.
Different parameters can be used to assess the thermodynamic
performance of power plants or the different cycles. The traditionally used thermal efciency does not indicate thermodynamic
losses correctly as it does not consider for the temperature of heat
transfer to and from the cycles. Therefore the application of exergy
efciencies should be recommended. Exergy efciencies however
just show the actual losses in the considered situation but do not
indicate clearly the difference with the ideal case. In order to see
how far the actual performance differs from the performance in
the ideal (reversible) case, the internal exergy efciency of a cycle
is a better indicator, in particular if the exergy transferred from the
cycle is seriously inuenced by the performance of the cycle itself.
An estimated value of the internal exergy efciency can be calculated with limited accuracy using available data from system calculations. Very accurate values of the internal exergy efciency
will require the additional computation of the reversible cycle.

1110

N. Woudstra et al. / Energy Conversion and Management 51 (2010) 10991110

However, the accuracy of the estimated values will be sufcient for


usual evaluations.

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