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CSSR 2010 1569340661

2010 CSSR 2010 Initial Submission

Application of Thermodynamics and Heat

Transfer Theories to Analyze Performance
Degradation of Air Cooled Condenser (ACC) At
Gelugor Power Station

Abstract—Gelugor Power Station has its power output temperature to the ACC was found to be higher than
derated from the installed capacity level of 330 MW to normal and this affects the condensing of turbine exhaust
295 MW. From preliminary investigation, it was steam significantly.
found that poor performance of the Air Cooled Possible contributors to poor ACC performance are hot
Condenser (ACC) is the main contributor to this weather at site, where the ambient temperature at noon is
problem. Consequently, four condenser key in the range of 35 to 38oC, and insufficient air flow (i.e.
performance indicators (KPIs) that illustrate the cooling medium) to the ACC inlet as the surrounding air
contribution of two root cause categories, namely passages is partially blocked by the sound-proof wall.
inadequate cooling air flow and ineffective heat In order to determine the root causes of poor ACC
transfer were identified. Subsequently, these KPIs for performance, TNB Research Sdn. Bhd. (TNBR) was
design and actual condition (before analysis) were engaged to analyze the problem and provide
computed and then compared to analyze the root
cause(s) of ACC performance degradation. Upon II. METHODOLOGY
determination of the root cause(s), measures for ACC
performance improvement were provided and the A. Condenser Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
corresponding capacity improvements were also Fig. 1 shows the schematic of the ACC.
estimated. As part of the validation exercise, the
effectiveness for partial implementation of ACC fins
cleaning, i.e. one of the recommendations given and
carried out by the power plant was evaluated. From
the validation, it was found that cleaning 25% of the
ACC fins has improved the air flow by 50 m3/s and the
steam turbine power output by 0.9 MW.

Keywords—Terminal Temperature Difference; Overall Heat

Transfer Coefficient; Air Mass Flow Rate; Temperature
Rise; Air Cooled Condenser

Gelugor Power Station is a combined cycle power plant
of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), which has an installed
capacity of 330 MW. The plant comprises two units of GE
Frame 9E Gas Turbines (GTs) rated at 110 MW each, two
Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) and a Fuji
Electric Steam Turbine (ST) rated at 110 MW.
In less than six years after the commissioning of the
plant (September 2003), its generating capacity has
reduced by 35 MW, from 330 to 295 MW, according to a
test conducted by Energy Procurement Department,
Planning Division, TNB in February 2009. This load
deration was suspected to be attributable to poor
performance of the Air Cooled Condenser (ACC), which Figure 1. Schematic of the air cooled condenser [2]
can be observed from low condenser vacuum trend and
the requirement to operate the second vacuum pump to The primary indicator of ACC performance is its
increase the vacuum level. Moreover, the air inlet vacuum level. In general, higher condenser vacuum
signifies increased efficiency and output for the steam

