Monte Carlo Simulation of Ultra-Supercritical Pulverized Coal-Fired Power Plant: Efficiency Improvement
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Coal is the predominant energy source for the world’s electricity generation due to its abundance and low cost compared to other types of fuel. Coal-fired power plants are the primary source of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). A reduction of CO2 emissions is required to efficiently operate coal-fired power plants. Efficiency improvement will not only help reduce CO2 emissions, but also produce more electricity with less coal consumption. This can be achieved by either adjusting process operating conditions or replacing existing power plants with new technologies. Ultra-supercritical pulverized coalfired (USC-PC) power plants are one of the available technology options that would allow a power station to operate more efficiently at high pressure and temperature. Such advanced USC-PC technology offers reliable performance with high efficiency and less coal consumption. This thesis is aimed at investigating the behaviour of operating and design parameters that could lead to efficiency improvement for ultra-supercritical pulverized coal-fired power generation. This research aim was achieved by initially developing a process-based computer model of an ultra-supercritical pulverized coal-fired power plant to perform a simulation. The model was built in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet based on the fundamental knowledge of coal combustion, heat transfer, materials and energy balances, and thermodynamics of the steam power cycle. Verification of the developed process-based model was achieved by comparing simulation results with published literatures. Rank coefficient and Monte Carlo approaches using Crystal Ball software were selected to perform simulations of the developed model for sensitivity analysis and parametric studies. It was found that free moisture content in coal, temperature of preheated air, temperatures of main steam and 1st reheated steam, excess air, boiler and turbine efficiency, pressure drop across the boiler, and steam pressure at different stages throughout the series of turbines are the most influential parameters in the net efficiency of stream power plants. This study also presents a correlation empirical equation of net efficiency of operating and process parameters obtained from the parametric study. Optimization studies and an added consideration of carbon capture storage (CCS) are suggested as future work in order to achieve the highest efficiency for USC-PC power plant.