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Introduction to Turbine Governing Systems

By J.Bhaumik

Why Governing is required?

The characteristics of an ungoverned turbine is unsuitable for electric power generation. The figure shows the characteristics of an ungoverned and a speed governed turbine. The turbine output is controlled by varying the steam flow by means of throttling valves of the turbine .The valves are controlled by the governor. Governing system is required to ensure that the system demand is followed automatically without large deviation in the nominal electric frequency

Functions of Governing System

To control the initial run up and synchronization of the machine To control the turbine load when running in parallel with other generating sets. To contain the speed rise within acceptable limits in case of the unit getting disconnected from the load To provide protective gears to ensure the safe operation of the turbine Thus the individual TG governing system imply a need to withstand a full load rejection safely provide appropriate contributions to system frequency control.

Governor characteristics
The main characteristics of a governing system is therefore the relationship between the generated load of the machine and its speed which is the prime governor input. This is known as the speed-loop droop or frequency regulation characteristics of the governor. Considering NR: Rated speed, NPR : Speed at full load NO: Speed at No load The steady state overall frequency regulation is defined as

0 R




This regulation permits a machine to share load with other machines in a stable manner. Generally the droop of a turbine used for electric power generation varies between 47%. Typical governor frequency regulation characteristics is shown here as



Closed loop control of turbine electrical load by use of proportional and integral load controllers is added to the basic governing system to facilitate the provision of variable droop settings. The frequency range over which the load loop is operative is limited so that even when the load loop droop is set to high or infinite values the unit response any large frequency errors in a manner matched to the characteristics of the normal droop of the basic speed governor.

Governing Of Large Reheat Machines

On reheat machines it is necessary to control not only the hp valves but also the interceptor (IP) valves because on a full load rejection the stored steam in the reheater and the associated pipe lines could be sufficient to overspeed the machine to destruction. The characterstics of the IP valves are such that they usually remain fully open over the normal low range of the machine and the governing action is achieved by throttling of the HP valves. This operating regime is known as HP governing & is achieved by giving a fixed bias to the IP valves. However, the reheater control valves comes into action during certain abnormal conditions like fast load rejection or low load conditions with excessively high reheater pressure, with the help of over riding controls provided by features like load sheding relay, IP trimming device etc.

Types of Governors
There are three types of speed Governors Mechanical Hydraulic Electrical Combination of Hydraulic & Electrical With the increasing amount of automatic control equipment employed in a power plant greater demands are being made on turbine governing system with regard to their response sensitivity & speed of operation. An electro hydraulic governing system as thus been developed which needs these stringent requirements.

Mechanical Governor
It is a force balanced system, the centrifugal force of the rotating weight is balanced by the elastic force of a spring and the radial position taken by the weight is dependent on the speed of the rotation

Hydraulic Governor
A hydraulic Governor for a turbine consists of a centrifugal pump driven from the main shaft which supplies oil to a cylinder containing a spring loaded piston or bellows. The pressure is proportional to the square of the speed, so the position of the piston or bellows is a function of speed.

Electrical governor
Common design incorporates a permanent type shaft driven permanent magnet generator producing an a.c. wave having frequency of shaft speed. This wave is fed into an electric filter that resonates at a frequency corresponding to rated speed and the output is rectified to produce a d.c signal proportional to difference between rated and actual speed. This signal is amplified to form required speed correction signal. Another design utilizes digital signals from a shaft driven square wave generator, the output is compared with a reference square wave signal generated by an oscillator. The output of the comparator is rectified and amplified to form required control signal.

ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRICAL GOVERNING SYSTEM 1. 2. House load operation is possible within acceptable range of frequency. Provision of load controller - Proportional + Integral control action as against pure proportional action of Mechanical/Hydraulic governors. Provision of taking aspects of thermal stresses of different parts of the turbine during startup, shutdown and normal load operation. This is valuable for enhancing life of the Turbine. Accurate control of the desired acceleration of the machine during rolling. Accurate control of the load gradient while loading the machine.



Parallel Systems
Modern day turbines are equipped with two parallel governing systems a) Hydraulic (b) Electro Hydraulic Both independent of each other. Although only one of them comes into control action at any given point of time, the other governor acts as a backup and its output is in the ready- to- takeover mode(tracking mode).

Basic Elements Of A Governing System

The output of the speed governor requires amplification of both force and displacement to provide sufficient power to actuate the steam valves. It is the function of the governor relays (or servos) to perform this duty. More than one relay is usually employed due to the relative positions of the governor and steam valves and to provide the required force amplification The hydraulic amplifier is best suited as force amplifier for steam valve actuation. No other form of electrical or mechanical amplifier can develop the very high powers demanded by the essential high speed motions of the modern steam turbine valves. Even where electrical speed governor is adapted the electrical signal is converted to mechanical displacement to enable the final force amplification to be performed hydraulically.


