Plant efficiency

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The efficiency of a plant is the percentage of the total energy content of a power plant's fuel that is converted into electricity. The remaining energy is usually lost to the environment as heat unless it is used for district heating.

This is complicated by the fact that there are two different ways to measure the fuel energy input—LCV = Lower Calorific Value, which is the same as NCV = Net Calorific Value, or, HCV = Higher Calorific Value which is the same as GCV, Gross Calorific Value.

Depending on which convention is used, a differences of 10% in the apparent efficiency of a gas fired plant can arise, so it is very important to know which convention, HCV or LCV (NCV or GCV) is being used.

Electric Turbo Compounding (ETC)[edit]

Electric Turbo Compounding (ETC) is a technology solution to the challenge of improving energy efficiency for the stationary power generation industry.

Fossil fuel based power generation is predicted to continue for decades, especially in developing economies. This is against the global need to reduce carbon emissions, of which, a high percentage is produced by the power sector worldwide.

ETC works by making gas and diesel-powered gensets (Electric Generators) work more effectively and cleaner, by recovering waste energy from the exhaust to improve power density and fuel efficiency.[1]

Advantages of using ETC[edit]

  • Helps developing economies with unreliable or insufficient power infrastructure. [2]
  • Gives independent power providers (IPPs), power rental companies and generator OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) a competitive advantage and potential increased market share.
  • Improves overall efficiency of the genset, including fuel input costs and helping end-users reduce amount of fuel burned. [3]
  • Typically 4-7% less fuel consumption for both diesel and gas gensets. [4]
  • Fewer carbon emissions.
  • Increased power density. [5]
  • Capability to increase power output and capacity, with improved fuel efficiency.
  • ETC system integration offers a step change in efficiency without increasing service or maintenance requirements.
  • The cost of generating power through waste heat recovery is substantially less than burning more fuel, even with low diesel prices.[6]

Disadvantages of using ETC[edit]

  • Upfront costs incur an additional expense for businesses.
  • The need to update existing turbomachinery and recertification of the unit adds additional costs and can be time consuming.[7]
  • There will be additional weight to add an ETC to a current unit.
  • Process still uses fossil fuels, thus still has a carbon footprint in a renewable age.
  • They are bespoke to each generator so the design, build and implementation can be a lengthy process.
  • There are challenges with high speed turbo generators such as high stress in the rotors, heat generation of the electrical machine and rotordynamics of the turbo generator system.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is ETC". Bowman Power. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  2. ^ "Modelling a Turbogenerator for Waste Heat Recover on a Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus" (PDF). Ian Briggs. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  3. ^ "Electric Turbo-Compounding: Helping make distributed power systems more efficient". Kenya Engineer. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  4. ^ "Less Fuel, Reduced CO2". Bowman Power. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  5. ^ "Turbo Compounding, A Technology Who's Time Has Come" (PDF). Carl T. Vuk - John Deere. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  6. ^ "Competitive Advantage". Bowman Power. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  7. ^ "Modelling a Turbogenerator for Waste Heat Recover on a Diesel-Electric Hybrid Bus" (PDF). Ian Briggs. Retrieved 2018-02-08.