The aim is to reduce the number of hot starts required by 33%, from currently 150 per year to 100, by increasing the low load capability of existing plants, enabling them to operate at low load level for extended periods of time instead of being shut down.

It is evident that plants which have a very high low load capability can be run more flexibly without being forced to full shut-down/start-up, resulting in less cycling. The main aim is to enable increased low load capacity of thermal power plants by retrofitting the critical components of existing assets as follows:

  • Compressor: Development of an advanced, retrofittable aero design for part load conditions which improves the part-load operability and efficiency. A larger stable operating range. This allows a further closure of Inlet Guide Vane (IGV) with reduced minimum environmental load. Another aim is to optimise the blow-off valve opening to reduce the minimum environmental load. Investigate the compressor off-design performance and operability during charging and discharging of a novel energy storage system to enable low load.
  • Combustor: Identifying the operation limits of existing designs to develop new, retrofittable combustor designs that extend the operation regime to lower minimum loads. In particular, improve combustion models concerning their ability to describe lean blow-off limits (LBO) for jet stabilized flames at very low loads. Also the combustor modifications required for integrating Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) or Liquefied Air Energy Storage (LAES) technology into gas turbine engines will be identified.
  • Steam turbine Improve the accuracy of prediction of steam turbine component loading and damage in low load operation. In particular, introducing a life assessment model enabled by real-time measurements in the last stage blading of the steam turbine through automated sensors usable under harsh operating conditions.

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