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www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

generators operating parameters for combined plants

C. Casarosa a, F. Donatini b, A. Franco a,

a

b

Enel Produzione, via A. Pisano, 120-56122 Pisa, Italy

Abstract

The optimization of the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) is particularly interesting for the combined plants design in order to maximise the work obtained in the vapour cycle. A detailed optimization

of the HRSG is a very difficult problem, depending on several variables. The first step is represented by

the optimization of the operating parameters. These are the number of pressure levels, the pressures, the

mass flow ratio, and the inlet temperatures to the HRSG sections. The operating parameters can be determined by means both of a thermodynamic and of a thermoeconomic analysis, minimising a suitable objective

function by analytical or numerical mathematical methods. In the paper, thermodynamic optimization is

based on the minimization of exergy losses, while the thermoeconomic optimization is based on the minimization of the total HRSG cost, after the reduction to a common monetary base of the costs of exergy

losses and of installation.

2002 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

The competitive business environment created by liberalization in several countries of the electricity supply sector has made the combined cycle power plant, with its cost benefits and low

environmental impact, the generating plant of choice for power producers. Many of them produce

standardized combined cycle power facilities based on advanced gas turbines models with an

efficiency in the range between 35 and 42% and exhaust gas temperatures variable in the range

between 700 K and 920 K.

An advanced, high-efficiency combined cycle power plant depends not only on high-quality

E-mail address: alessandro.franco@ing.unipi.it (A. Franco).

0360-5442/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/S0360-5442(02)00078-6

390

Nomenclature

b

dimensionless cost parameter

cp

specific heat (J/kg K)

C

specific heat of the gas (J/kg K)

D

economic life of the plant (years)

Ex

exergy (J)

Exr

dimensionless residual exergy at the end of the steam expansion process

H

annual functioning duration (hours/year)

I

exergy losses (J)

I

dimensionless exergy losses

Iesp

dimensionless exergy losses due to the isoentropic efficiency of the steam turbine

kI

specific cost of the exergy losses ($/kWh )

k

specific cost of the HRSG surfaces ($/m2)

K

cost relative to one year ($)

K

dimensionless annual cost

m

mass flow rate of water (kg/s)

M

mass flow rate of the gas (kg/s)

n

number of HRSG sections

N=US/Mcpg number of gas side transfer units

P.P. pinch-point (K)

p

pressure (bar)

S

heat exchange surface (m2)

T

gas temperature (K)

t

water (steam) temperature (K)

ta

environment temperature (K)

tv

vaporization temperatures (K)

tsh

temperature at the end superheater (K)

U

overall heat transfer coefficient (W/m2 K)

x

steam quality at the end of the expansion process

W

output power of the steam cycle (W)

W

dimensionless output power of the steam cycle

r

ratio between heat rates of liquid and gas

h

gas-side effectiveness

Subscripts and superscripts

a

e

esp

exp

environment

economiser

expansion

exponent

g

HRSG

in

I

out

r

rh

sh

st

v

vap

w

391

gas

heat recovery steam generator

inlet to the HRSG

of the exergy losses

outlet from the HRSG

residual value

reheater

superheater

steam turbine

of the evaporator

of the vapor

of the water

CCP Combined Cycle Plant

ECO Economiser section

EVA Evaporator section

HRSG Heat Recovery Steam Generator

HP

High pressure

IP

Intermediate pressure

LP

Low pressure

Px

Section with two or three water streams

RAN Single pressure HRSG (Rankine cycle HRSG)

RANSH Single pressure HRSG with superheater

SH

Superheater section

THP High Pressure Turbine

TIP

Intermediate Pressure Turbine

TLP Low Pressure Turbine

TMD Thermodynamic

TME Thermoeconomic

2PR Simple two pressure level

equipment but also on optimized matching of the components. The combined cycle process

couples the Brayton cycle with a bottoming Rankine cycle. The basic idea is to utilize the energy

contained in the hot gas-turbine exhaust gases in a steam process connected downstream of the

gas turbine. The gas turbinethe topping cycleprovides, in a process configuration with a

heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), about two thirds of the total useful power. The remaining

third comes from utilization of the waste-heat in the steam process, or bottoming cycle. To

increase the power output, a most promising argument is the optimization of the HRSG, that

392

provides the critical link between the gas turbine cycle and the steam turbine cycle, with the

objective of increasing the steam turbine output [1].

In a combined cycle power plant (CCP) the HRSG represents the interface element between

the gas turbine and the steam cycle. Here, the gas turbine exhaust gas is cooled down and the

recuperated heat is used to generate steam. In order to provide better heat recovery in the HRSG

more than one pressure level is used. With a single-pressure HRSG about 30% of the total plant

output is generated in the steam turbine. A dual-pressure arrangement can increase the power

output of the steam cycle by up to 10%, and an additional 3% can result with a triple-pressure

cycle [2]. To obtain a higher efficiency value, a steam bottoming cycle with five pressure levels

with steam turbo-chargers has also been proposed [3].

Modern gas turbine plants with a triple-pressure HRSG with steam reheat can reach efficiencies

above 55%. ABB-Alstom claims 58% efficiency of a combined cycle plant built around their

GT24/26 reheat gas turbines [4]; the same efficiency is cited by Siemens, for the Westinghouse

steam-cooled W501G/701G gas turbine or V94.3a gas turbine, combined with a triple pressure

HRSG [5]. A gas turbine, with steam cooling of the turbine blades and nozzles, combined with

an advanced HRSG is expected to operate at an efficiency level of 60% in the near future. However, these high efficiency values can be achieved at large units above 300 MW. The purpose of

the most part of the world manufacturers is to reach overall thermal efficiencies of the combined

plant of 60% in the short period, above all increasing the gas turbine inlet temperature [5].

In the literature, different solutions for the increase of the heat recovery efficiency have been

proposed. Among these is the well known Kalina cycle, where a mixed working fluid of variable

composition is used to provide a better match between the temperatures of the hot and cold

streams. An alternative, the use of a fluid with a high critical temperature, such as mercury or

potassium, could be interesting for the bottoming cycle too [5].

