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REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

55 East Monroe Street Chicago, IL 60603 USA 312-269-2000

Sean McHone Senior Manager Sargent & Lundy, L.L.C.

Bock Yee Senior Manager Sargent & Lundy, L.L.C.

Steve Warren Senior Manager Sargent & Lundy, L.L.C.

Arvah B. Hopkins Generating Station Unit 2, Tallahassee, FL


Courtesy: City of Tallahassee

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Presented at Power-Gen 2011, December 1315, 2011 512-403.pfd 2011 Sargent & Lundy, L.L.C www.sargentlundy.com

POWER-GEN INTERNATIONAL

REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

1.

TYPES OF REPOWERING

The term repowering has a number of connotations within the power industry. For example, General Electric has defined the term as an addition to, or replacement of existing power plant equipment, retaining serviceable permitted components to improve generation economics, extend life, improve environmental performance, enhance operability and maintainability, and more effectively use an existing site. 1 Repowering existing generating units can be accomplished in a variety of methods. Three primary types of repowering are: Hybrid repowering Solid fuel repowering Combined cycle (CC) repowering

The repowering options as summarized below have attendant advantages and disadvantages in implementation and in the final plant configuration. While the power industry considers each of these repowering methods valid, based on the specific plant application, this paper focuses on the use of CTGs and HRSGs in CC repowering.

1.1

Hybrid Repowering

Less common than other types of repowering, hybrid repowering typically involves a new combustion turbine generator (CTG) in concert with modifications to the existing boiler, to repower the existing steam turbine generator (STG). Hot windbox repowering is one example of the hybrid type, whereby the CTG is exhausted into the existing boilers windbox to achieve greater unit efficiency. Another example of hybrid repowering is Feedwater Heater Repowering (FWHR), which involves exhausting the CTG to a new direct feedwater heater. This method eliminates the existing steam extractions used for feedwater heating, which provides more steam for use in power generation, thus increasing unit output and efficiency.

1.2

Solid Fuel Repowering

Solid fuel repowering is the use of an alternative, or renewable, solid fuel to replace coal or oil. The decision to pursue solid fuel repowering often is driven by the availability of opportunity fuels. This method typically involves replacing all or major portions of the existing boiler based on the use of a different technology. The most likely technology option would be converting the boiler to a fluidized bed combustion (FBC) type boiler. In that case, the new boiler would be designed to match the conditions of the existing STG. Converting or replacing an existing boiler with an FBC boiler could provide increased fuel flexibility, enabling the operator to take advantage of available lower-cost opportunity fuels.

1.3

Combined Cycle Repowering

The more common type of repowering is the use of combined cycle (CC) technology. This method involves installing one or more CTGs and heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) to generate the steam for the steam turbine, replacing the existing boiler. This will require modifications to the existing STG to optimize the cycle for maximum efficiency when matching the new CTG(s) and HRSG(s) with the STG, as well as the condenser for the higher exhaust steam flow.

Performance and Economic Considerations of Repowering Steam Power Plants, GE Industrial & Power Systems, GER-3644D

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REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

2.

MOTIVATIONS FOR REPOWERING

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), at the end of 2010, approximately 51% of all generating capacity in the U.S. was at least 30 years old. Of the U.S. coal capacity, the number rises to 73% at 30 years or older. As more boilers age, the cost to make the needed repairs continues to rise. Beyond the increased cost of repairs, regulatory compliance is also of concern. In many cases, the repairs needed on aging boilers are often of a magnitude that will trigger New Source Review (NSR) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) enforcement. Compliance with NSPS can require installing significant environmental upgrades. These upgrades represent additional capital costs and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs that increase the overall cost of generation without adding capacity. In fact, these upgrades often result in a reduction of net output due to the increased auxiliary power demands of the new environmental equipment. When evaluating the increasing cost to repair and maintain an older boiler, replacing the unit is may be a more viable scenario from an economic standpoint. Alternatively, repowering the unit may prove to be a more cost-effective option.

2.1

Heat Rate on Aging Coal and Oil-Fired Units

As the U.S. coal and oil fleet continues to age, performance will increasingly become more of an issue. The cost to maintain equipment on the older units will continue to rise and performance will continue to degrade. As performance degrades and heat rates rise, total fuel cost rises. The impacts of higher fuel cost will differ depending on whether the operator is a utility or merchant generator. For a small municipal utility that relies on this capacity, the impact will be higher costs to the end-users. In competitive markets, a merchant generator will dispatch these older, less efficient units more infrequently, except in periods of high demand, when higher market prices will offset the higher cost of generating the power.

