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5/13/2018 Anti-surge protection system for compressors | Turbomachinery Magazine

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Anti-surge protection system for compressors
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By Olivia Lyons · On April 29, 2015
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This is the rst of a three-part series by the author. This article explains surge phenomena and
discusses why the anti-surge protection system is a very important part of a compressor.

VIEW THE MARCH /


APRIL 2018 ISSUE

Surge

It is a phenomena accompanied by centrifugal compressors having continuous ow rate, gas path


inside compressor ows having an acceptable value of eddies and vortices but if these eddies and
vortices exceeded the acceptable design limit that case will be called rotating stall and ow
separation will take place decreasing static pressure causing reversal gas ow leading to high
temperature and noise due to friction taking place between gas and stationary parts of compressor.

Flow reversal takes place as discharge pressure increases relatively compared to decrease of static
pressure of suction by which this static pressure is the potential force that moves the gas inside the

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5/13/2018 Anti-surge protection system for compressors | Turbomachinery Magazine
compressor while the dynamic pressure is the kinetic energy converted to pressure energy in
diffuser due to work done by compressor on compressed gas as a compression process.

Blockage of downstream

In case of blockage in downstream of compressor or blockage in certain stage of compressor, this


can cause a hazard effect on compressor performance as it leads to severe surge condition as
follows.

1) Rapid rise in discharge pressure of compressor to a value higher than normal value.

2) Reversal ow of compressor back from downstream accompanied by high noise and vibrations
amplitudes.

3) Increase in gas temperature due to friction of reversed gases and in path gases.

4) Decrease in suction pressure of compressor.

For a steam turbine operated compressor

Increase in steam consumption of turbine.


Increase in exhaust pressure and temperature of turbine due to excess steam
consumption.
Decreasing turbine e ciency and require more horse power (torque) in order to
compress gases.
Scope on condition monitoring
Steam turbine out of control as steam consumption reached maximum.
Control valve opening reach maximum.
Compressor surging and unable to pass compressed gases to downstream due to
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Opening anti-surge valves to circulate gases.
Opening circulation (anti-choke) valve to circulate gases between different casing in
multi stage and multi casing compressors.

Placing safety relief valve at discharge line with a set point equal to the safe limit of
compressor discharge pressure.
Opening vent valve on compressor discharge to escape gas pressure to atmosphere.

These actions will take place before steam turbine reach maximum speed and over- speed trip
where after over-speed trip the turbine will under come high thermal stresses and can reach higher
critical speeds that should be overcome with an extra ow of steam which will not be found as
boiler capacity will not cover it. Also to overcome choking of compressor due to huge rise of
rotating speed.

Poor response for anti-surge protection system

Anti-surge protection system is a very important part of compressor but it is not presented in anti-
surge valves only but it contains a several devices that integrate all together to give an output which
is the safe protection set-point for machine.

Anti-surge protection system has several points of control in other words its degree differs
according to number of parameters measured and integrated processed data together to obtain the
nal result which will be applied as an action.

In the next part, the author discusses the parameters affecting the anti-surge control systems, the
types of ASCS, explains their advantages, and elaborates their uses.

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5/13/2018 Anti-surge protection system for compressors | Turbomachinery Magazine
 

(The author is Turbomachinery Manager at Abu-Qir Fertilizers Company in Alexandria, Egypt. He has
a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering.)

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OLIVIA LYONS

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