Maintaining the use of water as working fluid for the bottoming cycle, the optimization of the

HRSG operating parameters is considered one of the most interesting strategies to obtain an

increase of the combined cycle plant performance. This has been demonstrated in recent work

about the optimization, both of the HRSG [68] and of the whole combined cycle power plant [9].

In general, thermoeconomic analyses proposed in the literature are focused on the economic

objective. But solutions with high thermodynamic efficiency, in spite of an increase of total costs,

may provide much more interesting results due to changes in energy market prices and in energy

policies. Moreover, the analysis is concentrated on general elements of the system.

Considering that further improvements and refinements on this matter are desirable, mainly in

order to obtain a satisfactory thermoeconomic optimization strategy for the whole combined plant

providing a suitable compromise between thermodynamic and economic aspects, it is also interesting to perform new optimization strategies that permit the definition of the various HRSG

operating parameters and consequently the geometrical variables of the single sections.

Starting from those premises, the objective of the paper is to develop a particular optimization

method, based on a combined thermodynamic and economic analysis, for the design of the HRSG,

that tries to satisfy both thermodynamic and economic objectives in order to define the main

operating parameters of the component. The main operating parameters considered for the HRSG

are the number of pressure levels, the mass ratios between hot and cold stream and the saturation

temperatures. The optimization is performed with the aim of evaluating the possibility of reaching

efficiency of 60% without awaiting for a meaningful increase of the gas turbine performances.

393

The optimization of a component such as the HRSG can occur at various levels of complexity

with objective functions sequentially defined. The optimization, beginning with the global system

to the component with different hierarchical objectives, determines a quasi-optimum design.

For the HRSG the first step of the optimization is represented by the definition of the main

operating parameters. These are in general the number of pressure levels, the mass flow ratio and

the temperature profiles. The HRSG optimum design in the actual technology is based on the

concepts of pinch-point and approach point, which govern the gas and steam temperature profiles.

Particularly important in order to quantify the operating parameters is the pinch-point. The pinchpoint (Fig. 1) representing the minimum difference between the gas temperature leaving the evaporator and the saturation temperature, takes into account implicitly both thermodynamic and economical points of view. Its values, usually in the range between 10 and 20C, are derived from

practical experience even if it is clear that they are strongly dependent on the economic viewpoint considered.

A different optimization approach can be based on a thermodynamic or thermoeconomic analysis by minimising a suitable objective function with analytical or numerical mathematical methods.

In order to identify the aforesaid objective function and the correct weight of thermodynamic and

economic elements, a necessary first step is the splitting of thermodynamic and economic aspects

and the pinch-point becomes a result of the optimization process.

In a thermodynamic analysis, the attention can be focused on the minimization of the thermal

exergy losses, taking into account only the irreversibility due to the temperature difference

between hot and cold streams. The exergy losses due to the pressure drop, neglected at this step

because they are of an order of magnitude lower, can be considered in a further analysis of the

HRSG ended at the final executive design of the HRSG, requiring for their evaluation a detailed

description of the sections geometry. Although this criterion gives solutions with null pinch- point

and infinite heat exchange surface, it allows us to perform a first selection of the operating parameters: mass flow ratio, exhaust gas and water outlet temperatures from the HRSG and saturation

394

temperatures. Moreover, it is suggested that the use of a section with two or three parallel cold

streams is a means to increase the heat transfer effectiveness of the HRSG.

A next step is the tentative of obtaining a general optimization combining thermodynamic and

economic aspects. In this case, the cost related to the exergy losses have to be recast to operating

costs of the HRSG and, combined with the HRSG installation costs, gives a cost that must be

minimized. It is shown among the results how the weight of the economic aspects modify the

results of the thermodynamic analysis, evidencing that in this approach the critical element is the

value of the ratio between the cost of exergy losses and the HRSG installation cost.

The thermoecomomic optimization determines a sensible difference in the results with respect

to the thermodynamic optimization and shows how a pinch-point value corresponds to a well

defined value of the aforesaid ratio between the operating costs and the costs of the exergy losses.

The optimum design of various HRSG configurations of growing complexity is examined furnishing a general strategy to select the independent variables of the optimum design problem. In

all the cases discussed the HRSG inlet mass flow of the gas and its temperature are imposed as

boundary conditions. The application of the proposed methods is also extended to consider some

HRSG configurations with two or three pressure levels, relative to commercialized combined

power plants.

3. Thermodynamic optimization

A thermodynamic optimization is the first step of each optimum design process. Though if

approaches for the HRSG optimization based on the minimization of entropy generation are also

available [7], the criterion considered for the thermodynamic optimization yields the minimisation

of exergy losses, taking into account irreversibility due to the temperature difference between the

hot and the cold stream. In the general case, considering null the exergy flows of the outlet gas,

the exergy balance of the HRSG is given by [10]

Exg,in Exl,in Exvap,out I

(1)

where I is the exergy loss occurring in the HRSG. The exergy loss I is a function that has to be

minimized to obtain the thermodynamic optimization

I Exg,in Exl,inExvap,out.

(2)

The general HRSG configuration can be obtained combining n sections similar to the one

represented in Fig. 2. The analysis is based on the concept of gas side effectiveness of the HRSG

sections instead of the pinch-point method. The gas side effectiveness or temperature effectiveness is derived from the concept of heat transfer effectiveness by Kays and London [11]. For

the single HRSG section, if the specific heat of the exhaust gas and of water/steam can be considered constant in each section, selecting an opportune average value in the corresponding temperature range, the gas side effectiveness can be defined as:

hk

TkTk1

f(N,r) (single phase channel)

Tktk1

(3)

where N is the number of gas-side transfer units, and r is the ratio between the heat rates of

water and gas, defined respectively as

Fig. 2.

395

US

mcpw

and r

,

Mcpg

Mcpg

(4)

where cpg and cpw are the specific heat of gas and liquid, U the overall heat transfer coefficient,

S the heat exchange surfaces, m and M liquid and gas mass flow rate.

The concept of gas side effectiveness or temperature effectiveness, defined by Eq. (3), is

only an instrument to conduct the optimization and has not a particular meaning in order to

characterize the efficiency of heat recovery. It is coincident with the usual heat exchanger

efficiency for the evaporator, while for the economiser and superheater sections, it represents the

ratio of the gas temperature drop and the maximum temperature difference between gas and liquid.

