System Performance Evaluations

Network Systems Engineering Corp. (NSEC) provides system performance evaluation services for energy generating facilities including steam turbines, gas turbines, diesel engines, and heat recovery systems. NSEC uses the results of these evaluations to suggest methods for improving efficiency, profitability, and reliability of systems while reducing operating costs. NSEC’s services include performing system performance evaluations and developing an overall System Performance Enhancement Plan.

System Performance Evaluations analyze system components and their performance based upon any combination of plant operating data, permanent and portable test equipment data, or system design data. NSEC System Performance Evaluations analyze the system(s) and determine thermal performance (e.g., heat rate), engine performance, and other critical operating characteristics.

NSEC analyses the plant design, operating history, and newly collected data using the appropriate System Performance Software to evaluate performance of individual plant components or entire critical plant systems. These analyses allow NSEC’s Clients to optimize plant operations and to maximize profitability.

Power Systems Analysis

NSEC utilizes PowerDOE, an energy system simulation program developed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), to model energy systems and analyze energy utilization at a facility. This analysis can address all major power plant systems, including boilers, chillers, electric generators, and the related distribution systems. The forms of energy delivered by these power plant systems are steam (for process and heating), hot water, chilled water, and electricity. With each system, the major loads, major losses, and any unused existing resources will be analyzed to determine whether the system’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness can be improved.

For existing facilities, NSEC evaluates energy utilization of existing processes and explores energy generation alternatives for the facility. NSEC will then develop an overall Energy Cost Reduction Plan that, when implemented, will improve the energy efficiency of current processes and reduce the facility’s energy dependence on external sources.

For new installations, NSEC uses these results to validate contracted system performance. For planned facilities, NSEC evaluates energy utilization of planned processes and explores energy generation alternatives for the facility. NSEC can then develop an overall Energy Generation & Utilization Plan that will address all aspects of energy generation and utilization at the planned facility.

Types of power plant systems analyzed are:

  • Electric Systems

All electric power generation systems will be modeled and evaluated using the PowerDOE program. The goal is to identify system and procedural changes that could lead to lower total and/or peak load demand or shift loads to off-hours when power is usually less costly. In addition, use of alternative fuels will also be evaluated, when available.

  • Steam Systems

The major loads for the steam systems are processes, heating, and hot water production. The existing equipment, loads, and losses will be evaluated. Some examples of steam systems inefficiencies or losses are inefficient use of boiler resources, steam or heat losses, and poor condensate return systems. In steam systems, the largest opportunity for savings is usually achieved by improving boiler efficiencies thus reducing fuel costs. NSEC will also evaluate whether any of the existing boilers can be upgraded to allow the use of backpressure steam turbines for generating electric power, in addition to meeting the original steam demands.

  • Hot Water Systems

Hot water systems typically rely on a steam system in large commercial facilities. Losses and inefficiencies in the hot water systems will affect their associated steam systems. Deposits that buildup in a heat exchanger and degrade the unit’s heat transfer capabilities are a major source of inefficiency in a typical hot water system. One opportunity for savings or improving the efficiency of these systems may be to implement better preventive maintenance and cleaning activities.

  • Chilled Water Systems

Chilled water systems may or may not rely on the steam systems. Chillers can be powered by gas (by direct mechanical coupling to a gas turbine), steam, hot water (absorbers), or electricity. The existing equipment, loads, and losses will be included in this evaluation. The costs associated with each form of power and the efficiency of each form of generation will also be evaluated. This is essential to improving efficiency and maximizing cost savings with chilled water systems. One option for savings may be to generate chilled water during off-peak hours and use thermal storage from natural water or ice based systems to store the energy for use during peak hours. These systems may reduce the amount of chillers required to during peak demand periods and serve to distribute generation costs to off-peak hours when generation is more cost effective.

Power Distribution Analysis

NSEC can evaluate the existing electrical distribution system to determine ways of improving both efficiency and reliability.

NSEC utilizes Power Technologies, Inc.’s PSS/AdeptÔ System, a power system simulator to model balanced or unbalanced, looped or radial electric systems with any combination of three-phase, two-phase, or single-phase laterals. Short circuit calculations can be made for three-phase, phase-to-ground, phase-to-phase-to-ground, and phase-to-phase faults. PSS/ADEPT also performs capacitor placement optimization, tie open point optimization, load scaling, and machine scaling.

Utilizing this advanced engineering tool, NSEC can model and evaluate existing distribution infrastructure, electric load profiles, major electric loads, feeder configurations, and voltage drops and losses.

In considering on-site electric power generation, NSEC can evaluate the overall effect on the electric distribution system for each of the energy generation alternatives considered.

NSEC will investigate a range of integrated solutions for the efficient and reliable management of the electric power system. The evaluation will analyze how to provide total control of the power process from generation to consumption.

System Performance Enhancement Plan

Based on the overall evaluation, NSEC develops a System Performance Enhancement Plan. This plan describes the results of the performance evaluation and provides recommendations for system modifications or other improvements that will result in greater thermal efficiency, optimize system operation, and reduce overall costs. The plan also includes information on new technologies that may be available to improve and optimize thermal operations.

The plan also includes preliminary cost estimates to implement each alternative. The plan compares the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. Comparisons will be based on:

  • Estimated implementation costs and schedule
  • Operations and maintenance costs
  • Total savings
  • Other benefits and liabilities