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The regenerative feedwater heating or regeneration is one of the most commonly used

methods to increase the thermal efficiency of steam power plants.

This chapter deals with working principles and analysis of regenerative feedwater heating

systems.

Some examples on open and closed feedwater heaters and their possible arrangements

are presented.

Feedwater Tank

P1.1 Acknowledgements

Author: Birute Bunkute, KTH, 2004, Reviewed and modified by Catharina Erlich, 2006

Reviewer: Marianne Salomon, KTH, 2004

Editor: Vitali Fedulov, KTH, 2005

Michael J. Moran, Howard N. Shapiro; 1993

Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics

Toronto: John Willey & Sons, Inc. 1993, ISBN 0-471-59275-7

T.D. Eastop, A. McConkey; 1986

Applied Thermodynamics for Engineering Technologists

New York: John Willey & Sons, Inc. 1986, ISBN 0-582-30535-7

Weston, K, 1992 "Energy Conversion – The EBook",

http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~kenneth-weston/

P1.3 Prerequisites

It is expected that the reader has knowledge about:

1

Basic steam cycle

Basic thermodynamics (at least 160 LU = 4 weeks of fulltime studies),

At least one year of studies in an engineering career at university level.

P1.4 LU and TU

Learning Units: 6

Teaching Units: 2

Feedwater tank at heat and power laboratory, Energy Department, KTH, Stockholm Sweden

(year 2004)

After this chapter the student should:

Know differences between open and closed feedwater heaters,

Sketch a flow diagram of a regenerative steam cycle

Be able to perform thermodynamic analysis of a steam cycle with several feedwater

heaters.

The commonly used method for increasing the thermal efficiency of a steam power plant is

regenerative feedwater heating or regeneration.

Regeneration is a procedure of heating the feedwater before it enters the boiler in order to

decrease the temperature difference in the boiler.

2

Regenerative feedwater heating can be preformed in two ways:

– Feedwater passes through coils around the turbine (theoretical method),

– Extraction of steam into one or several heaters (practical method).

Boiler Turbine

Condenser

The thermal efficiency of a power plant is the ratio between useful work obtained and

energy rate of the fuel input.

The heat supply in the boiler of a steam cycle is a non-isothermal process; the temperature

of the working fluid in the boiler increases during the heat supply.

T 1

5

6

4

2

3

2-3: Condensation in the condenser

3-4: Pumping of feedwater to boiler pressure

4-5-6-1: Heat supply in boiler which generates steam

3

P3.3 Around the turbine

The condensed liquid passes through coils around the turbine and receives heat from

the fluid expanding in the turbine.

This is not done in a practical cycle

Extraction of steam into heaters is the practical approach of regeneration.

There are two types of feedwater heaters:

- Closed feedwater heaters, in which the streams (feedwater and extracted steam) do not

mix

- Open feedwater heaters, in which the streams (feedwater and extracted steam) mix

G

2

Boiler Turbine

7

3

6 5

4

Pump

Open Pump

Feedwater Condenser

heater

Single extraction regenerative cycle flow diagram with an open heater

The heat (kJ/kg steam) to be supplied in the boiler is given by (h1 – h7); heating the working

fluid from temperature T7 up to temperature T1

4

1-2-3: expansion process in the turbine,

T

3-4: condensation process in the 1

condenser,

open-heater pressure, 7 T

2

5-6: heating of feedwater in the heater by 6

mixing with steam from turbine (open a

5 T

feedwater heater) 3

2-6: Cooling and condensing of extracted

steam

4

achieve boiler pressure,

s

7-1: heating in the boiler.

Single extraction regenerative cycle flow

diagram. The temperature differences, ∆T:s, are

a-1: heating required in the boiler if no

not necessarily equal

feedwater preheating is employed

The maximum thermal efficiency of all reversible power cycles operating between two

temperatures Thigh and Tlow is the Carnot efficiency.

T 1

Tlow

ηCarnot = 1 −

Tin1 (Thigh) Thigh

Tin2 (Thigh) where Thigh is the mean temperature of

4 the heat supply in the boiler,

Tlow is the temperature at the steam side in

the condenser.

