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Heat Recovery Steam Generators

Another operating system widely being utilized in the industry today is the combined cycle HRSG. HRSG’s are typically classified into one of two types defined by the orientation of the exhaust gas flow: horizontal or vertical. Most HRSG’s in North America are horizontal arrangements which feature natural circulation, typically consisting of multi-pressure steam systems – high-pressure (HP), intermediate-pressure (IP), and low-pressure (LP). Smaller units, such as peaking plants, may have a dual pressure system. Larger, triple pressure units often add a reheat system to further boost the overall cycle’s thermal efficiency. These new breeds of HRSG’s were designed to operate at substantially higher flue-gas temperatures and steam pressures utilizing advanced, and for the most part, untested, boiler steels. The end result of these advances have yielded higher combined cycle efficiencies, however, they have also created higher thermal stresses, fatigue cracking, creep damage, and corrosion concerns, particularly as units designed for base load were forced into cycling duty. These problems can manifest themselves within a few short years of commissioning and cause expensive and time-consuming repairs, making the need for a tracking and management program even more of a necessity.

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