Using this concept, the HRSG can be analysed and optimised only analyzing the evolution of the

gas, a fluid that does not change phase.

An interesting solution in order to increase the heat transfer efficiency and reduce the thermal

exergy losses in the HRSG is the use of sections with more than one stream on the liquid side

(parallel flow sections). This solution is already used by the manufacturers mostly in the case of

fluid with the same characteristics, e.g. two liquids or two superheated steam flows. But it seems

interesting to propose an extension of its use also to different conditions.

Parallel flow sections are heat exchangers in which exhaust gas exchanges heat with two or

more water streams at the same time. These kind of sections are very useful when two or more

flows of water are required to accomplish the same temperature rise. In this case exergy losses

due to thermal exchange can be sensibly reduced due to the lower mean temperature difference

between gas and water with respect to the configuration with two simple-flow sections. The presence of two or more separated water streams is possible only if they are at different pressures,

so the number of liquid steams in parallel with the gas flow can be lower than or equal to the

number of pressure levels.

In Fig. 3(a), for example, a section with two water streams, at two different pressures p and

p is considered. It is easy to conclude that the situation minimizing the exergy losses is the one

when the following two conditions simultaneously occur: the first is that on the gas side the two

gas flows Mk and Mk mix at the same temperature Tk1, the second is that on the liquid side

the following conditions are verified

tk1 tk1 tk1

tk tk tk.

(5)

396

Fig. 3.

General (a) and simplified (b) schematization of a section with two parallel streams.

If the previous conditions occur, the section can be represented by the simplified scheme of

Fig. 3(b) and it is possible to extend to the section with two or more water streams the same

concept of the gas side effectiveness defined by Eq. (3). To satisfy this condition only one value

of the number of gas side thermal units N has to be defined so it is necessary that:

N

US

US

.

Mcpg Mcpg

(6)

This condition can be verified even if the water streams are of different characteristics, i.e. a

liquid and a superheated steam. It is not possible to satisfy the condition when one or both the

water streams change phase. So the evaporators can be represented by elements with only one

water stream like the one of Fig. 2. In general, it is possible to use sections with a maximum

number of streams equal to the number of pressure levels. Moreover, it is important to consider

the connections between sections with a different number of streams, like those represented in

Fig. 4.

3.1. HRSG configuration and number of independent variables of the optimum design problem

Various HRSG configurations can be analyzed starting from the simple one, composed by a

Rankine cycle recovery structure (RAN), to the more complex represented by triple pressure

Fig. 4.

397

HRSG with reheat sections (3PRSH). In particular the configurations that will be examined are

the following:

1 pressure level

RAN

RANSH

RANSH+1P (reheater inlet temperature higher than saturation one)

RANSH+2P (reheater inlet temperature lower than saturation one)

2 pressure levels

2PR coupled (with a single steam turbine)

2PR uncoupled (with two steam turbines)

2PRSH (double pressure level with high pressure reheat)

3 pressure levels

3PRSH (triple pressure level with high pressure reheat)

In general, only the inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG, the inlet temperature

of water and the gas mass flow are given. Each HRSG configuration involves a certain number

of variables that have to be defined (NV). These are, for an arrangement composed by elements

with only one stream, for each section the gas temperatures Tk, the water temperatures tk, the gasside effectiveness hk, the heat flows Qk, the gas mass flow Mk and the water mass flow mk. On

the same time, it is possible to write a certain number of equations: for each HRSG section the

mass conservation equations, the energy conservation equation, the gas side effectiveness definition for each HRSG section and finally interconnection equations. The number of equations

(NE) is always lower than the number of variables (NV) but the real independent variables of the

optimum design problem is sensibly lower than NV. This last varies in the range between 21 for

the RANSH HRSG and 86 for the 3PRSH HRSG. It is of primary importance to define for each

configuration the number of independent variables (NIV) of the optimization process. For HRSGs

with a number of pressure levels lower than or equal to 3, the number of independent variables

of the optimum design is given by the equation

NIV NVNE 3n1 w2 2w3(v g z y mw),

(7)

where n is the number of HRSG sections, w2 is the number of sections with two water streams,

w3 is the number of sections with three water streams, v is the number of evaporators, g are the

connections between the water streams of non-contiguous elements, y is the number of mass

conservation equations on the water side (conditions mk=0), z is the number of mass conservation

equations on the gas side (conditions Mk=0), mw is the number of congruence conditions (e.g.

the coupling of two heat recovery cycles).

In each case, the saturation temperatures and the gas side effectiveness of each evaporator are

considered as independent variables; other independent variables are the water outlet temperatures.

Let us now examine two particular HRSG configurations: the 2PRSH, represented in Fig. 5

and in Fig. 7(a), and the 3PRSH, represented in Fig. 6 and in Fig. 7(b) (for a simplified case

with three parallel sections).

In the schemes of Figs. 5 and 6 the elements referred as P1, P2 and P3 in Fig. 5 and P1, P2,

P3, P4 and P5 in Fig. 6 are sections with two or three parallel water streams. Table 1 provides

398

Fig. 7. Thermodynamic vapor cycle related to 2PRSH (a) and 3PRSH (b) HRSG configurations.

399

Table 1

Number of independent variables for the examined HRSG configurations

HRSG configuration

w2

w3

mw

NIV

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (coup.)

2PR (unc.)

2PRSH

3PRSH

3

4

4

5

5

7

9

0

1

2

0

0

3

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

3

0

1

2

1

1

3

5

2

3

3

4

4

6

8

2

3

3

2

2

5

7

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

3

4

4

4

5

6

7

the values of the number of independent variables of the optimum design process for seven different HRSG configurations. After the identification of the number of the optimum design independent variables and after their selection, the optimization process consists in the minimization

of the exergy loss I defined by Eq. (2). The exergy losses I can be transformed and given in

dimensionless form with respect to a conventional enthalpy term. For convenience this reference

term can be obtained as the product of the mass flow of the inlet gas to the HRSG, Mg, with the

environmental temperature ta and with the specific heat of the gas at this temperature cpa. Consequently the function to be minimized is represented by the dimensionless exergy losses I

defined as:

I

I

.

