Upcoming Webinar: Power Plant Cost Estimation

Cost Estimation and Economic Analysis for Power Plants

Thursday, January 21st | 10:00 – 11:00 AM EST

The Kendall Cogeneration Station in Cambridge, MA

Registration is open for our first webinar of 2016.

The processes of power plant design, enlargement, and redesign must consider certain factors, such as technological scheme, basic cycle parameters, equipment configuration, and fuel type. These factors have long reached beyond the scope of the technical and physical, and must consider economic criteria. Economic indicators are fundamental when selecting a specific solution. Therefore, even at the initial stages of a project, engineering problems should be considered in parallel with the assessment of economic efficiency. In addition, a power plant is a very complex entity, and introductory capital costs cannot be the only economic criteria considered. The economic indexes over the entire lifecycle of the plant must be accounted for.

The modern world has seen extensive investment in the field of cost estimation. The approximate estimation of cost and economic efficiency of a power plant, however, is a complicated and time-consuming process. It demands a high level of knowledge and information.

In order to simplify this process, and make it available for the engineering community, SoftInWay, a leading turbomachinery solutions provider, developed the new AxCYCLE Module for Economic Analysis. This webinar will demonstrate the module and discuss its extensive capabilities and applications.

We look forward to a great webinar and your challenging questions. Please register ahead of time and if you have any specific questions, let us know during the registration so that we can try to incorporate the answers into our presentation.


Analyzing Thermal Power Generation Efficiency

Figure 1 - Thermal Power Plant Layout
Figure 1 – Thermal Power Plant Layout

Steam turbine power generating plants, also known as Thermal Power stations, are the most conventional type of electricity production today. Most of today’s electricity power is generated though this technology. Naturally, as implied by its name, a thermal power station uses steam power as its prime mover to convert energy in coal, or other fossil fuel, by heating water to steam and utilizing Rankine cycle principles to generate heat and electricity.

The basic theory of thermal power generation is pretty straight forward: in a simple thermodynamic cycle, saturated liquid water is heated to steam. The working fluid will then pass through a steam turbine, where its energy is converted to mechanical work to run the generator and produce the electricity. Then fluid will be condensed to be recycled back in the heater. Just as simple as that, electricity power is generated from the cycle based on Rankine cycle principle.

The utilization of thermal power station comes with the advantage of economical initial and generation cost, easy maintenance and simple cycle operation in practice. That being said, there are also couple major drawbacks associated to the technology, primarily, low overall efficiency –due to the nature of Rankine cycle’s characteristic of thermal efficiency and environmental issues.

There are many scientific reasoning behind thermal power generation’s low efficiency. It is important to know the reasons why to engage in a better technology. These are the primary reasons:

  • During the combustion of carbon, effective conversion more or less is found to be 90%, this happen primarily due to limitation of heat transfer where some heat are lost into the atmosphere. Coal also contains moisture that vaporizes and take the latent heat from combustions.
  • The thermodynamic step, working on Rankine cycle principle, is where 50% (or more) efficiency is consumed. When the steam is condensed for re-use, latent heat of condensation is lost in the cooling water, which decreases the energy input by a very significant magnitude. Losses can also happen in the blades and other components. The Rankine cycle efficiency is determined by the maximum temperature of steam that can be transferred through the turbine, which means the efficiency is also constrained by the temperature associated with the cycle. Two other main factors that affect the thermal efficiency of power plants are the pressure of steam entering the turbine and the pressure in the condenser. That being said, a cycle with supercritical pressure and high temperature usually results to a higher efficiency.
  • During a conversion of mechanical to electrical, some efficiency loss happens in the generator and transformer. A small percentage of energy generated will then be used for internal consumption.

Knowing the causes of low efficiency leads us to the next question: What are the steps to optimize our thermal power plant efficiency?

  • Since thermal efficiency depends on temperature and pressure, it can be improved by using high pressure and temperature steam, though obviously it will be limited based on the boundary conditions of the operating system. A lower pressure can also be set in the condenser.
  • Improvement could also be implemented by the application of reheating steam technology between turbine stages.
  • Waste heat recovery optimization, capture excess heat for reuse, and install insulation to reduce any losses.
  • Upgrading major systems/components of thermodynamic cycles and renewing materials to reduce natural losses in efficiency due to age.
  • Improve efficiency monitoring system to enable instant detection of losses as well as analyzing efficiency based on real data.

