The power output and heat rate (or efficiency) of a combined cycle power plant are expressed in the Power Industry at a specified set of “reference conditions”. Some of these reference conditions pertain to the test boundary (eg. ambient air temperature, barometric pressure etc.) while some others pertain to the operating condition (eg. baseload, evaporative cooler status, etc.) within the plant boundary. The process of measuring the actual thermal performance of a combined cycle plant involves conducting a test wherein the plant is operated at the pre-determined set of operating conditions that enable minimizing deviations from the “reference conditions”. It is a well-known fact that despite all efforts made during such a test, the actual boundary and operating conditions that prevail at the time of the test will not necessarily be identical to the pre-defined set of “reference conditions”. Hence, in order to evaluate the performance levels of the plant, one of the essential steps in the testing process is to “correct” the measured power output and heat consumption (or heat rate) for differences that persist between the actual test conditions and the corresponding set of “reference conditions”. This “correction” can be performed by using either a correction curve-based approach or a model-based approach.

When a correction curve-based approach is used, the effects of the boundary conditions on the relevant performance parameter (output, heat consumption or heat rate) can be depicted as an additive correction term or as a multiplicative correction term. As such, the corrections to the boundary conditions can be applied as either a) additive or b) multiplicative or c) a combination of additive and multiplicative referred to as “hybrid”. The prevailing industry code for testing combined cycle power plants, ASME PTC 46, has adopted the “hybrid” method while the codes for testing individual equipment (such as PTC 22, PTC 6.2, PTC 6) have adopted either the additive philosophy or the multiplicative philosophy or a “hybrid” philosophy similar to PTC 46.

The purpose of this paper is to present the outcome of a study that compares the three different correction methods utilizing the correction curve approach for a combined cycle power plant. The studies were based on thermodynamic simulations performed on different plant configurations. A key result will be the quantification of the errors associated with the different methods, which are primarily a function of the ability of the different methods to inherently capture the interactions between the various boundary parameters in the correction process and are a representation of the uncertainty associated with the particular correction method. Furthermore, the paper will introduce a new calculation method and provide recommendations that will help improve the accuracies of test results.

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