3 2

Tlow

The regenerative steam cycle has higher

thermal efficiency than the basic steam

cycle.

s

5

P4.1 Mean temperature

The temperature of the working fluid increases during the heat supply, which means that it

is a non-isothermal process.

For cycle efficiency analysis, the mean temperature of heat addition is considered. This

reflects what the temperature would be if the same amount of heat would be added all at

one temperature.

The mean temperature of heat addition is:

Qin

Tin =

∆s

where

Qin is heat transfer from energy source into the working fluid passing through the boiler,

∆s is entropy increase of the working fluid during heating in the boiler.

The temperature-entropy diagram shows the mean temperature of heat supply for a simple

steam cycle (Tin2) and a regenerative steam cycle (Tin1).

T

1

Qin1 (Qin2)

Tin1

Tin2

4

3 2

s1 s

s2

T-s diagram for a steam cycle with three closed feedwater heaters

2-3: condensation process in the condenser,

3-4: feedwater preheating in closed heaters,

4-1: heat addition in boiler.

- the amount of heat transferred from extracted steam (from turbine) to the feedwater.

∆s1 = s1 - s4: entropy increase of the working fluid during heating in the boiler with feedwater

preheating

6

∆s2 = s1 - s3: entropy increase of the working fluid during heating in the boiler without

feedwater preheating

Qin1 = heat supply to the steam cycle with feedwater preheating (heating needed from

temperature T4 to T1)

Qin2 = heat supply to the steam cycle without feedwater preheating (heating needed from

temperature T3 to T1)

According to Carnot, the higher is the temperature of heat supply, the higher is the thermal

efficiency of the cycle.

The mean temperature of heat addition with preheating , Tin1 is higher than mean

temperature of heat addition without preheating Tin 2 , thus the thermal efficiency for the

steam cycle becomes higher with feedwater preheating.

The regenerative feedwater heating has a larger impact on the thermal efficiency than the

power lost in the turbine caused by steam extraction.

An open feedwater heater is a direct contact-type heat exchanger in which the streams at

different temperatures mix to form a stream at an intermediate temperature.

G

2

Boiler Turbine

7

3

6 5

4

Pump

Open Pump

Feedwater Condenser

heater

T-s diagram

Thermodynamic analysis

The special type of the open feedwater heater is the feedwater tank.

7

P5.1 Direct contact-type heat exchanger

The principle scheme of open feedwater heaters is given below:

Ts(p)

Tw2 = Ts(p)

Tw1

The advantage of using open feedwater heaters is that the feedwater is heated to the

saturation temperature of the extraction steam; the temperature efficiency is therefore

100%.

Pumps are needed in between the heaters, as the heaters are working at different pressure

levels. The need of pumping power is a disadvantage (from cost perspective) when using

only open feedwater heaters in a steam cycle.

T

1

7

2

a 6

5 3

4

3-4 : condensation process in the condenser,

4-5: pumping of feedwater to achieve feedwater heater pressure,

5-6: heating feedwater in the heater by mixing with steam extracted from the turbine.

(2-6: cooling and condensation of steam extracted from turbine)

6-7: pumping to achieve pressure in the boiler,

7-1: heating needed in the boiler with feedwater preheating.

a-1: heating in the boiler without feedwater preheating

8

P5.3 The thermodynamic analysis

An important initial step is the evaluation of the mass and energy flow rates through each

of the components.

1

G

2

Boiler Turbine

7

3

6 5

4

Pump

Open Pump

Feedwater Condenser

heater

mextr, h2

m, h6 m-mextr, h5

Pp 2 = (m& − m& extr ) ⋅ (h5 − h4 ) ≈ 0 as h5 ≈ h4 (liquids are incompressible)

Pp ,tot = P1 + P2 ≈ 0

9

m-mextr

m, h7

h5 m-mextr

m, h6

h4

Pump 1 Pump 2

m, h7 m, h1

The feedwater tank has three purposes:

– Water container. This is to be able to operate the cycle at part load, i.e. to

decrease massflow through the cycle.