2.2

Fuel Costs

When operating a power generating unit, fuel remains the greatest single cost factor. Data recently published by the U.S. EIA, shows coal as the most prevalent single fuel type used in terms of actual net electricity generation. 2 While actual petroleumbased generation amounts to roughly 1%, the total number of generators reporting petroleum as the primary fuel in terms of net summer capacity was approximately 5.5%, or more than 55,000 MW in 2009. Slightly more than 40% of that capacity reported the ability to switch to natural gas. This leaves more than 30,000 MW of petroleum based summer capacity. As shown in Figure 1, natural gas costs were higher than petroleum costs prior to 2007. While the respective costs of both fuels peaked at the same time in 2008, the cost of natural gas has remained below that of petroleum.

U.S. EIS Electric Power Annual with data for 2009, April 2011

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Presented at Power-Gen 2011, December 1315, 2011 512-403.pfd 2011 Sargent & Lundy, L.L.C www.sargentlundy.com

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REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

Figure 1. Electric Generation Fossil Fuel Costs


$ / MMBTU 12

Petroleum
10

Natural Gas
4

Coal
2

0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

Because fuel is the largest single O&M cost factor to a generating unit, the ability to reduce fuel cost is a major motivator behind repowering older units. If natural gas prices remain considerably less than that of oil, generating an equivalent amount of electricity per Btu of gas instead of oil will be very advantageous. Figure 2 below illustrates proven natural gas reserves in the U.S. for the 1979 to 2009 time period. As indicated, the large increase in proven reserves comes from onshore in the lower 48 states. The bulk of these reserves is attributable to the large amount of shale gas determined to be recoverable in recent years. If predictions in this regard are accurate, it is conceivable that the spread between oil and gas prices could remain for years to come. In that case, replacing oil capacity will remain a great motivator. In the case of an older natural gas-fired boiler, there may still yet be a motivation to consider repowering. While gas-fired boilers are almost certainly better positioned from an emissions standpoint, there is opportunity for efficiency improvements. It is possible to achieve a better heat rate due to the overall efficiency advantages of combined cycle over traditional steam generation in a boiler. At the same time, the plant owner would be able to achieve an increase in total output capacity as well, due to the conversion.

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POWER-GEN INTERNATIONAL

REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

Figure 2. U.S. Wet Natural Gas Proven Reserves, 1979-2009

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

2.3

Emission Regulations

If it is agreed that fuel cost is the largest O&M cost factor for a generating unit, coal-fired units should hold a significant advantage over other fuel types. As Figure 1 previously showed, the cost of coal continues to be significantly less than that of natural gas and oil. However, the continued uncertainty regarding emission regulations in the U.S. will continue to have significant impact on the capital costs associated with operating the nations aging coal fleet. It is to be expected that environmental restrictions on plant emissions have continued, and will continue to expand. In July 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to replace the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). CSAPR requires 23 states to reduce annual SO2 and NOX emissions and 20 states to reduce their ozone season NOX emissions. While this rule will likely face legal challenges, it represents yet another obstacle to operating many older coal-fired units. Economic feasibility is the key parameter when considering whether to retrofit smaller units that do not already have emissions control systems, such as Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD). The high capital cost involved with such a retrofit may render the continued operation of the unit uneconomical. Below a certain unit capacity, the cost on a dollar per kilowatt basis would be too prohibitive. CSAPR is but one example of a regulation that may lead operators to consider retiring older units. In terms of a fleet of units, operators may determine that repowering some, while retiring others, is an economical means to replace the lost generating capacity.

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REPOWERING COAL-, GAS-, AND OIL-FIRED PLANTS BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES WITH REUSING EXISTING EQUIPMENT

3.

BENEFITS OF REPOWERING

Owners of power plants are increasingly assessing older units in their fleet to determine the strategic merits of retiring and replacing the capacity. The overriding determinant in this regard is whether to build a new unit or repower an existing one. There are many factors to consider in determining if that existing equipment, specifically the STG, is an asset worth reusing. The many benefits from repowering will vary depending on project- and owner-specific circumstances. Among those benefits is potential regulatory advantage. Retiring and replacing an existing boiler with modern CTGs can result in additional generating capacity, while achieving net emission reductions. It is likely that the CTG with standard emission controls, such as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and carbon monoxide (CO) catalyst will not result in a net increase, and almost certainly will achieve a net reduction in most regulated pollutants. Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of wind-generated capacity available in the market. The variability of the new wind capacity has resulted in increasingly more units that were previously designed for baseload operation running in a cyclical mode. These units are being forced to respond to changes in demand at rates for which they were not intended. This can result in higher maintenance costs, more frequent unplanned outages, and reduced equipment life. Repowering a unit through conversion to CC can provide a number of benefits, including: Faster startup Faster ramp rate Larger turndown range Daily cycling capability Higher total power output

4.

