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2009 International Conference on Energy and Environment Technology

Analysis of a Combined Cycle Recovering Pressure Energy of Natural Gas

Zhikun Wang Zheng Zhang

Department of water conservancy and hydropower Department of water conservancy and hydropower
He bei University of Engineering He bei University of Engineering
Han’dan China Han’dan China

Abstract—With the development of economy and the pressure of pipelines. The high pressure natural gas expands in the expander
environment pollution, natural gas industry have been developing to recover some work to drive the air compressor, and then the
as fast as well in recent years in China. Because of the unbalance lower temperature and lower pressure natural gas from the
distribution of natural gas resources in China, transportation expander goes to cool the air which is going into the compressor
pipelines have been developing quickly. There is huge pressure and the exhaust of the turbine successively. Then the lower
energy stored in the pipeline networks. A gas-steam combined cycle pressure natural gas recovers the heat of the smoke which is
recovering pressure energy of transportation pipelines is going to exhaust to air. At last the lower pressure natural gas is
presented. The high pressure natural gas expands in the expander heated by a certain temperature and supplied to the consumer.
and drive the air compressor. Then the natural gas out of the
The new cycle could increase the output of the combustion
expander of lower temperature and pressure goes to cool the air
going into the compressor and the exhaust gas of the boiler
turbine and steam turbine and recover the pressure energy of
successively. Then the lower pressure natural gas recovers the heat pipelines.
of the smoke which is exhausting to atmosphere. At last the lower
pressure natural gas is heated by a certain temperature and
supplied to the consumer. This paper makes a analysis of the The pressure of nature gas pipelines was only 2.5MPa early.
benefits brought by the new flow to the combined cycle. Generally In the sixties of the twentieth century, the pressure is about
speaking, the new cycle will increase the efficiency of the combined 6MPa. At present, the pressure of pipelines in Europe and North
cycle and the utilization rate of energy. American is usually above 10MPa.
For the given gas transmission volume, increasing the
Keywords- Combiend Cycle; Pressure Energy; Natural Gas pipeline pressure will reduce the pipe diameter, save more metals
and cost. Pipes with smaller diameter could increase the wall
I. INTRODUCTION thickness which enhances the safety of pipelines.
So the pressure of the nature gas pipelines is becoming higher
Under the pressure of the ecological environment by Chinese
and higher. The pressure energy in the pipelines is tremendous. If
coal-based energy structure, China has made more scientific
we do not recover the pressure energy, it’s a great waste.
medium-term and long-term energy development plan and
Exergy is maximal energy which could be converted into
environmental legislation. As cleaning energy, the ratio of natural
work theoretically. It is more scientific to evaluate the pressure
gas in China primary energy sources consumption increased year
energy in natural gas pipelines by exergy analytical method.
after year. The ratio will be 8% by the year of 2010. At the same
Base on thermodynamics, natural gas pipelines could be
time, natural gas transportation pipelines in China developed
considered as open systems. The exergy of stable flow of gas per
rapidly. By the year of 2010, the length of natural gas pipeline
unit mass is
will be 7000km.
The pressure of natural gas transportation pipelines is far ex , h = h − h0 − T0 ( s − s0 ) (1)
higher than atmospheric pressure. So the pipelines contain
plentiful pressure energy. Taking the first pipeline of west-to-east
T0 is the ambient temperature. h0 and s0 are the enthalpy
gas transmission project of China for example, the pressure of the and entropy of the stable flow of gas per unit mass at ambient
pipeline is 10MPa and the design natural gas supply quantum is state. h and s are the enthalpy and entropy at the state of the
12 billion cubic meters per year. The highest pressure of the gas flow.
second pipeline of west-to-east gas transmission project is From the thermodynamic differential relation
12MPa and the design natural gas supply quantum is 30 billion dT dp
cubic meters per year. So the pressure energy is tremendous. ds = c p −R (2)
This paper analyzed the gas-steam combined cycle based on T dp
the recovery of pressure energy in the gas transportation

