Potential LHV performance of an indirect coal-fired gas turbine-based combined cycle plant is explored and compared to the typical LHV 35–38 % thermal efficiencies achievable with current coal-fired Rankine Cycle power plants. Plant performance with a baseline synchronous speed, single spool 25:1 pressure ratio gas turbine with a Rankine bottoming cycle was developed. A coal-fired High Temperature Advanced Furnace (HITAF) supplying 2000° F. (1093° C.) hot pressurized air for the gas turbine was modeled for the heat source. The HITAF concept along with coal gas for supplemental heating, are two important parts of the clean coal technology program for power plants. [1,2] From this baseline power plant arrangement, different gas turbine engine configurations with two pressure ratios are evaluated. These variations include a dual spool concentric shaft gas turbine, dual spool non-concentric shaft arrangement, intercooler, liquid metal loop re-heater, free power turbine (FPT) and post HITAF duct burner (DB). A dual pressure Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) with varying steam pressures to fit conditions is used for each engine. A novel steam generating method employing flash tank technology is applied when a water-cooled intercooler is incorporated. A halogenated hydrocarbon working fluid is also evaluated for lower temperature sub-bottoming Rankine cycle equipment. Current technology industrial gas turbine component performance levels are applied to these various engines to produce a range of LHV gross gas turbine thermal efficiency estimates. These estimates range from the lower thirties to over forty percent. Overall LHV combined cycle plant gross thermal efficiencies range from nearly forty to over fifty percent. All arrangements studied would produce significant improvements in thermal efficiency compared to current coal-fired Rankine cycle power plants. Regenerative inter-cooling, free power turbines, and dual-spool non-concentric shaft gas turbine arrangements coupled with post-HITAF duct burners produced the highest gas turbine engine and plant efficiency results. These advanced engine configurations should also produce operational benefits such as easier starting and much improved part power efficiency over the baseline engine arrangement. An inter-turbine liquid metal re-heat loop reduced engine thermal efficiency but did increase plant power output and efficiency for the example studied. Use of halogenated hydrocarbons as a working fluid would add to plant power output, but at the cost of significant additional plant equipment.

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