A new methodology is developed to find the optimal steam injection levels in simple and combined cycle gas turbine power plants. When steam injection process is being applied to simple cycle gas turbines, it is shown to offer many benefits, including increased power output and efficiency as well as reduced exhaust emissions. For combined cycle power plants, steam injection in the gas turbine, significantly decreases the amount of flow and energy through the steam turbine and the overall power output of the combined cycle is decreased. This study focuses on finding the maximum power output and efficiency of steam injected simple and combined cycle gas turbines. For that purpose, the thermodynamic cycle analysis and a genetic algorithm are linked within an automated design loop. The multi-parameter objective function is either based on the power output or on the overall thermal efficiency. NOx levels have also been taken into account in a third objective function denoted as steam injection effectiveness. The calculations are done for a wide range of parameters such as compressor pressure ratio, turbine inlet temperature, air and steam mass flow rates. Firstly, 6 widely used simple and combined cycle power plants performance are used as test cases for thermodynamic cycle validation. Secondly, gas turbine main parameters are modified to yield the maximum generator power and thermal efficiency. Finally, the effects of uniform crossover, creep mutation, different random number seeds, population size and the number of children per pair of parents on the performance of the genetic algorithm are studied. Parametric analyses show that application of high turbine inlet temperature, high air mass flow rate and no steam injection lead to high power and high combined cycle thermal efficiency. On the contrary, when NOx reduction is desired, steam injection is necessary. For simple cycle, almost full amount of steam injection is required to increase power and efficiency as well as to reduce NOx. Moreover, it is found that the compressor pressure ratio for high power output is significantly lower than the compressor pressure ratio that drives the high thermal efficiency.

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