REUSE OF EQUIPMENT

One primary benefit of repowering an existing unit is that the equipment already in place offers the potential for reuse. The particular equipment that can be reused in a repowering project will vary from site to site and will be heavily dependant on its condition and on the design specifics of the plant. Major pieces of equipment that may be considered for reuse are: Steam Turbine Generator (STG) Steam Surface Condenser Generator Step-Up Transformer (GSU) Unit and Reserve Auxiliary Transformers (UAT / RAT) Compressed Air Systems Circulating Water Systems Condensate Water Pumps Demineralized Water System

4.1

Steam Turbine Generator

The primary piece of equipment reused in a combined-cycle repowering project, is the STG. Irrespective of whether the rationale for repowering a unit is driven by economics, the need for additional capacity, or the need for emission reductions, the ability to reuse an existing STG represents a large potential cost saving opportunity. Repowering for CC operation is predicated on reuse of an existing steam turbine and based on specific factors. Figure 3 shows a typical repowered steam turbine specifically designed for use in a traditional coal- or oil-fired Rankine steam cycle, with extraction flows used in the regenerative cycle for feedwater preheating. Page 6 of 11
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Figure 3. Rankine Steam Cycle Heat Balance Diagram


Note: Expected Plant Performance, Not Guaranteed. Calculation based 1993 ASME Steam Table

Hot Reheat

ELEP = Expansion Line End Point UEEP = Used Energy End Point Steam Turbine LSB = Exhaust Loss = Annulus Velocity = To SSR

Main Steam

4 Flow LP Section

2 3

GENERATOR GROSS OUTPUT:

7
Evap+Drift Inlet Wet Bulb Temp. = Service Water

6 1
CW Pump

11
BFPTD

Condenser
HG. Abs

Cold Reheat

ELEP= UEEP=

FWH #5

CP

SSR

5 GSC FWH #7 To Boiler 12 FWH #6 12 BFP FWH #4 9 13 13 13 FWH #3 FWH #2 FWH #1 13

Ambient Dry Bulb = Ambient Wet Bulb = Relative Humidity = Site Elevation (AMSL) = Steam Turbine Gross = Aux. Power (Assumed) Net Plant Output Legend: W= P= T= H= Rev. Flow, lb/hr Pressure, Psia Temperature, F Enthalpy, Btu/lb Date Prepared Reviewed Drawing Release Record Approved Purpose Project No.: GateCycle Model/Case

Heat Balance Diagram RANKINE CYCLE Figure MES 10.6-01

In a CC plant, feedwater preheating is accomplished in the HRSG, not through the use of extraction steam. The obvious advantage is recovery of waste heat from the CTG exhaust for feedwater heating, rather than extracting energy from the steam turbine. The additional steam expanding in the STG produces additional power output. However, when the CTG/HRSG size and configuration are selected, if main steam inlet flow is matched with the original steam turbine design, the steam exhaust flow to the condenser will increase because the extraction steam flows have been removed. A situation that commonly occurs as a result is becoming back-end limited. This is when the intermediate-pressure (IP) and low-pressure (LP) steam flows increase because the extraction steam flows previously taken for use in the feedwater heaters and deaerator are now redirected into the turbine mainline steam path. This condition requires that the steam turbine be evaluated to determine if the increase in steam flow exceeds any turbine stage limit or the mass flow limit of the LP turbine. Additionally, it is possible that while the mass flow limit may not be exceeded, the exhaust flow conditions may approach choke flow velocities and need to be evaluated. In the end, achieving optimal performance of the repowered steam turbine may require some modifications to the turbine design; engaging a steam turbine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to evaluate for performance improvements is beneficial. Additionally, if equipped, LP steam generated in the HRSG will need to be routed to a new admission point on the LP steam turbine. The Riverside Repowering Project first considered the reuse of one of the extraction nozzles rather than adding a new connection. However, the steam turbine OEM contracted to evaluate and perform the necessary steam turbine modifications, recommended against this approach, citing concerns over possible random vibration caused by steam entering the flow path in an asymmetrical fashion.