Mgcpata

(8)

In general, steam saturation temperatures, superheated steam temperatures and evaporators effectiveness can be selected as independent variables for the thermodynamic optimization, while the

inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG is considered as a parameter. A sensitivity

analysis is performed to evaluate the effects of its variation on the optimum design process.

4. Thermoeconomic optimization

It is quite easy to expect that all the solutions obtained by exergy loss minimization furnish

null pinch-point and infinite surface. The results obtained, even if meaningless from a technical

point of view (solutions involving null pinch points with infinite surfaces and costs of the HRSG),

represent a first rough selection criterion for the definition of the HRSG operating parameters. In

order to find a compromise between high thermodynamic efficiency and low cost of the HRSG,

a further analysis development is represented by the thermoeconomic optimization.

The thermoeconomic analysis carried out in the present work is based on the assumption that

the total cost of the HRSG is equal to the sum of the costs related to the exergy losses plus

the operating costs (related to installation and operation) [12]. The thermoeconomic optimization

considers as objective function the minimization of the above defined total HRSG cost. In the

proposed method, the key element for the thermoeconomic optimization is represented by the

definition of the cost of the exergy losses. To destroy exergy means to destroy available mechan-

400

ical energy that must be computed at a cost sensibly higher than the fuel one. It is simple to

understand that accepting this point of view, the HRSG pinch-point values are a direct consequence of the cost assumed for the exergy losses.

4.1. Definition of a cost structure

The costs related to exergy losses have to be recast to operative costs of the HRSG and combined with the installation costs to obtain the total cost of the HRSG. For this aim the definition

of a true cost structure is of primary importance.

4.1.1. Cost of the exergy losses

The cost of the exergy losses can be expressed in the form

KI kIMgcpataHI.

(9)

In Eq. (9), kI represents the specific cost of the exergy losses, cpa is the reference specific heat

of the exhaust gas, at the environmental temperature, and H is the functioning duration of the

plant. For the definition of the specific cost of the exergy loss kI various strategies can be assumed.

To consider it as the cost of the fuel, but this seems to be the less realistic one.

To consider the cost of the exergy losses as the cost of the fuel divided for the efficiency of

the plant (in the case of the combined plants typically about 0.55).

To consider that exergy losses correspond to a lower energy availability, and they are equivalent

to the cost of the fuel divided for the average efficiency of the installed plants (typically of the

order of 0.350.40).

Another possibility, referred to in the examples carried out in the paper, is to consider the

exergy losses equal to an average value of the selling price of the electrical energy. This last

option derives from the consideration that an exergy loss in the HRSG corresponds to a lower

output of the plant and to a lower amount of energy that can be sold.

4.1.2. Cost of the HRSG sections

While the definition of the cost of the exergy losses and the data required for its evaluation

are quite simple to find, the definition of a HRSG cost structure is more complex. A simple

structure that can be proposed is that the cost of the single HRSG section must be proportional

to the surface, as well as the total cost of the HRSG must be equal to the sum of the costs of its

sections, so that for an HRSG composed of n sections

KHRSG

Kk.

(10)

k1

The cost of the single HRSG section can be expressed in the form

Kk ksSexp

(11)

where ks is the specific cost of the surface of the single HRSG section, a function of pressure

and temperature, S is the heat exchange surface and exp an opportune exponent. Concerning the

401

cost of the single HRSG section, the main problem is the correct value to attribute to the specific

cost ks and to the exponent exp.

A first hypothesis states in considering the cost of the HRSG section directly proportional to

the surface (exp=1), being this protective with respect to the position usually suggested in the

literature stating that the exponent is equal to 0.8. Considering the general HRSG configuration,

it is possible to write that the total cost is equal to the sum of the costs of the various sections.

Four different kinds of sections are distinguished: economisers, evaporators, superheaters and

reheaters, so that

KHRSG

keSe

kvSv

kshSsh

sh

krhSrh.

(12)

rh

After the separate definition of the costs of the exergy losses and of the HRSG sections, the

total annualized cost of the HRSG to be minimized is expressed in the form

K KI KHRSG kIMgcpataHI

1

(

D

keSe

kvSv

kshSsh

sh

krhSrh)

(13)

rh

where D is the economic life of the plant. By means of the definition of the number of gas side

transfer units, Nk, the heat exchange surface S can be written for each one of the k sections in

the form

Sk

cpkMgNk

.

Uk

(14)

The total cost of the HRSG, can be expressed in dimensionless form homogeneously with I

defined by Eq. (8) as a function of the various N:

K I b

cpe

ke Ne

cpa

cpv

N

cpa v

sh

cpsh

ksh Nsh

cpa

rh

cprh

krh Nrh

cpa

(15)

where

and

kv

,

kItaHDUv

ke

k e Uv

,

kvUe

(17a)

ksh

ksh Uv

,

kv Ush

(17b)

(16)

402

krh

krh Uv

,

kv Urh

(17c)

so that K represents the objective function to be minimized to have the thermoeconomic optimization and the structure of Eq. (15) permits a direct comparison between the cost of the exergy

losses and the cost of the sections of the HRSG. The thermoeconomic optimization will select

the most economic configuration and set of operating parameters, relative to the cost structure

assumed. These parameters will then constitute the input data for a more detailed design procedure

where the geometric variables of the HRSG sections can also be considered in a detailed optimization also concerning the minimization of exergy loss due to the pressure drop.

From a mathematical point of view, the optimum design problem consists in finding the minimum of a function, [F(X)], represented alternatively by the exergy loss I, defined by Eq. (8),

or by the total annual HRSG cost K, defined by Eq. (15), where X is a vector containing the

NIV independent variables. It is the classical problem of constrained minimization. The aim of

the mathematical procedure of optimization, after the appropriate selection of the vector X, is to

define a combination of the variables so that a certain value of the vector X will minimize the

objective function. The minimization of the objective function must occur simultaneously with

respect to the full set of equations describing the HRSG as well as the conditions that stand for

the physical sense of all the variables (e.g. temperature and mass flows greater than zero). This

problem of non-linear constrained minimization can be solved with one of the various methods

available.