Speeder Gear
Speed Governors are fitted with stops which limit the speed range above and below which they operate. The normal operating range is 6% of the nominal speed. Within this range the speed may be controlled by an operator making an adjustment to the relationship between the radius of the governor weights and the position of the governor weights. The adjusting gear known as speeder gear acts in parallel with the speed governor. After an initial run up the speeder gear is used to bring the machine to rated speed before synchronization. After the machine is synchronized the speeder gear controls its power output. In electrical governing system function of speeder gear is achieved by means of a motor driven potentiometer. As the speeder gear setting is represented by a voltage that is added to the electrical speed governor signal.

Speeder Gear

Acceleration feedback
With a disconnection from the power system, the response of a governor without acceleration feedback would be controlled by the speed error term as modified by the droop law. If the speed droop is set to 4%, the valves would have fully closed by the time the speed was 4% above normal. A typical value of the initial acceleration rate is 12% per second, so it would be at least 0.33 seconds before the valves had been signalled to the fully closed state. In addition, inherent delays in the hydraulic system mean that the valves do not achive the signalled closure response. Taking a linear acceleration rate of 12% per second, the time to reach an overspeed of 10% would be 10/12 = 0.833 seconds. Because of the expansion of steem entrained between the steam valves and the turbine, the turbine will continue to accelerate after the steam valves are closed. To contain the overspeed within the trip setting of 10%, it is generally necessary to incorporate an acceleration term. With acceleration detection valves can be instructed to closed within 30 Ms of the load rejection and should be fully closed 100 Ms later.

Anticipatory Gear
The response of the governing gear should be sufficiently rapid in action, to prevent the transient over speed in the event of full load rejection so that it does not reach the setting of the over speed trip gear. This is achieved through the provision of anticipatory gear or the secondary governor in the circuit which acts by sensing the loss of electrical load either directly from the generator terminals or from the resultant acceleration of the turbine shaft.

Turbine Protective Devices

(A) Hydraulically Operated Devices Over Speeding Vaccum Failure. Thurst Bearing Failure. (B) Protection Through Electrical Circuit Lubricating Oil Failure Generators Motoring Abnormal Generator Parameters. (C) Through Operators Intervention Excessive Vibration Excessive Temperature Diffrentials. Abnormal Expansions. Abnormal Eccentricity. (D) Automatic Unloading Gears Low Vaccum Unloading Gear. Low Steam Pressure Unloading Gear. For (A), (B) & (C), tripping of the turbine is effected by automatic actuation of hydraulic or remote electrical tripping devices. (D) is achieved by features available with the hydraulic circuit with governing system.

On-Load Testing Of Valves & Protective Devices

To ensure that governing & emergency valve spindles remain free during long period on load provision is made to close & open the valves when the machine is on load . Similarly, on-load testing fascilities of various protective devices like Over Speed, Trust Bearing, Low Vaccum & Trip Solenoids are the features of present day governing systems. Various methods of on-load operation of valves are adopted depending upon the design of the particular governing system. In one particular design which is currently popular in India (KWU design) these functions achieved through the programme called Automatic Turbine Tester (ATT).

Free Governing Action

In advanced countries free Governing Action of the turbogenerators is used to take care of the fluctuations in the grid demand (load). This indicates a situation where the loading and unloading of the machine takes place in tune with the changes in the grid frequency. In United kingdom, normal operational tolerance is 0.4 % i.e 50.2 Hz. To 49.8 Hz. However in the Indian Context, due to large variation in the grid frequencies ( normal operating range 48.0 Hz. To 51.5 Hz) free governing mode operations will have many disadvantages. A frequency variation of 2 to 3 Hz in daily basis would mean frequent load change by large quantum i.e from 100% to 40% load or lesser.


0.07 Hz Variation in 2 Hz variation in 10 Minutes is observed. 5 Minutes. The operational The above limits limits (50Hz+0.4%) have crossed manyare to be exceeded fold times , even to no more than 1500 the extent of 15,000 times each year times a year. (equally split between high and low deviations).

Free Governing Action ..cont

Such large variation of output will require a matching change in boiler output. This will lead to large and quick changes in boiler fuel firing rate (oil support, if needed, for low load operation), air flow, attemperation quantity etc. But the boiler response is not as fast as that of the changes in the electrical load of the generator. This gives rise to fluctuations in the drum level, furnace instability and temperature excursion. So, sustained operation under this regime would lead to frequent equipment failures and less reliability of the system. Hence , free governing should be used only for trimming purpose after the frequency has been brought down to a band range of 0.25 Hz, for which the boiler response time would not come into the picture to a great extent.

Availability of large regulating/ contingency reserves in the grid

Pumped storage plants,fast acting hydel plants are available at the command of load despatchers

Coarse frequency variation as shown above is brought in the fine variation range of 0.07 Hz , then the frequency control is done by free governor mode by fossil fired power stations. In UK, Coarse frequency control is provided by committing pumped storage plant (on reserve duty) to and from the generation mode, as required , plus dispatch instructions to other plant.

In the U.K. power system , it is usual for the peak demand to be met by first pumped storage devices , then by gas turbines and only after that merit order ranked coal fired power plant.