With increasing regulation and the push for clean energy, the operation of power plants is becoming increasingly complex. This complexity combined with the need to optimize performance at base load and off-design condition means that predicting power plant performance with computational modeling is more important than ever. However, traditional modeling approaches such as physics-based models do not capture the true performance of power plant critical components. The complexity of factors such as coupling, noise, and off-design operating conditions makes the performance prediction of critical components such as turbomachinery difficult to model. In a complex system, such as a gas turbine power plant, this creates significant disparities between models and actual system performance that limits the detection of abnormal operations.

This study compares machine learning tools to predict gas turbine performance over traditional physics-based models. A long short-term memory (LSTM) model, a form of a recurrent neural network, was trained using operational datasets from a 100 kW recuperated gas turbine power system designed for hybrid configuration. The LSTM turbine model was trained to predict shaft speed, outlet pressure, and outlet temperature. The performance of both the machine learning model and a physics-based model were compared against experimental data of the gas turbine system. Results show that the machine learning model has significant advantages in prediction accuracy and precision compared to a traditional physics-based model when fed facility data as an input. This advantage of predicting performance by machine learning models can be used to detect abnormal operations.

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