– Open-type feedwater heater,

– Deaerator (for releasing gases out). Dissolved gases in the working fluid may

cause erosion in cycle components; thus there is a need for venting the gases.

Gas out

Feedwater inlet

turbine

2 - 10 bar

Feedwater

to boiler

Feedwater Tank

Closed heaters are shell-and-tube-type recuperators in which the feedwater temperature

increases (5-6) when the extracted steam first cools and thereafter condenses (2-7) on the

outside of the tubes.

10

The condensate of extracted steam is commonly lead through a pressure trap (7-8) to the

next lower pressure heater or to the condenser where it is added to the main stream.

T-s diagram

2-7: cooling and condensation of steam in the heater. Observe that the steam extracted from

the turbine most often is at superheated state, thus cooling takes place before condensation.

Thermodynamic analysis

There are several arrangements of closed feedwater heaters.

The closed type of feedwater heater is shown below. This is tube-type heat exchanger.

Steam from

turbine

Feedwater

outlet

Feedwater

inlet

Deaeration

Support plate Drainage

11

P6.2 T- s diagram

T

1

6 7 2

5

3

4 8

3-4: condensation process in the condenser,

4-5: pumping of feedwater to boiler pressure

5-6: feedwater heating in the closed-type heater,

(2-7: cooling and thereafter condensation of extracted steam)

6-1: heat addition in the boiler when a closed feedwater heater is utilised,

7-8: pressure decrease of the condensate along the constant enthalpy line (isenthalpic

process) in a trap. The enthalpy change is thus zero; i.e. h8 = h7.

Steam cycle analysis is based on analysis of separate cycle components. To calculate the

power output of the cycle, it is needed to know the steam extraction massflow.

Heat balance for one closed heater (energy is conserved)

12

The turbine power output for one extraction point:

Pp = m& ⋅ ( h5 − h4 ) ≈ 0

m, h5

m, h4

Work required for pump can be neglected, because a liquid is incompressible (negligible

temperature increase when pressure is increased) i.e.:

h5 ≈ h4

The heat supply in the boiler:

m, h6 m, h1

13

P6.4 Arrangements

Arrangement 1:

The most common arrangement of closed-type heaters is where the condensate is led

to the next lower pressure heater as indicated in the figure below.

Condensate from the preheater with the lowest pressure (i.e. the last preheater) is led to

the condenser.

The condensate from the higher pressure preheater passes a trap to reduce the

pressure before entering the lower pressure preheater.

The condensate from the higher pressure preheater will partly change phase after the

pressure trap, as indicated earlier in the T-s diagram.

However, the throttling is isenthalpic, i.e. takes place at constant enthalpy. Therefore

the enthalpy of condensate exiting the high pressure preheater is the same as when

entering the lower pressure preheater.

This condensate will contribute to the feedwater to be heated in the lower pressure

preheater.

In an arrangement with only closed feedwater heaters, there is simplified only need for

one pump after the condenser, as the feedwater does not mix with the steam extracted.

Practically, the pumping can be divided into two steps:

• First pump after the condenser (before the first heater) to raise the pressure of

feedwater to such a level so that steaming of feedwater into the heaters is

avoided.

(Example: Feedwater with 2.0 bar pressure enters a closed preheater in which

the temperature of the extracted steam is 130ºC. As water at 2.0 bar boils at

120ºC, there is an overwhelming risk that part of the feedwater will start to

boil. The feedwater pressure thus needs to be higher than 2.7 bar, which is

the saturation pressure of 130ºC)

• Second pump after the last preheater to increase the pressure up to the boiler

pressure

T

P Ts(p)

Tw2 Tw1

Tw1 Tw2<Ts(p)

14

Arrangement 2:

The closed-heater is physically divided into a separate steam cooler and a condensing

part.

This can be done as the steam from the turbine extraction most often is superheated at the

given pressure and thus needs cooling before it can condense.

The feedwater is first entering the condensing heater and afterwards it is heated in the

steam cooling part.

