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Energy Conservation

Operation of a combined cycle power plant?

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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.