Growing renewable energy generation share causes more irregular and more flexible operational regimes of conventional power plants than in the past. It leads to long periods without dispatch for several days or even weeks. As a consequence, the required pre-heating of the steam turbine leads to an extended power plant start-up time [1].

The current steam turbine Hot Standby Mode (HSM) contributes to a more flexible steam turbine operation and is a part of the Flex-Power Services™ portfolio [2].

HSM prevents the turbine components from cooling via heat supply using an electrical Trace Heating System (THS) after shutdowns [3]. The aim of the HSM is to enable faster start-up time after moderate standstills. HSM functionality can be extended to include the pre-heating option after longer standstills.

This paper investigates pre-heating of the steam turbine with an electrical THS. At the beginning, it covers general aspects of flexible fossil power plant operation and point out the advantages of HSM. Afterwards the technology of the trace heating system and its application on steam turbines will be explained. In the next step the transient pre-heating process is analyzed and optimized using FEA, CFD and analytic calculations including validation considerations. Therefor a heat transfer correlation for flexible transient operation of the HSM was developed. A typical large steam turbine with an output of up to 300MW was investigated. Finally the results are summarized and an outlook is given.

The results of heat transfer and conduction between and within turbine components are used to enable fast start-ups after long standstills or even outages with the benefit of minimal energy consumption. The solution is available for new apparatus as well as for the modernization of existing installations.

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