A surge control system for a natural gas centrifugal compressor station has been modified in order to reduce shutdowns caused by high discharge temperature and provide a more robust and stable operation. The process consists of a compressor driven by a 14 MW gas turbine and recycle piping, a 16” recycle valve, a PLC based surge control algorithm, a flow measurement element, and a compressor differential pressure transmitter. The control objective is to manipulate the recycle valve to maintain flow through the compressor to a setpoint determined from the differential pressure across the compressor. Field tests were conducted to measure the open loop process dynamics of the valve, piping, compressor and transmitters. From the test data, the relevant process dynamics were determined enabling the development of a first order plus dead time model of the system. The process dynamics are complex due to the gas dynamic effects of the station piping and tend to exhibit inverse and time delayed behavior. Large variations in process gain also create problems with obtaining a consistent flow response under different operating conditions. A stability analysis was completed and the control system was redesigned with several enhancements including derivative control, flow signal filtering, process linearization, and improved controller programming techniques. The results of the modifications are the compressor does not shut down when subjected to transients from other units, the compressor can be started against high head conditions, and the closed loop response time is ten times faster than the previous system. The new system has been in operation since May 1997.

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