Gas turbine power plants fueled by natural gas are common due to their quick start-up operation and low emissions compared with steam power plants that are directly fired. However, the efficiency of basic gas turbine power plant is considered low. Any improvement in the efficiency would result in fuel savings as well as reduction in CO2 emissions. One way to improve the efficiency is to utilize exhaust gas waste heat. Two waste heat utilization options were considered. The first option was to run a steam power plant (i.e. combined cycle power plant) while the other option was to use a regenerator which reduces the size of the combustion chamber. The regenerator utilizes the waste heat to preheat the compressed air before the combustion chamber. In addition, the efficiency can be improved with compressor intercooling and turbine reheating. In this paper, four gas turbine power plant configurations were investigated and optimized to find the maximum possible efficiency for each configuration. The configurations are (1) basic gas turbine, (2) combined cycle, (3) advanced combined cycle and (4) gas turbine with regenerator, intercooler and reheater. The power plants were modeled in EES software and the basic model was validated against vendor’s data (GE E-class gas turbine Model 7E) with good agreement. Maximum discrepancy was only 3%. The optimization was carried out using conjugate directions method and improvements in the baseline design were as high as 25%. The paper presents the modeling work, baseline designs, optimization and analysis of the optimization results using T-s diagrams. The efficiency of the optimized configurations varied from 49% up 65%.

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