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4.2

STEAM SURFACE CONDENSER

Along with the existing STG, the existing steam surface condenser usually is the next largest piece of equipment considered for reuse. The condenser has been designed for use with the specific steam turbine in its original configuration. For that reason, reusing the condenser can present a similar problem as with the LP steam turbine. The capping of the extractions and the resulting increased steam flow through the LP turbine means that there will be an increase in steam flow exhausted to the condenser. In addition to the increased mass flow of LP exhaust steam to the condenser, is the loss of heat sink capacity in the condenser due to all feedwater heating being performed in the HRSG in the repowered configuration. A typical Rankine Cycle design incorporates LP closed feedwater heaters, some of which may be installed directly in the condenser neck. Once these heaters are removed from service, the increased LP exhaust steam in the condenser now has greater energy to be displaced. In the case of the Hopkins Repowering Project, it was determined that the condenser had sufficient capacity, but still required some modifications including installation of the steam bypass diffuser in the condenser neck and redistribution of the heat source to eliminate areas within the condenser where too much steam was being routed. Another major difference after repowering to a CC configuration typically is the addition of a full-capacity cascading steam bypass for use during startup, shutdown, or in the event of a steam turbine trip. The cascading bypass will require additional or new larger sparger connections on the condenser for the increased flow from the bypass system. On the Riverside Project, the repowered design required replacing the existing spargers with larger ones.

4.3

Generator Step-Up (GSU) Transformer

Included in the construction of any CC unit will be the cost of a separate GSU transformer for each CTG and STG. An added benefit of repowering an existing unit as compared to constructing new capacity is the potential ability to reuse the GSU transformer associated with the repowered STG. Assuming the transformer is in good condition, it can be kept in place in the repowered unit. Even if some reconditioning work is required, the cost of reconditioning is expected to compare favorably over the purchase of a new transformer.

4.4

Unit and Reserve Auxiliary Transformers (UAT / RAT)

In addition to the GSU transformer, there may be an opportunity to reuse the existing UATs and/or RATs. New CTGs typically will have their own new UAT connected between the generator circuit breaker and the GSU to power all auxiliaries associated with the CTG and HRSG. The auxiliaries associated with the STG and other existing plant loads can be powered by reusing the existing UAT and if applicable, the RAT when the STG is off line.

4.5

Compressed Air Systems

Being an existing generating facility, the plant will have an existing compressed air infrastructure. Depending on the condition of the systems, and modifications which may have been made throughout its life, the Service/Station Air and Instrument Air Systems may have sufficient capacity to meet the requirements of the repowered station. It will be necessary for the responsible engineer to review the demands of the new system against the capacity of the existing system. Previous projects have determined that the existing system has sufficient capacity to supply most users in the repowered configuration. However, if many more users have been added and/or if the system has not been properly maintained, it may be necessary to install new compressed air capacity as well. This was the case at the Hopkins repowered unit.

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4.6

Circulating Water System

Though technically difficult, reuse of the Circulating Water System can represent a major opportunity for cost savings. For a plant that employs cooling tower(s), reusing the Circulating Water System can be relatively straightforward. In this scenario, the cooling tower(s) and Circulating Water Pumps need to be evaluated for the necessary capacity based on the repowered configuration. The additional steam flow through the condenser resulting from the capping of the extractions may require that the circulating water flow through the condenser be increased. If so, the pumps may need to be replaced, or potentially retrofitted with new impellers. The cooling tower(s) would then need to be evaluated for any increase in flow, or increase in condenser outlet temperature due to the increased duty. This involves examining the cooling capacity of the tower, as well as the flow capacity of the distribution piping within the tower(s). It may be necessary to engage the services of a cooling tower OEM to evaluate the capacity and suggest modifications to the tower design. In many cases, the existing cooling tower(s) may be sufficient, or require only a slight increase in the fan capacity. A plant considering reuse of a once-through Circulating Water System will likely face additional complications due to Clean Water Act, section 316(b) regulations. This typically means reducing impingement and entrainment by limiting the throughscreen intake velocity to 0.5 fps. In most cases, this is not possible using the existing intake screen technology in service at existing plants. The 0.5 fps limit generally is required for new intake structures. However, in many cases, a repowered existing unit is classified as a new unit and therefore, subject to these requirements. The Riverside Project determined that the use of underwater wedge-wire screens was the most cost-effective compliance strategy for the Circulating Water System. Five wedge-wire screens were installed extending into the Mississippi River and connected via an underwater header manifold pipe. These new screens provided the plant with a significant increase in screen surface area, thereby reducing the through-screen velocity. The header pipe then feeds the existing intake structure. Compressed air and water-washing systems were installed to help keep the new intake screens clear during the different seasons. Figure 4 is a 3-D rendering of the intake screen system used at the Riverside facility. Figure 4. Circulating Water Screens

