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Text | Advanced Systems Steam Power Plant | 002
petroleum for industrial feedstocks and other more critical future needs. On the other hand, serious problems exist with respect to utilization of these resources. Nuclear power, an important alternative, replete with problems, is considered in the next chapter. Much of the readily available coal has unacceptably high sulfur, which significantly degrades the environment when released from power plant stacks in untreated combustion products. The well-known problem of acid rain has been attributed to emissions from coal-burning power plants. Thus the search for technology to utilize medium- and high-sulfur coal and to reduce levels of pollutant emissions of all types is an important area for research and development.
In this chapter advanced technologies that may contribute solutions to these and other crucial problems are considered. Some recent U.S. Department of Energy efforts in these areas may be found in Reference 66.
9.2 Combined-Cycle Power
One of the unfavorable characteristics of the gas turbine is that the exhaust gas issuing from the turbine is at high temperature, thereby wasting much energy and creating a local hazard. One solution to this problem was considered in Chapter 5: the addition of an exhaust gas heat exchanger to preheat the combustion air. The resulting regenerative cycle was found to be much more efficient than the corresponding simple cycle and to produce a lower exhaust gas temperature.
An alternative approach to dealing with the high gas turbine exhaust temperature is to provide a separate bottoming cycle to convert some of the energy of the turbine exhaust into additional power. Let’s consider the use of a Rankine cycle that uses gas turbine exhaust as its energy source. It is clear that, if the Rankine cycle does not interfere with the operation of the gas turbine, the combined cycle will produce additional power and will have a higher efficiency than the gas turbine alone. Even if more heat is required for the Rankine bottoming cycle to produce additional work, the overall combined efficiency will increase if the additional work is large enough and supplemental heat small enough.
A combined gas turbine–Rankine cycle can be implemented in several ways. One method makes use of the fact that the exhaust of gas turbines usually has a high residual oxygen content because of the high air-fuel ratio required to limit the turbine inlet temperature when burning conventional fossil fuels. This hot, oxygen-rich exhaust gas can be used instead of air as the oxidizer in a steam generator as shown in Figure 9.1. For a moderate expenditure of additional natural gas in the furnace the resulting combustion products can provide heat for a high- temperature steam cycle with conventional steam plant technology.
The Horseshoe Lake combined-cycle plant was designed in this way to yield additional power and high efficiency when operating in the combined mode, and to operate with the gas turbine alone or with the steam turbine alone by direct-firing
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