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Technical focus: Gas Engine

06/09/2010
Among the unit operations available in ProSimPlus (steady state process simulation software), the Gas Engine module can represent a internal combustion engine running with fuel gas (natural gas, biogas…). This type of engine produces electricity and thermal energy recovered in heat exchangers.


Technical focus: Gas Engine



Gas Engine module


Such pieces of equipment are at the heart of cogeneration and micro-cogeneration systems. Within the context of process design or modeling, this module can be used to analyze the efficiency of a gas engine in terms of energy production (electricity and thermal power given the inlet flow) and economic impact (return on investment). More generally, this module is also used in energetic diagnosis of industrial processes.

The Gas Engine module of ProSimPlus comprises
  - An internal combustion unit (the gas engine per say) which objective is the production of electricity ;
  - A low temperature heat exchanger (called "LT" exchanger) for cooling the engine. This heat exchanger is required for the proper functioning of the engine and uses a cooling fluid that flows between the engine and the exchanger in a close loop ;
  - Two high temperature exchangers (called "HT" exchangers) which utilization is optional.


Gas Engine specification
Fuel and air flows that feed the gas engine are not feed stream in the usual sense of ProSimPlus or of simulation as they are an intrinsic part of the module. Their properties are defined directly in the Gas Engine module configuration window and only an output stream is required for the fumes.
In the context of a global process energetic analysis, the integration of the module to the rest of the flowsheet is made by connecting utilities feed and outlet streams to the exchangers.

Gas Engine module for which all available utilities fluids are defined.

In terms of configuration, ProSimPlus offers a convenient environment to define the engine important parameters, in particular the higher heating value (HHV) of the fuel and its carbon / hydrogen ratio, the excess of air, the air inflow pressure and temperature.
Exchangers associated to the Gas Engine can be calculated from their global UA coefficient, by defining exchange areas of the different sections or from a pinch model.

Click to expand Module configuration window
 
  Click to expand Module exchangers configuration window
 


The module offers several calculation modes to choose from depending on the type of energy that is constrained:
  - The fuel power which results from the product between the fuel flow and its higher heating value (HHV) ;
  - The high temperature power (HT), represented by the heat in the fumes outlet ;
  - The low temperature power (LT), represented by the heat supplied to the cooling fluid.

Unconstrained power yields are calculated either from the energy efficiency specifications (produced power on fuel power ratio), or with correlations function of nominal power (operation at nominal power) or load (degraded mode).
The user can also specify the parameters to calculate the unit yield and to establish a financial balance, taking into account associated investment and maintenance costs.

Results
At convergence, the module calculates
     The fuel flowrate required to reach the specified power level generated by the combustion. Conversely, if the flow is specified, the module calculates the power produced;
     The electric power produced and the thermal power at the fumes (HT power) and at the cooling fluids (LT power);
     Properties of the outlet fumes (flowrate, pressure, temperature, composition);
     The cooling fluid flowrate of the LT exchanger;
     Design characteristics of HT exchangers, according to the different sections (exchanged power, exchange areas, pinch);
     Financial balance on the unit.