Power plants operating in cyclic mode, standby mode or as back up to solar and wind generating assets are required to come on line on short notice. Simple cycle power plants employing gas turbines are being designed to come on line within 10–15 minutes. Combined cycle plants with heat recovery steam generators and steam turbines take longer to come on line.
The components of a combined cycle plant, such as the HRSG, steam turbine, steam surface condenser, cooling tower, circulating water pumps and condensate pumps, are being designed to operate in unison and come on line expeditiously. Major components, such as the HRSG, steam turbine and associated steam piping, dictate how fast the combined cycle plant can come on line. The temperature ramp rates are the prime drivers that govern the startup time. Steam surface condenser and associated auxiliaries impact the startup time to a lesser extent.
This paper discusses the design features that could be included in the steam surface condenser and associated auxiliaries to permit quick startup and reliable operation. Additional design features that could be implemented to withstand the demanding needs of cyclic operation are highlighted.