Using the definition of the heat transfer effectiveness, given by Eq. (3), the problem has been

transformed in a quasi-linear constrained optimization problem. Just in some simple cases

(CARNOT, RAN and RANSH HRSG configurations) the problem can be solved analytically. In

general it has been solved by means of the Simplex method (in the version called the Complex

method), appropriately implemented on a computational code. For a detailed treatment of the

aforesaid Simplex (Complex) method, the reader is referred to [13]. The main advantages in using

the Simplex method are that it does not require:

the evaluation of the derivatives of the function F;

the function F to be continuous;

to know the dominion of existence of F.

A first step in the optimization consists in the definition by a random search procedure of an

initial vector of the variables X where the function to be minimized assumes the minimum value

among the various values obtained. Then, starting from this initial vector, the final optimization

is obtained by means of the direct application of the Simplex method.

403

6.1. Results of the thermodynamic optimization

By applying the above-mentioned thermodynamic optimization method to the single or multipressure evaporator, a simple criterion for the selection of the saturation temperatures ts as a

function of inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG, and environmental temperature can

be given.

Using the definition of the evaporator effectiveness given in Eq. (3), where the dimensionless

exergy losses I, for the single pressure evaporator, can be analytically obtained as shown in

[12]. Minimizing the expression of the exergy loss with reference to the saturation temperature

tv, the result hv=1 (i.e. null pinch-point) can be obtained and the optimum saturation temperature

is given by:

tv,opt Tginta / Tgin.

(18)

The same optimization method applied to a multi-pressure HRSG obtained with a number n of

evaporators furnished for the ith level:

tv,i Tgin(ta / Tgin)i/(n+1),

(19)

with n the number of pressure levels. Assuming as reference environmental temperature ta=293

K, the results of Table 2 for different inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG and

independently on the operating fluid, are obtained. By applying the thermodynamic optimization to

the configuration with economizer and evaporator (RAN), economiser, evaporator and superheater

(RANSH), writing a more complex function, an analogous result can be obtained. The minimum

of the exergy losses always occurs for null pinch-point values (hv=1). The optimization method

has been used to define the optimal operating parameters of the HRSG configurations enumerated

in 3.1.

In the Tables 36 the results of the optimization are shown for the various analyzed configurations, obtained assuming the following parameters:

reference mass flow of gas, Mg=386.7 kg/s;

reference ambient temperature, ta=293 K;

Table 2

Temperatures of the optimum Carnot HRSG

1 Carnot

2 Carnot

3 Carnot

Tgin[K]

ts [K]

ts1 [K]

ts2 [K]

ts1 [K]

ts2 [K]

ts3 [K]

700

773

823

850

453

476

491

499

523

561

585

598

391

407

416

421

563

606

636

647

453

475

491

499

364

373

379

382

404

Table 3

Minimum inlet gas temperature to obtain critical conditions for the steam (ta=293 K and tlin=313 K)

HRSG configuration

RANSH

RANSH+1P

RANSH+2P

2PR coupled

2PR uncoupled

2PRSH

3PRSH

823

790

773

830

820

725

760

Table 4

Optimum operating parameters for a 2PR HRSG

HP

LP

Tgin [K]

tv[K]

pv [bar]

tsh[K]

m [kg/s] x

tv [K]

pv [bar]

m[kg/s] x

700

725

750

773

800

810

820

823

0.08926

0.09053

0.08872

0.08428

0.07322

0.06524

0.04802

0.03064

555.5

585.7

609.2

621.2

635.3

640.4

645.6

647.0

66.5

102.2

139.0

161.5

191.5

203.8

216.7

220.4

700

704.7

750.0

773

800

810

820

822.8

31.91

34.76

36.99

41.35

47.64

50.72

55.49

58.95

412.9

425.5

433.4

434.8

431.1

426.0

410.4

392.7

3.585

5.066

6.216

6.440

5.873

5.131

3.344

1.959

18.44

19.73

20.44

19.25

16.67

14.96

11.75

9.01

0.831

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8

0.8513

0.8384

0.8307

0.8293

0.8328

0.8379

0.8539

0.8738

Table 5

Dimensionless exergy losses for the optimized HRSG in the various configurations

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (cou.)

2PR (unc.)

2PRSH

3PRSH

Tgin [K]

700

750

773

800

823

0.15632

0.17235

0.17487

0.17474

0.09069

0.14935

0.16513

0.17121

0.13211

0.07464

0.14466

0.15613

0.13892

0.11626

0.08866

0.09584

0.09808

0.09605

0.08751

0.07214

0.08926

0.08872

0.08428

0.07322

0.03064

0.08635

0.07271

0.05806

0.05467

0.04321

0.05974

0.05978

0.04892

0.04121

0.03025

steam turbine isoentropic efficiency=90%;

minimum value of steam quality at the end of expansion, x=0.8;

specific heat of gas at environmental temperature, cpa=1.0645 kJ/kg K

405

Table 6

Dimensionless total exergy losses for HRSG and bottoming cycle

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (cou.)

2PR (unc.)

2PRSH

3PRSH

Tgin [K]

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

I+Iesp+Exr

700

750

773

800

823

0.2354

0.2649

0.2771

0.2858

0.2152

0.2272

0.2549

0.2668

0.2410

0.2008

0.2225

0.2471

0.2298

0.2191

0.2037

0.1990

0.2186

0.2239

0.2235

0.2181

0.1807

0.1957

0.1995

0.1989

0.1691

0.1722

0.1841

0.1670

0.1718

0.1663

0.1485

0.1611

0.1531

0.1542

0.1521

Table 3 provides the inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG, determining a critical

value for the high pressure level (assumed in our calculation as 220 bar and 647 K). With HRSG

composed of evaporators only, the aforesaid critical value of the water saturation temperature is

obtained only with three pressure levels and an inlet temperature of the exhaust gas of 850 K

(Table 2). On the contrary, with the other configurations examined, the inlet temperature Tgin, for

which the HRSG high pressure, approximates the critical value of 220 bar, is lower than 850 K.

Table 4 provides the optimized operating parameters of the HRSG and the corresponding

dimensionless exergy losses I for the case of a simple two pressure HRSG (2PR), at different

values of the inlet gas temperature Tgin.

