Process improvement and plant optimization are common initiatives among Utilities and Independent Power Producers (IPP). This paper intends to outline the value and challenges with obtaining data to support these initiatives and provide for good business decisions.

Typical information, such as performance acceptance tests and heat balance design data is essential when evaluating plant performance. Normal, on-going operating data at full load conditions is also needed when making decisions regarding plant improvements. However, obtaining all the necessary data is not always possible and with the current market conditions, conducting performance tests may not be economical. When faced with a known performance deficiency, determining the root cause and options for performance recovery can be difficult in any situation. When design data is hard to come by and operating data difficult to obtain, making an informed decision can be more of an art than a science.

An example of the decision process used to upgrade the capacity for a gas turbine combined cycle facility is explained in detail in this paper. The results of the process show that even with limited available data for the facility, improvements in performance can be achieved.

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