Poor condenser performance affects the economic value of a fossil or nuclear unit in two primaryways: it degrades the heat rate of a unit, thereby requiring more fuel and producing more emissionsfor a given unit generation; and it can reduce the maximum power output of a unit during peak loadperiods. An increase in condenser pressure of a few tenths of an inch (in. Hg) can decrease a unit’sefficiency by one percent. For a 500 MW unit, this is worth $771,000 per year in fuel costs alone(10,000 BTU/KWH base heat rate, $2.2/million BTU fuel cost, 80% capacity factor). An additionalcost for poor condenser performance occurs when high condenser pressure reduces the maximumunit generation and requires the power company to purchase more replacement power. Forexample, a one percent decrease in power output results in a lost opportunity cost of approximately$360,000 per year considering peak load operation alone ($100/MWH, 30-day period).
This report presents the results of condenser analyses based on data from seven different powercompanies, in order to determine potential benefits from improved condenser performance. Thecondenser analyses performed for this project include computing condenser fouling rates and thenusing the fouling rates to compute optimized condenser cleaning schedules as well as the associatedbenefits that would be achieved with improved condenser performance. These analyses predict thatsignificant fuel savings are possible with improved condenser performance. The methodologyemployed for these analyses could serve as the basis for a condenser performance monitoringprogram. This would help power companies improve condenser performance and create objectiveperformance metrics to help sustain high condenser performance.
Keywords: Apparent Cleanliness Factor, Back Pressure, Cleanliness Factor, Condenser Fouling, CondenserCirculating Water, Condenser Optimization, Condenser Performance, Condenser Pressure,Conductance, Fouling Rate, Micro Fouling, Macro Fouling, Optimized Cleaning Schedule,Optimization, Performance Monitoring, Resistance Summation