The results obtained by means of this analysis, though if only ideal, determining infinite heat

exchange surfaces, represents a possible first selection criterion for the operating parameters. In

the Tables 5 and 6 the results of the exergy losses relative to the whole analysis are reported. In

Table 5 only the irreversibility related to the HRSG is considered. Table 6 provides the term of

total exergy losses, considering also those due to the isentropic efficiency of the expansion and

the residual exergy of the steam at the exit of the turbine, both given in dimensionless form, with

reference to the term Mgcpata, as Iesp and Exr. In Tables 5 and 6 it seems interesting to underline

that for the aims of the optimization, in the greater part of the cases, it seems equivalent to

consider as objective function the minimization of the HRSG exergy losses I or of the total

exergy losses Itot obtained as the sum of the three terms I+Iesp+Exr.

6.2. Results of thermoeconomic optimization for various HRSG configurations

Although the thermodynamic optimization gives null pinch-points and unlimited heat exchange

surfaces, it permits the knowledge of an extreme point of the spectrum of the optimal solution

for the HRSG operating parameters. A thermoeconomic optimization, obtained with the minimization of the costs defined by Eq. (15), gives more realistic results for the HRSG design. To

understand the differences determined by the thermoeconomic optimization with respect to the

thermodynamic optimization, it is interesting to consider the case of the Rankine cycle for what

analytic solution is possible. For a simple Rankine cycle HRSG (with only an economizer and

an evaporator), assuming the simplified case in which the cost of the economizers ke and the cost

of the evaporators kv be equal as well as the specific heat of the gas and the overall heat transfer

406

Fig. 8. Correlation between pinch-point and cost parameter b (a) and between pinch-point and saturation temperature

ts (b).

coefficient in the various sections remains constant, the total dimensionless cost can be

expressed as

K I b(Nv Ne).

(20)

Minimizing the previous expression analytically, using I defined by the authors [12], the pinchpoint value (P.P.) is a function of b, as well as the saturation temperature, as shown in Fig. 8(a)

for the particular values of gas and water inlet temperatures.

Assuming the values Tgin=700 K it is easy to obtain the results presented in Table 7. In this

table it is clearly shown that the pinch-point (P.P.) is a function of the economic parameter b,

and can vary over a wide range. From the previous considerations and the results of Table 7 and

Fig. 8(a), the economical meaning of the pinch-point appears evident, a concept sometimes forgotten in the literature, and it is clear how its value is strongly dependent on the economic scenario

and cannot be selected on the basis of practical considerations only.

In the next calculations, maintaining the parameters already considered for what concerns Mg,

Ta, tlin, x and steam turbine isoentropic efficiency, the following cost structure has been assumed.

As cost of the exergy losses the value

kI 0.068 $ / kWh

Table 7

Sensitivity analysis of the thermoeconomic optimization of a RANSH HRSG with respect to the parameters b

b

pv [bar]

tv [K]

he

hv

hsh

P.P. [K]

0.001

0.01

0.03

0.05

15

8

7

7

472.6

442.4

436.8

436.8

0.407

0.374

0.288

0.239

0.999

0.946

0.835

0.753

0.206

0.196

0.168

0.145

0

11

36

55

407

that represents an average value for the selling price of the electrical energy in Italy has been

adopted. The average costs of the four different kind of sections, extrapolated by the data of a

manufacturer, [14], are:

Evaporators, kv=34.9 $/m2,

Economizers, ke=45.7 $/m2,

Reheaters, krh=56.2 $/m2,

Superheaters, ksh=96.2 $/m2.

With the previously defined structure, the effect of temperature and pressure are considered in

the different costs of the sections, so the cost of the superheater sections is sensibly higher than

those of the reheaters, mainly for the different pressure, higher for the superheaters. Due to the

fact that the approach point influences only the allocation of the surfaces on the HRSG sections

(economizer and evaporator), its value has been assumed null for simplicity. For what concerns

the overall heat transfer coefficient the following values have been considered [14]:

Ue=42.6 W/m2 K,

Uv= 43.7 W/m2 K,

Ush=Urh= 50 W/m2 K.

In addition, the following values have been assumed for the parameters H and D:

functioning duration of the plant, H=8000 hour/year,

economic life of the plant, D=10 years.

With reference to the afore-mentioned values, the order of magnitude of the dimensionless parameter b is about 0.5103.

The aforesaid optimum design method with the cost structure defined in the previous paragraph

was applied to all the HRSG configurations. In particular, in Tables 8 and 9 the detailed results

of the HRSG thermoeconomic optimization in the two particular cases of the configurations

described in Figs 5 and 6 are reported, for three different values of the inlet temperature of the

Table 8

Optimized operating parameters for a thermoeconomically optimized 2PRSH HRSG

HP

LP

Tgin[K]

tv [K]

pv[bar]

tsh[K]

m [kg/s] tv [K]

pv[bar]

tsh[K]

m [kg/s]

700

0.09847

0.08680

0.07323

0.08635

0.08818

0.05806

0.06639

0.04321

0.04837

549.8

554.3

645.7

644.6

645.0

645.3

61.0

65.3

217.0

214.1

215.2

215.9

674.0

672.6

746.5

743.7

807.9

799.9

29.52

29.04

40.40

39.29

45.90

46.02

2.62

2.50

2.78

3.22

1.33

1.77

483.5

479.4

410.1

434.0

462.0

490.0

16.39

16.94

16.10

16.03

12.35

11.34

773

823

402.1

400.6

404.2

434.0

380.9

389.6

408

Table 9

Optimized operating parameters for a thermoeconomically optimized 3PRSH HRSG

HP

IP

LP

Tgin

[K]

tv [K] pv

[bar]

tsh[K] m

tv [K] pv

[kg/s]

[bar]

m

tv [K] pv

tsh [K]

[kg/s]

[bar]

m

[kg/s]

700

0.07571

0.07593

0.06254

0.05974

0.06330

0.04892

0.05907

0.03025

0.03716

564.3

561.5

646.9

629.4

647.0

646.9

699.5

695.4

772.8

766.9

823.0

807.6

12.46

12.15

3.78

10.21

1.19

2.89

8.04

8.10

9.50

9.22

9.05

8.82

773

823

75.7

72.6

220.3

178.5

220.4

220.1

25.34

25.55

37.50

32.90

45.58

45.02

449.8

448.6

511.5

490.6

476.8

486.5

9.26

9.02

32.52

22.07

16.78

20.40

374.3

374.0

418.6

399.1

374.3

386.3

1.06

1.04

4.21

2.39

1.06

1.59

450.0

448.6

511.7

490.6

476.8

486.5

exhaust gas. In each case, the results of the thermoeconomic optimization are compared with

those of the thermodynamic optimization (identified by K=). In general, the results obtained

with the thermodynamic optimization have been substantially modified by the introduction of

economic elements. For each HRSG configuration, positive pinch-point values have been obtained,

as described in the Table 10.