Td

II

T Td

Tw2

Tw1

Ts(p)

Tw2<Ts(p)

Tw1

I

I II

Arrangement 3:

The feedwater first enters a heater where the condensate from the closed feedwater heater

is sub-cooled, thus leaving heat to the feedwater. Thereafter the feedwater is further

heated in the closed heater.

T

p

I Ts(p)

Tw2 Tw1

Tw2<Ts(p)

Tw1

Ts(p) L

The thermal efficiency of the regenerative cycle can be increased by incorporating several

feedwater heaters at suitably chosen pressures.

15

The choice of the number of heaters is based on a balance between efficiency increase

and investment cost.

Power plants with multiple heaters have at least one open-type heater.

Analysis of the regenerative steam cycle with multiple heaters

Increasing the number of heaters, the capital cost also increases of power plant (heater,

piping, pumps, etc.).

For each heater added the efficiency of the power plant is increased, but there is a larger

gain in increasing the number of heaters from one to two, than from five to six.

A large number of heaters may be employed if the running costs of the plant are that high

(for example an expensive fuel to the boiler), so that each tenth of a percent in efficiency

increase give significance to the overall economy.

Computer codes are employed to simulate the thermodynamic and economic performance

of different designs to help deciding:

– The number of heaters to use,

– Which types of heaters to be employed,

– And at which pressures the heaters should operate.

Up to seven feedwater heaters are common in modern steam power plants.

Power plants with multiple feedwater heaters normally have at least one open feedwater

heater (often the deaerator) operating at a pressure greater than atmospheric pressure in

order to ventilate oxygen and other dissolved gases from the cycle.

The feedwater tank also serves as water storage, making possible to increase or decrease

the massflow through the cycle, so that the cycle can run on part load (and thus less fuel is

fed into the boiler)

16

P7.3 Analysis

To clarify the quantities of matter flowing through the various plant components, heat

balances are employed.

(m-m1)

4

3

(m) T

1

1

2 5 G

5 4

2

11

11

3

6 (m-m1-m2) 10 5

(m1)

9 13

(m) (m2) 8

10 7

7 6

9 8

12

(m1) 13

s

The steam extraction flows are determined from mass and energy balances for control

volumes around each of the feedwater heaters, starting with the highest pressure heater

where h13 = h12 ;h8 ≈ h7 and the flow exiting at 9 normally is at saturated liquid state

17

m2, h5

m, h9 m-m1-m2, h8

m1, h13

First stage:

Second stage:

The pump work can be neglected, because the enthalpy change in the pump is almost

equal to zero.

The total heat added into this exemplifying cycle is the sum of energy added by heat

transfer during boiling/superheating and reheating:

18

m-m1, h4

m-m1, h3

m, h1

m, h11

S.8 Summary

The thermal efficiency of the steam power cycle can be increased using regenerative

heating of feedwater before the boiler, as heat in the boiler thus will be supplied at a higher

average temperature (Carnot's efficiency expression).

Feedwater heating can be performed in the direct contact-type exchangers, which are

called open heaters.

The shell-and-tube-type recuperators, so called closed heaters can be also applied for

feedwater heating.

In most steam power plants, arrangements with several heaters and with at least one open-

type heater (feedwater tank) are employed.

The maximum thermal efficiency for reversible power cycles is:

Ideal Rankine efficiency

Carnot efficiency

Rankine efficiency

Regeneration is:

Heating some fraction of steam in the boiler

Feedwater heating with steam extracted from boiler

Feedwater heating before boiler with extracted steam from turbine

Feedwater heating before heat exchanger with extracted steam from boiler

Regenerator

Recuperator

Direct contact-type heat exchanger

Shell-and-tube type heat exchanger

19

Closed feedwater heater is

Shell-and-tube type heat exchanger

Feedwater tank

Direct contact-type heat exchanger

Regenerator

Water container

Condense steam from turbine

Deaerator (Gases out)

Open-type feedwater heater

Closed-type feedwater heater

Steam cycle usually has at least one open feedwater heater because

It is economically more feasible

It is technically more feasible

It removes air from cycle

It increases cycle efficiency

20