These are just some ways that could be utilized to optimize power generation efficiency, indeed each of the steps come with their own specific obstacles of implementation, but there are infinite ways that can be explored to advance the technology.

Learn more about maximizing your power plant productivity through our webinars and explore our tools to help with your efficiency optimization for power generation and component design!


Optimizing Your Power Plant Redesign

Our next webinar will be held on February 26th and cover the best industry practices when it comes to power plant redesign. The constant increase of global energy consumption and rising cost of fuel require higher energy generating capacity with a simultaneous improvement of the efficiency of energy conversion processes. The greatest effect of improving the performance of existing power plants and other energy systems can be obtained by modifying the thermodynamic cycles of these plants.

The Kendall Cogeneration Station in Cambridge, MA

Continue reading “Optimizing Your Power Plant Redesign”

POWER-GEN 2014 – What you’ll see from SoftInWay

Powergen 2014December is already upon us, which mean Power-Gen International is right around the corner. As we finalize preparations, we’d like to share a sneak peek at what we’ll be showing at this year’s conference. SoftInWay has just released a new version of its design, analysis, and optimization software. AxSTREAM V 3.3 consists of enhancements and fully new features to improve the turbomachinery design process. These updates are the result of our client requests and collaborations. Here’s a look at a partial list of the new features:

  • Users can now design radial turbines at the conceptual design phase in rotor + stator + volute configurations.
  • They can calculate the influence of the heating working fluid through the compressors walls and the option to add radial heat exchangers in the flow path.
  • AxSTREAM V 3.3 has a new fluid toolbox allowing the creation of fluid files using NIST-defined pure and mixed fluid, as well as model combustion gases using custom fuels.
  • Users can calculate both the interference diagram for various rotation speeds and the stress in sections while accounting for root, shroud, disk, lashing wires, and even splitter blades.
  • There is a new library of attachments in AxSTRESS to allow shorter design time due to existing root and the opportunity to update blade geometry while maintaining predefined attachments.

Stop by booth #4854 to learn more about these features! SoftInWay CEO, Dr. Leonid Moroz, will also be speaking at the conference on Wednesday, Dec. 10th at 1:30. He will be presenting his latest paper, “A New Concept to Designing a Combined Cycle Cogeneration Power Plant,” written with SoftInWay Director of Engineering, Dr. Boris Frolov, and Mechanical Engineer, Dr. Maksym Burlaka.

Interested in scheduling an appointment with us at Power-Gen? Contact us at info@softinway.com. We’ll see you there!

Designing Supercritical CO2 Power Plants

The supercritical CO2 power cycle is one of the most promising power technologies. It is not by chance though, because carbon dioxide (CO2) has a unique combination of attributes, such as a low critical temperature, an environmentally natural origin, a high standard of safety and a low cost. Carbon dioxide is also thoroughly studied, therefore there is sufficient information surrounding it. But on the other hand, the supercritical CO2 cycle has a high energy conversion factor, such as high thermal efficiency.
Continue reading “Designing Supercritical CO2 Power Plants”

Co-generation Power Plants

The Kendall Cogeneration Station in Cambridge, MA
The Kendall Cogeneration Station in Cambridge, MA

Co-generation power plants are very popular in Europe compared to the U.S. market. It will be interesting to see if this type of application will take off in North America, but I’d like to share a little background information on co-generation first.
Continue reading “Co-generation Power Plants”

Retrofitting – When Steam Turbines Age


Statistics show that as a power plant reaches its rated lifetime, the number of its forced outages begins to grow substantially, and its reliability and availability fall.

Simultaneously, in the operation process the turbine’s efficiency lowers more and more, even though it is partially restored at overhauls.

It is possible to find steam turbines that have successfully operated for 40 – 50 years or more. Lately, power equipment lifetime extension has substantially gained in its scope and acquired much more serious significance. Continue reading “Retrofitting – When Steam Turbines Age”