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Efficiency Entitlement for Bottoming Cycles

[+] Author Affiliations
Douglas C. Hofer, S. Can Gulen

GE Energy, Schenectady, NY

Paper No. GT2006-91213, pp. 441-448; 8 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2006: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 4: Cycle Innovations; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration; Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy
  • Barcelona, Spain, May 8–11, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4239-8
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


A significant portion of the new electrical generating capacity installed in the past decade has employed heavy-duty gas turbines operating in a combined cycle configuration with a steam turbine bottoming cycle. In these power plants approximately 1/3 of the power is generated by the bottoming cycle. To ensure that the highest possible combined cycle efficiency is realized it is important to optimize the bottoming cycle efficiency and doing so requires a solid understanding of the efficiency entitlement. This paper describes a new technique for calculating the theoretical efficiency entitlement for a bottoming cycle that corresponds to the maximum possible bottoming cycle work and maximized combined cycle work and efficiency. This new method accounts for the decrease in ideal efficiency as the gas turbine exhaust is cooled as it transfers heat energy to the working fluid in the bottoming cycle. The new definition is compared to conventional definitions, including that of Carnot and an Exergy based second law efficiency, and shown to provide a simple and accurate analytical expression for the entitlement efficiency in a bottoming cycle. For representative cycle conditions, the entitlement efficiency for the bottoming cycle is calculated to be ∼45% compared to the Carnot efficiency for the same conditions of ∼67%. Although the new method is applicable to any power cycle obtaining its heat input from the exhaust stream of a topping cycle, special attention is given to the steam bottoming cycle traditionally used in modern gas turbine combined cycle power plants. Comparisons are made between the ideal bottoming cycle and variants of a steam cycle including a single pressure non-reheat and a three pressure reheat cycle. These comparisons explore the unavoidable loss in efficiency associated with constant temperature heat addition that occurs in the steam cycle.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Cycles



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