978-0-7695-3819-8/09 $26.00 © 2009 IEEE 519

DOI 10.1109/ICEET.2009.131
The relation of enthalpy exergy of stable flow in open system III.GAS-STEAM COMBINED CYCLE BASED ON PRESSURE
c p dT0 dp The combined cycle mentioned in this paper recover pressure
dex ,h = dh − T0 ds = c p dT − dT + RT0 energy by three processes to promote the efficiency of the
T p system. The flow diagram is showed in fig. 3.
= ex ,T + ex , p (3)
ex ,T is temperature exergy
c p dT0
dex , s = c p dT − dT (4)
ex , p is pressure exergy
dex , p = RT0 (5)
When dT = 0 , the pressure exergy in open system is
p Figure 2. Diagram of the gas-steam combined cycle
dp p
e xp = ∫ RT0 = RT0 (6)
1-expander 2-heat exchanger cooling inlet air 3- compressor 4- combustion
p0 p p0 chamber 5- gas turbine 6- electric generator 7-exhaust-heat boiler
The pressure exergy is equaled to the technique work in 8-heat exchanger recovering heat of exhaust gas 9-pump
isothermal expansion process. Assuming that the natural gas is 10- condenser 11- steam turbine 12- heat exchanger
methane, at the ambient pressure of 0.1MPa and ambient High pressure natural gas is induced in to expander 1 to the
temperature of 25 ℃, the specific pressure energy of the gas at state of low temperature and pressure. Then the air to the
different pressure is showed in fig. 1. compressor is cooled by low temperature natural gas in the heat
exchanger 2. Out of the heat exchanger 2 after absorbing heat of
the air, the natural gas gets into the heat exchanger 12 to cool the
air flowing to the condenser. Then the natural gas is led to the
heat exchanger 8 recovering heat of exhaust gas. Finally, the
natural gas gets into the combustion chamber 4.
As the diagram above, the system have four parts to utilize
pressure energy: expander, inlet air cooling system, condenser
vacuum enhancing system, waste heat recovery of exhaust gas.
Part 1 expander: High pressure natural gas directly expands in
the expander to do work and drive the compressor. So the
compressor consumes less work of the gas turbine. The gas
turbine could generate more electricity.
Part 2 inlet air cooling system: Based on the operating theory
under variable operating conditions, when the atmosphere
temperature is dropping, the density of inlet air is increasing. So
the mass flow rates of inlet air and output power would increase.
By thermodynamics, the molecule kinematic velocity and
Figure 1. Pressure energy of natural gas at different pipeline pressure work done during compression at the same compression ratio
reduce as the air temperature becomes lower. Work done during
When the pipeline pressure is 10MPa and the pressure of gas compression is directly proportional to inlet air temperature at
supplying to the consumer is 0.3MPa [1], the theoretical isentropic compressing process [2].
maximum pressure energy is 543.26kJ/kg. If the gas flow rate is
120 ×108m3/a which is the design flow of the west-east gas Wc = c pT1 (π ( k −1)/ k − 1) (7)
pipeline project of China and the specific volume of methane is where c p is specific heat at constant pressure, T1 is initial inlet
1.543m3/kg at 25oC, then the mass flow rate is77.8×108kg/a and temperature. π is compression ratio.
the theoretical maximum recovery pressure energy is
So as the inlet air temperature becomes lower, work
42265.6×108 kJ which is the output of a 482.5MW plant.
consumed by compressor reduces and the output power of gas
Based on the analysis above, pressure energy contained in the
turbine increases.
pipelines is huge. If the pressure energy could be recovered
Figure 3 is the gas turbine unit performance chart of GE Co.
properly, it will promote energy sources utilization ratio and the
Fig. 3 shows the relationship of heat consumption rate, inlet air
economical efficiency of the pipelines.
mass flow rate, and output power and inlet temperature.

[3] Deng J.F., Xia Z.,2005, “World's First Gas Turbine Intake Air Cooling
System with LiBr Absorption Type Chiller as It's Focal Component”, Power
[4] Zheng L.K., Gu C., Yan G.H.,2002, “Approach to Influence of the Variety of
Operation Parameters on the Vacuum of Condenser”, Turbine Technology,

Figure 3. Relationship between inlet temperature and gas turbine performance

Compared with ordinary methods such as vapor compression

refrigerating, absorption refrigerating and cold storage etc. to
cool the inlet air of gas turbine, the method in this paper does not
need extra investment and maintenance cost. High pressure
natural gas expands in the expander to a deep temperature and the
cooling effect is better than ordinary cooling methods
Part 3 condenser vacuum enhancing system: Operating
experience of power plant condenser indicates: when the vacuum
of condenser decreases 1kPa, the heat consumption of steam
turbine increases about 1.5%~2.5%. Meanwhile, if the vacuum of
condenser decreases, the exhaust temperature will increase and
the bearing centre of the steam turbine will shift, which will
cause unit libration [4].
The natural gas after getting through the heat exchanger 2
also is with low temperature. If the natural gas is induced to cool
the exhaust of the steam turbine, it will decrease the exhaust
temperature and increase the condenser vacuum to promote the
output power and efficiency of the system.
Part 4 waste heat recovery of exhaust gas: Heat exchanger 8
could be used to raise the fuel temperature.
This paper presents a gas-steam combined cycle based on
pressure energy recovery of gas transportation pipelines. Pressure
energy could be recovered by four parts of the cycle. The cycle
could promote the output power and efficiency of the system.
[1] Zang Z.X., Pen X.Q.,1999,“Analysis of the Medium Pressure Range in
Urban Gas Transmission and Distribution System”, Journal of Chongqing
Jianzhu University, 21(4),pp.13-15.
[2] Kong S.Y., Kong X.W.,1999,“Gas turbine inlet air cooling technology”, Gas
Turbine Technology,12(3),pp.33-37.