As already stated the values of the pinch-points depends on the cost hypothesis; due to the

approach considered it is, however, possible to use different cost structures so that the method is

completely general. The cost hypothesis used in the paper to test the method is relative to a case

in which the cost of the exergy losses is high (it is equal to the selling price of energy). Consequently a low value of the parameter b results, so that the pinch-points obtained could seem to

be surprisingly low.

Moreover, Tables 11 and 12 provide the costs of the optimized HRSG configurations and the

sum of the costs of the optimized HRSG plus the cost related to the irreversibility related to the

steam expansion and of the residual exergy of the vapor at the end of the expansion. The results

of Tables 11 and 12 are the homologues of those reported in Tables 5 and 6 in the case of the

thermodynamic optimization. Figure 9 summarizes the results obtained in the thermoeconomic

optimization. In addition to those results Table 13 provides the surfaces of the optimized HRSG

configuration in the two meaningful cases of 2PRSH and 3PRSH illustrated in Figs 5 and 6.

Figure 9(a) provides, for the various analyzed HRSG configurations, a graphical analysis of

Table 10

Pinch-point obtained for optimized HRSG configurations

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (coup.)

2PR (unc.)

2PRSH

P.P. [K]

P.P. [K]

P.P.

H.P.

[K]

L.P.

P.P.

H.P.

[K]

L.P.

P.P.

H.P.

[K]

L.P.

P.P.

H.P.

[K]

I.P.

L.P.

1.7

2.2

5.5

0.9

0.9

1.0

1.2

1.3

1.8

1.1

1.3

1.9

1.3

3.1

4.7

1.1

2.4

2.1

1.7

2.1

9.0

2.1

2.9

2.6

1.3

1.2

2.6

700

773

823

0.6

0.7

0.3

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.7

3.7

7.1

3PRSH

409

Table 11

Dimensionless cost of the optimized HRSG configurations

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (cou.)

2PR (un.)

2PRSH

3PRSH

Tgin [K]

700

773

823

0.16423

0.18430

0.14330

0.15741

0.18115

0.10643

0.15218

0.17232

0.13552

0.10725

0.11094

0.09599

0.10155

0.10184

0.07894

0.09847

0.08680

0.07323

0.07571

0.07593

0.06254

Table 12

Dimensionless total costs for HRSG and steam cycle

RANSH

RAN+1P

RAN+2P

2PR (cou.)

2PR (un.)

2PRSH

3PRSH

Tgin [K]

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

K+Iesp+Exr

700

773

823

0.24370

0.28621

0.26417

0.23390

0.27670

0.22967

0.22997

0.26252

0.24836

0.21006

0.23906

0.24193

0.19251

0.21671

0.21517

0.18466

0.19519

0.19359

0.16416

0.18221

0.18414

the transformation of the exergy available in hot gas in the four dimensionless quantities W, I,

Iesp, Exr, power, exergy losses in the HRSG, exergy losses in the steam expansion and the residual

exergy of the steam, all in homogeneous dimensionless form, respectively. Figure 9(b) provides

a comparison between the total dimensionless cost of the HRSG, K, and the cost of the exergy

losses, I. The graphics of Fig. 9(a) and (b) are relative to three values of the inlet temperature

of the exhaust gas: Tgin=700 K, 773 K and 823 K. From Fig. 9(a) it clearly appears how the

configurations 2PRSH and 3PRSH permit us to reduce in a very sensible way the HRSG exergy

losses I, that are of the same order of magnitude as the exergy losses in the steam turbine Iesp,

especially for the higher value of the inlet gas temperature Tgin. So it appears evident how

important it will be to work also on the increase of the isoentropic efficiency of the steam turbine

at the same time as on the reduction of the HRSG exergy losses to increase the combined cycle

efficiency. Furthermore, from Fig. 9(b) it is possible to understand how, with the considered

structure, the cost of the exergy losses represent a significant amount of the total.

6.3. Application of the thermoeconomic optimization of the HRSG to existing plants

The optimization procedures were run on the 2PRSH and 3PRSH HRSG configurations also

using the same input data that are characteristic of two existing plants that use similar HRSG

configurations. The plants are produced by ABB-Alstom for a 280 MW utility (the KA24-1 ICS

combined cycle power plant based on the GT24 gas turbine) and Siemens for a 380 MW utility

(based on the Siemens V94.3a gas turbine). The input data for the HRSG are the mass flow

characteristic at the exhaust of the two turbines, respectively

410

Fig. 9. Destination of the initial exhaust gas exergy (a) and comparison of exergy losses and dimensionless HRSG

cost (b) for different configurations and inlet gas temperatures Tgin.

411

Table 13

Surfaces relative to the thermoeconomically optimized HRSG configurations (Tgin=823 K)

ECO

EVA

EVA

ECO

EVA

P1

P2

P3

P4

P5

LP

LP

IP

HP

HP

2PRSH

3PRSH

33777.6 m2

29162.3 m2

234.3 m2

10061.4 m2

18062.2 m2 (ECO) 1555.1 m2 (RH)

130160.4 m2 (ECO) 39520.6 m2 (RH)

48702.9 m2 (ECO) 14657.1 m2 (RH)

40999.1 m2

33761.8 m2

20001.2 m2

10215.9 m2

34573.3 m2 (ECO) 2501.7 m2 (RH)

not present in the optimized solution

not present in the optimized solution

100011.3 m2 (ECO) 2761.7 m2 (RH)

52855.9 m2 (ECO) 17252.7 m2 (RH)

Mg=653.1 kg/s, Tgin=853 K, for the V94.3a gas turbine.

