Gas Turbines are one of the most efficient equipment for converting fuel energy to mechanical energy. How does a Gas Turbine work? What are the auxiliary systems for the Gas Turbine? This article explains in simple terms the working of the Auxiliary Systems in the Gas Turbine Power Plant.
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The three main sections of a Gas Turbine are the Compressor, Combustor and Turbine. The gas turbine power plant has to work continuously for long period of time without output and performance decline. Apart from the main sections there are other important Auxiliaries systems which are required for operating a Gas Turbine Power Plant on a long term basis.
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Air Intake System
Air Intake System provides clean air into the compressor. During continuous operation the impurities and dust in the air deposits on the compressor blades. This reduces the efficiency and output of the plant . The Air Filter in the Air Intake system prevents this.
A blade cleaning system comprising of a high pressure pump provides on line cleaning facility for the compressor blades.
The flow of the large amount of air into the compressor creates high noise levels. A Silencer in the intake duct reduces the noise to acceptable levels.
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Exhaust system discharges the hot gases to a level which is safe for the people and the environment. The exhaust gas that leaves the turbine is around 550 °C. This includes an outlet stack high enough for the safe discharge of the gases.
Silencer in the outlet stack reduces the noise to acceptable levels.
In Combined Cycle power plants the exhaust system has a ‘diverter damper’ to change the flow of gases to the Heat Recovery Boilers instead of the outlet stack.
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Starting system provides the initial momentum for the Gas Turbine to reach the operating speed. This is similar to the starter motor of your car. The gas turbine in a power plant runs at 3000 RPM (for the 50 Hz grid - 3600 RPM for the 60 Hz grid). During starting the speed has to reach at least 60 % for the turbine to work on its on inertia. The simple method is to have a starter motor with a torque converter to bring the heavy mass of the turbine to the required speed. For large turbines this means a big capacity motor. The latest trend is to use the generator itself as the starter motor with suitable electrics. In situations where there is no other start up power available, like a ship or an off-shore platform or a remote location, a small diesel or gas engine is used.
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The Fuel system prepares a clean fuel for burning in the combustor. Gas Turbines normally burn Natural gas but can also fire diesel or distillate fuels. Many Gas Turbines have dual firing capabilities.
A burner system and ignition system with the necessary safety interlocks are the most important items. A control valve regulates the amount of fuel burned . A filter prevents entry of any particles that may clog the burners. Natural gas directly from the wells is scrubbed and cleaned prior to admission into the turbine. External heaters heat the gas for better combustion.
For liquid fuels high pressure pumps pump fuel to the pressure required for fine atomisation of the fuel for burning.
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These are the main Aiuxiliary systems in a Gas Turbine Power Plant. Many other systems and subsystems also form part of the complex system required for the operation of the Gas Turbine Power Plant.
Gas Turbines have in the recent times become one of the most efficient and reliable energy conversion devices. Used in Combined Cycle Power plants they give the highest efficiency for converting Fossil energy to electric power. Used in Simple cycle mode they have the shortest gestation time and the