2010 CSSR 2010 Initial Submission

turbine. The vacuum level of the condenser, be it air Assuming the applied voltage and power factor do not
cooled or water cooled is driven by the following change significantly, the measured current consumption of
variables, as in [1]. the motors can be used to reflect the changes in air mass
1. Inlet temperature of the cooling medium flow rate.
2. Heat load The second KPI to be computed is the temperature rise
across the ACC, which can be expressed as follows:
3. Flow rate of the cooling medium
4. Condenser fouling
RISE  Tout, air  Tin, air (2)
5. Air in-leakage
Variable 1 is predominantly affected by the ambient
condition, which will only be controllable if additional where
inlet cooling equipment was installed.
Meanwhile, variable 2 is primarily a result of loading RISE  temperature rise ( oC )
condition. Hence, to enable “apple to apple comparison”
in the analysis, only base load plant data will be used. Tout , air  cooling air outlet temperature (oC )
From the remaining variables, it can be categorized into Tin, air  cooling air inlet temperature (oC )
1. Inadequate supply of cooling medium (Variable 3) From (2), the required data are cooling air inlet and
2. Ineffective heat transfer (Variables 4 and 5) outlet temperatures. Cooling air inlet temperature is
Variables 4 and 5 are grouped together as they share assumed to be the same as ambient air temperature, which
similar condenser key performance indicators (KPIs), is available for analysis. In contrast, cooling air outlet
which will be elaborated below. temperature is not measured and thus has to be derived by
For root cause analysis, the required KPIs for each root rearranging the following equation.
cause category will be identified. Then the KPIs will be
evaluated at two conditions, namely design and Phase 1 Q air  m C p ( Tout, air  Tin, air ) (3)
(actual and before analysis). After that, the KPIs for both
conditions will be compared to diagnose the root cause.
For inadequate supply of cooling medium or cooling air
in this case, the required KPIs are as follows:
 Air mass flow rate through the ACC Q air  heat transfer rate through the cooling air ( J )
 Temperature rise across the ACC 
m  air mass flow rate through the ACC ( )
On the other hand, the KPIs for ineffective heat transfer s
are: C p  specific heat capacity of air ( Jo )
kg C
 Terminal temperature difference (TTD)
 Overall heat transfer coefficient (U) In order to use (3), the heat transfer rate through the
cooling air has to be determined. Based upon the
B. Inadequate Cooling Air?
Conservation of Energy Principle, energy cannot be
The first KPI to be examined is air mass flow rate created nor destroyed. Hence the heat that is removed
through the ACC. from the exhaust steam will be transferred to the ACC fins
More often than not, direct measurement of flow rate is and finally to the cooling air. This means, the heat transfer
difficult subjected to accuracy, reliability and accessibility rate through the cooling air can be approximated based
of the measuring instrument. Hence it is common to upon the design heat duty (i.e. heat to be removed from
approximate flow rate to other parameters, which are the exhaust steam) at the corresponding load ratio, as
easier to measure. shown below.
In this case, the air mass flow rate through the ACC is C. Ineffective Heat Transfer?
approximated via total power consumption of the AC
motors that drive the ACC fans. The input power by a For this category of root cause, the first KPI to be
motor can be expressed as follows: studied is terminal temperature difference (TTD), which
can be expressed as follows:
Pin  3 V p  p  I  PF (1)
TTD  Tsat  Tout, air (4)

Pin  input power (W )
Vp  p  phase to phase voltage (V )
TTD  ter min al temperatur e difference ( oC )
I  load current ( A) Tsat  saturation temperatur e correspond to condenser pressure ( oC )
PF  power factor ( fraction)

2010 CSSR 2010 Initial Submission

The saturation temperature at condenser pressure is From the summary data in Table 1, it is clear that the
assumed to be the same as ACC outlet water temperature heat transfer across the ACC is ineffective compared to its
since condenser is in the saturation water-steam mixture, design, as indicated by the problematic TTD that is higher
whereby its temperature stays constant. than its design value and problematic U that is lower than
The second KPI to be investigated is overall heat its design value.
transfer coefficient (U), which can be derived by In contrast, for the investigation on the adequacy of
rearranging Newton’s Law of Cooling, as follows: cooling air, no conclusion can be made as the problematic
data are affected by spray water operation.
Q  U A T (5) As mentioned above, ineffective heat transfer can be a
result of condenser fouling and/or air inleakage. Without
where further analysis or air inleakage detection / measurement,
no root causes can be ruled out.
Q  heat transfer rate ( J )
s Nevertheless, cleaning of the ACC fins is recommended
U  overall heat transfer coefficiet ( W2 )
to Gelugor plant operators as a first attempt to increase the
m heat transfer rate of the ACC. Upon conducting this
A  heat transfer surface area ( m) countermeasure, a re-assessment will be conducted to
T  temperature difference between hot and cold bodies ( oC )
verify its effectiveness.
E. Analysis and Discussion: Before and After Partial
The condenser duty will be used as the heat transfer Cleaning of ACC Fins
rate. Meanwhile the heat transfer surface area is assumed Prior to the closure of this project, Gelugor power
to be the same as its design value, 496,785 m2. station has managed to complete the cleaning of 4 ACC
For the temperature difference between the hot (exhaust fins from the total of 16 available.
steam) and cold (cooling air) bodies, the Arithmetic Mean Table II shows the summary data for conditions before
Temperature Difference (AMTD), which can be expressed and after partial cleaning of ACC fins.
in the following equation, will be employed.
Before After
Partial Partial
D. Analysis and Discussion: Design and Phase 1 No. KPI / Parameter Unit Cleaning Cleaning
Table 1 shows the summary data for design condition of ACC of ACC
and Phase 1 (actual and before analysis). Fins Fins
Average current
consumption for
TABLE I. 1 A 241.9 243.7
ACC fans 1 – 16
No. KPI / Parameter Unit Design Phase 1 Calculated air mass kg/s
2 583.5 587.8
Average current flow rate per fan
Calculated total air
1 consumption for ACC A 250 241.9 3 kg/s 9,337 9,405
fans 1 – 16 motors mass flow rate
Calculated air mass kg/s 4 ST load MW 104.4 105.3
2 603 583.5
flow rate per fan Condenser duty /
Calculated total air MJ/s
3 kg/s 9,650 9,337 Heat transfer rate
mass flow rate 5 or 243.8 246.0
through the cooling
4 ST load MW 110 104.4 air
Cooling air inlet o
Condenser duty / Heat 6 C 31.6 32.4
MJ/s or temperature
5 transfer rate through the 257 243.8
MW Cooling air outlet o
cooling air 7 C 54.2 55.0
Cooling air inlet temperature
6 C 32 31.6 Temperature rise o
temperature 8 C 22.6 1 22.6
Cooling air outlet across the ACC
7 C 55 54.2 Saturation
Temperature rise across temperature o
8 o
C 23 22.6 1 9 C 63.5 63.3
the ACC correspond to the
condenser pressure
Saturation temperature
9 correspond to the o
C 63.1 63.5 Terminal
condenser pressure 10 temperature C 9.3 8.3
Terminal temperature o
10 C 8.1 9.3 Arithmetic Mean
difference o
11 Temperature C 20.6 19.6
Arithmetic Mean o
11 C 19.6 20.6 Difference
Temperature Difference
Overall heat transfer Overall heat transfer
12 W/m2 26.4 23.8 12 W/m2 23.8 25.3
coefficient coefficient