The condensation temperature in both cases is 305 K.

The HRSG configurations adopted and optimized here are quite different from those really

existing, above all for the use of the parallel type exchanger sections anywhere it is possible.

Both the thermodynamic and thermoeconomic optimization lead to a meaningful reduction of

the exergy losses, an increase of the value of the HRSG high pressure and to a general reduction

of the pinch-points. It can be supposed that all the other differences that arise from the comparison

(above all, the pressures and the flow rates in the IP and LP sections) are a consequence of the

primary characteristics of accepting the increase of the high pressure to a value close to the critical

one. This possibility deeply influences the properties of the thermal cycles, with respect to the

usually adopted configurations, and shows how the exergy losses in the HRSG become similar

to those relative to the non-isentropic expansion in the steam turbine.

In general, the thermoeconomic optimization seems to promise an increase of the power output

of about 9% for the 2PRSH cycle (the ABB-Alstom plant) and of 11% for the 3PRSH one (the

Siemens plant), with respect to their real applications. Thus the overall efficiencies of the plants

can be brought from 57.6%, declared by the manufacturer, to 59.5% in the former case, and from

57.1%, declared by the manufacturer, to 59.4% in the latter one [15]. Table 14 provides the results

of the two optimizations for the second case (the Siemens plant).

This result shows the possibility of breaking the 60% efficiency barrier, as sought by all the

manufacturers, only by best fitting the existing technology, though with a rise in the HRSG investment.

7. Conclusions

In the paper a thermoeconomic optimization of the operating parameters of the heat recovery

steam generator (HRSG), for combined cycle plants, is performed. The method is an alternative

412

Table 14

Application of the optimization methodology to a commercial plant configuration (case Siemens, Mg=653.1 kg/s,

Tgin=853 K, tlin=305 K)

HP

K

REAL

TMD

TME

p

tsh

[bar] [K]

117

0.03412 217

0.07712 0.05882 216

813

852

835

IP

LP

m

P

tsh

[kg/s] [bar] [K]

m

P

tsh

[kg/s] [bar] [K]

m

LP

[kg/s] [K]

IP

[K]

HP

[K]

65.7

79.8

76.4

22.1

4.0

8.2

8.9

14.3

16.3

4.2

8.5

131

150

14.6 146

15.2 573

17.4 502

28.2 542

3.7

1.2

2.2

PP

615

503

504

Wst

[MW]

HRSG cost calculated after the application of the optimization procedure: 20.3 M$; HRSG cost in real conditions:

10 M$.

to the usual pinch-point one, largely used in practical applications. It represents an attempt to

find a compromise between economic and thermodynamic analysis, based on incorporating

exergy-based production costs with economic evaluations.

The analysis is based on the gas-side effectiveness of the sections of the HRSG instead of the

usual pinch-point method. Simple configurations such as a single pressure evaporator and a more

realistic one (like double and triple pressure HRSGs with reheat sections) have been considered.

The thermodynamic optimization, carried out by means of the minimisation of exergy losses,

taking into account only the irreversibility due to the temperature difference between the hot and

the cold stream, determines solutions with null pinch-point and infinite surfaces and gives indications based on the maximum gas temperature to obtain the critical value of the steam pressure

and temperature.

It is shown how, using water as the fluid for the bottoming cycle, it is not convenient for an

unconditional increase of the inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG, because the

efficiency of the steam bottoming cycle shows an asymptotic trend and it appears reasonable to

assume an upper limit value for the inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG. The trend

of the HRSG optimization leads to the supercritical cycle for the inlet temperature of the gas to

the HRSG, higher than 850 K. The results of the thermodynamic optimization clearly demonstrate

that the use of the steam water HRSG cycle in bottoming applications has drawbacks due to the

constant temperature of isobaric vaporization and to the low critical value of water, equal to 647 K.

The economical considerations change the results obtained with only the minimisation of exergy

losses and, depending on the HRSG operating costs, the pinch-points will assume values different

from the null one, in the range between 0.3 and 9 K depending on the HRSG configuration. By

applying the optimum design strategy pointed out in the paper, it would seem possible to obtain

combined cycle power plants with efficiency very close to 60%.

Summarizing:

The optimization method proposed can be used instead of that based on the aprioristic choice

of the pinch-points, for the design of a HRSG, as their values are the result of an optimization process;

The use of a heat exchanger with more than one parallel water streams, together with the shift

413

of the high pressure level towards the critical condition, is a key element to obtain sensible

increases in the exergetic efficiency;

Thermodynamic analysis provides null pinch-points (i.e. infinite evaporators surfaces), as

expected;

The pinch-points rise when economic analysis is carried out, proving that their choice is the

consequence of a compromise between thermodynamic efficiency and investment costs;

The values of the pinch-points depend on the cost hypothesis done; due to the approach adopted

it is however possible to consider different cost functions, so that the method is completely general;

Beyond certain values of the inlet temperature of the exhaust gas to the HRSG (different among

the cycles), the higher pressure of steam trends upwards close to the critical condition;

With this method it seems possible to reach overall combined cycle efficiencies close to 60%

on existing plants, just by optimizing the heat recovery and the steam cycle operating parameters,

without modifying the gas turbine characteristics or searching for an increase in the steam turbine

isentropic efficiency;

Further developments of gas turbine technology joined with the proposed HRSG optimization

method can well lead to combined plant efficiencies higher than 60%.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Dr Ing. Alessandro Russo for his valid collaboration

during the development of this research work.

References

[1] Horlock JH. Combined power plantspast, present, and future. ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines

and Power 1995;117:60816.

[2] Deschamps PJ. Advanced combined cycle alternatives with the latest gas turbines. ASME Journal of Engineering

for Gas Turbines and Power 1998;120:3507.

[3] Jericha H, Fesharaki M, Seyr A. Multiple Evaporation Steam Bottoming Cycle. ASME Paper 97-GT-287, 1997.

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