Optimize Steam Turbines

Increasing operating efficiency and reducing energy losses...


Central Energy Plant Steam Turbine Upgrades is a Neutrality goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).



Cornell's Central Energy Plants (CEP): Steam Turbine Generator
Cornell's Central Energy Plants (CEP): Steam Turbine Generator

Optimize the operation of the existing steam turbine generators to improve the efficiency of the campus Central Energy Plant.

Goal: Investigate methods of reducing energy losses when Turbine Generator 1 (TG-1) is not operating (during most of the year), and consult with the manufacturer on possible upgrades to increase the operating efficiency of TG-1 during times of peak steam demand in the winter.

The Cornell co-generation facility consists of two back pressure steam turbine generators, TG-1 and TG-2. The turbines’ main function is to reduce the steam pressure going out to campus from approximately 400 psi to 30-60 psi. Since 2012, TG-2, which is a larger and more efficient unit than TG-1, has been run continuously all year, and TG-1 has only been run during times of peak steam demand in the winter. TG-2 was overhauled in the summer of 2010 to improve efficiency through redesigning the turbine blades and changing the steam path through the turbine. It may be possible to make similar upgrades to increase the operating efficiency of TG-1, as well as to reduce energy losses from TG-1 during the vast majority of the year when it is not being utilized.

Next Steps

  • Investigate methods of reducing energy losses when TG-1 is not operating, for example a dry layup versus hot standby.
  • Consult with the turbine manufacturer (Dresser Rand) regarding possible upgrades and their impacts on steam consumption and electrical generation with the help of a consultant and energy studies.
  • If any upgrades to TG-1 or TG-2 are found to be economically beneficial, place the turbine upgrade project in the 5-year capital plan.

Resources

The proposed changes must be economically beneficial and receive funding in the capital plan.