A Method and an Algorithm for Comparing the Performance of Reciprocating Engine Power Plants in Electric Power Systems
An increase in the performance of thermal power plants is the most important and pressing issue. Its importance is due to both a permanent rise in the fuel cost and an increase in the fleet of equipment whose service life has expired. In this context, traditional methods designed to maintain the efficient operation of the equipment call for improvement. A good example of that is the recommendations of operating rules and regulations, which suggest establishing the amount of planned maintenance based on the technical condition of the equipment rather than on a set periodicity. This increases the significance of measurements of the equipment diagnostic parameters and justifies the transition to the equipment longevity parameters. Intensive aging leads to an intensive change in energy characteristics of power units and a growing risk of their being improperly loaded. The improvement in the methods of quantitative estimation of plant performance tends to lower the risk of a wrong solution. Some operational problems, however, today are still solved at a qualitative level. These include the identification of significant kinds of attributes, i.e. significant factors influencing the performance; an estimation of the parameters of individual reliability, i.e. reliability of specific equipment; ranking the same equipment according to performance; an assessment of the repair quality, and some others. The improvement in the methods for solving these problems reduces the risk of erroneous solutions, and in the end, decreases the operational costs and enhances the overall performance.
One of the most important facilities in electric power systems is a reciprocating engine power plant (REPP). The undoubted advantages of these plants are mobility, environmental compatibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of operation. There are however neither data on the experience of their operation, nor the methods of comparing their efficiency. The paper presents a method and an algorithm for periodic (monthly) comparison of the performance of large-power reciprocating engine power plants manufactured by Wartsila (Finland) by calculating an integrated index of the significance of realizations of monthly average values of technical and economic indices (TEIs). As a result, the Heads of these power plants (PPs) and the Management of the electric power system are provided with the data on technical and economic indices and receive recommendations for increasing the performance of the plant as methodological support.
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