1 1
Taken without considering the heat removal rate from spray water operation Taken without considering the heat removal rate from spray water operation

2010 CSSR 2010 Initial Submission

As shown in Table II, the heat transfer effectiveness has output from the recommended activity (i.e. partial
improved significantly after the partial cleaning of ACC cleaning of ACC fins) is 1.5 MW (or 1.4%), from 103.8 to
fins. For this reason, the plant operators are urged to 105.3 MW .
complete the cleaning for the rest of the fins.
Besides, cleaning of ACC fins has increased the air III. CONCLUSION
mass flow rate through the ACC by 68 m3 (or 0.7%). With The ACC performance at Gelugor Power Station can be
cleaner ACC fins (i.e. less obstruction in the ACC fins), improved further in order to increase the plant generating
more air is drawn into the ACC for cooling. capacity by about 10 MW (4 MW from the GTs and 6
Most importantly, the ST output has also increased by MW from the ST). To achieve this condition, all the ACC
0.9 MW (or 0.9%), despite the reduction in GTs output by fins has to be cleaned.
0.2 MW (or 0.1%), from 203.0 to 202.8 MW. Clean fins provide better flow passage (i.e. less
obstruction) for the cooling air. This enables the fan
F. Correction of Output Data to the Same Ambient motors to pass more air through the fins. Thus, better heat
Temperature transfer can be achieved by the ACC.
Since the output changes with ambient temperature [3], When the ACC heat transfer improved, it can remove
the corresponding GTs and ST output data before ACC more heat faster, namely has higher condenser duty. This
fins cleaning (ambient temperature = 31.6 oC) has to be additional heat will have to be supplied by the GTs. As a
corrected to the condition after ACC fins cleaning result, the GTs output will increase too.
(ambient temperature = 32.4 oC) to enable comparable
capacity improvement estimation. ACKNOWLEDGMENT
According to [3], the average GTs and ST output data The R&D project team would like to thank TNB for the
before ACC fins cleaning is shown in Table III. R&D project funding and Gelugor Power Station
personnel for their cooperation throughout the project
TABLE III. duration.
Before Correction After Correction [1] Performance Consulting Services, Inc. (PCS), “Heat Rate
(Ambient (Ambient Awareness: Course Manual”, PCS, Montrose, 2006, pp. 3.1-3.3,
No. KPI / Parameter
temperature = temperature = 7.1-7.18.
31.6 oC) 32.4 oC)
[2] M.W. Larinoff, W.E. Moles and R. Reichhelm, “Design and
1 GTs load 203.0 201.9 Specification of Air-Cooled Steam Condensers”, Texas: Hudson
Products Corporation, January 2000,
2 ST load 104.4 103.8 www.hudsonproducts.com/products/stacflo/may22_78.pdf
[3] F.J. Brooks, “GE Gas Turbine Performance Characteristics”, New
York: GE Power Systems, October 2000,
Based on the corrected data for condition before ACC
fins cleaning in Table III, the actual improvement in ST