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4.7
4.7.1

Other Balance of Plant Systems


Condensate Pumps

Another candidate for equipment reuse is the Condensate System. Depending on the new CC arrangement and on the resulting flow and head requirements of the condensate system, it may be possible to reuse the existing Condensate Pumps. An evaluation would be required to determine the flow requirements, and the new physical system configuration would need to be accounted for in the sizing calculations to determine if the existing pumps are adequate for the new duty. Depending on the site layout and on distance between the HRSG(s) and the STG, reusing the Condensate Pumps may require a booster pump. 4.7.2 Closed Cooling Water System

When evaluating the reuse of an existing Closed Cooling Water System, it is important to realize that this system will likely need to remain in service to handle auxiliary cooling loads associated with the STG. It is unlikely that there will be sufficient system capacity to handle the new auxiliary cooling loads associated with the new equipment. However, for smaller installations, this scenario is worth evaluating. In any case, the amount of new auxiliary cooling capacity required to be added will be less than that required for a new stand-alone CC unit. 4.7.3 Demineralized Water System / Makeup Pumps

Depending on the condition and capacity of the existing Demineralized Water System and Makeup Pumps, it may also be possible to reuse the boiler makeup systems. An updated plant water balance would be needed and the needs of all users would need to be re-evaluated to account for the possibility of additional water for inlet air cooling for the combustion turbines. This could place additional demand on demineralized water. However, if the subsystems are in good condition, the Demineralized Water System could represent another area for cost savings.

5.

CONCLUSION

Repowering existing generating units can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Three primary methods of repowering are: Hybrid Repowering Solid Fuel Repowering Combined Cycle(CC) Repowering

The most common and often considered method of repowering today is through CC using one or more CTGs together with HRSGs to generate the steam for the existing STG, replacing the existing boiler. Motivations for repowering an existing coal-, gas-, or oil-fired unit may include: Increased maintenance costs due to boiler age Higher fuel costs due to performance degradation (heat rate) Higher fuel costs due to fuel type (oil-fired) More restrictive emission regulations Opportunity for increased power output at lower capital cost Cycling service

All of these factors can lead owners and operators to seek opportunities to add newer, lower-cost generation capacity to their fleet. Though building completely new CC unit(s) may offer inherent advantages, many owners and operators are evaluating the potential benefits of repowering existing units as a means to reduce the installed cost of capacity and possibly facilitate navigation through the permitting process as well. Page 10 of 11
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Repowering an existing unit can enable an owner or operator to retire an existing emission source, that is to say, a coal-, gas-, or oil-fired boiler, and replace it with a CTG and HRSG, while still utilizing the existing STG. This can result in a net increase in generation capacity and likely achieve a net reduction in most regulated pollutants. At the same time, there are opportunities for reusing major existing equipment, systems, and infrastructure to reduce capital cost, including: Steam Turbine Generator Steam Surface Condenser Compressed Air Systems Circulating Water System Condensate Pumps Demineralized Water / Boiler Makeup Generator Step-Up (GSU) Transformer Unit Auxiliary / Reserve Auxiliary Transformers (UAT / RAT) Closed Cooling Water System

Repowering an existing unit has been proven to be a cost-effective alternative to constructing a completely new CC unit as a way to replace, and even increase, generating capacity. Recent published estimates for a new CC unit range from $900/kW to $1,400/kW,3 depending on size, location, and configuration; the latter being the anticipated cost for a 2x2x1 F-class unit with an air-cooled condenser. The Hopkins Repowering Project is a real-world example of how repowering can provide new capacity at a lower cost. Phase 1 of the Hopkins Project was a 1x1x1 unit with a nominal summer net output of 300 MW completed in 2008. This project was completed for less than $550/kW, as published in POWER Magazine, when it was named one of their Top Plants for 2011.

Combined Cycle Journal, 2011

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