Since its publication in 1996, ASME PTC 46 Performance Test Code on Overall Plant Performance has established itself as the premier test code for conducting overall plant performance within the power industry, especially for combined cycle power plants. The current text within ASME PTC 46, which is currently under revision by the ASME PTC 46 Committee, describes in Section 5.3.4 Specified Measured Net Power that “This test is conducted for a combined cycle power plant with duct firing or other form of power augmentation, such as steam or water injection when used for that purpose.” Further, the only example problem for a combined cycle with duct firing is provided in Appendix B of the code utilizing the Specified Measured Net Power Test Method. Though the text and example are correctly presented within the code, it resulted in misinterpretation within the industry that the only correct way to test a combined cycle plant with duct firing was to conduct a Specified Measured Net Power Test. Though the Specified Measured Net Power Test Method is an acceptable and accurate method in determining the performance of a combined cycle plant with duct firing in operation, it lends to being inflexible to the weather conditions for the plant operation. When the weather is too cold, the exhaust energy from the combustion turbines may be at such a magnitude as to not allow the duct burners to be fired due to limitations within the heat recovery steam generator and steam turbine systems to take the load, thus limiting the plant testing to take place when the weather is warm enough to allow the plant to be operated with duct firing. The opposite condition can also exist where the ambient conditions are too hot so that the duct burner capacity is unable to achieve the specified measured net power allowing the test to be conducted. The limitations stated herein are the reasons that an alternative approach with more flexibility is necessary. This paper will present an alternative approach referred to as the Fixed Duct Burner Heat Input Test Method to testing combined cycle plants where the duct burner heat input (Fuel Flow) is held fixed while the plant net power and heat rate are left to float with ambient conditions. Corrections for both power and heat rate will be developed for ambient conditions per ASME PTC 46 guidelines. This paper will further present a comparison between the Specified Measured Net Power Test Method and the Fixed Duct Burner Heat Input Test Method in the areas of the flexibility of the methods for various ambient conditions, and the method uncertainty associated with each method’s ability to correct to reference conditions.

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