Asked in EnergyEnergy Conservation
Operation of a combined cycle power plant?
March 10, 2010 3:59PM
A combined cycle power plant has multiple thermodynamic cycles. This increases efficiency.
For example, a gas turbine can be used to produce electricity, but only about 40% of the heat is actually converted in the process. 60% of the heat is lost, and in a single cycle plant would be considered waste heat. In a combined cycle plant, that waste heat could be used to drive a second, steam turbine to produce more electricity. In such a case, the efficiency could be increased from 40% to nearly 60%.
It is possible to go further. The waste heat from the combined cycle electric plant can be used to heat buildings, for instance, increasing overall efficiency to more than 65%. This is called Cogeneration.