Handbook for Cogeneration and Combined Cycle Power Plants, Second Edition
10 Fuels, Fuel Piping and Fuel Storage
The major advantage of a combined cycle power plant and a cogeneration plant based around a gas turbine has been its inherent fuel flexibility. Fuel candidates encompass the entire spectrum from gases to solids. Gaseous fuels traditionally include natural gas, process gas, low-Btu coal gas and methanol gas based on compost. “Process gas” is a broad term used to describe gas formed by some industrial process. Process gases include refinery gas, producer gas, coke oven gas, and blast furnace gas among others. Natural gas is usually the basis on which performance for a gas turbine is compared, since it is a clean fuel fostering longer machine life.
Liquid fuels can vary from light volatile naphtha through kerosene to the heavy viscous residuals. The classes of liquid fuels and their requirements are shown in Table 10-1. The light distillates are equal to natural gas as a fuel, and between light distillates and natural gas fuels, 90% of installed units can be counted. Care must be taken in handling liquid fuels to avoid contamination, and the very light distillates like naphtha require special concern in the design of fuel systems because of their high volatility. Generally, a fuel tank of the floating head type with no area for vaporization is employed. The heavy true distillates like No. 2 distillate oil can be considered the standard fuel. The true distillate fuel is a good turbine fuel; however, because trace elements of vanadium, sodium, potassium, lead, and calcium are found in the fuel, the fuel has to be treated. The corrosive effect of sodium and vanadium is very detrimental to the life of a turbine.
Vanadium originates as a metallic compound in crude oil and is concentrated by the distillation process into heavy oil fractions. Sodium compounds are most often present in the form of salt water, which results from salty wells, transport over seawater, or mist ingestion in an ocean environment.