Gas turbine, fuel cell techno-economic health analysis
The present study aims at setting the basis for a assessment method in the three principal areas of a power plant, that is its design and off design performance, operations and maintenance strategy and also economics decisions related to profitable operational regimes and project investment. The principles of what is referred to as the novel technology of the two, i.e. the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell are presented, and a series of scenarios are examined from a technical but also a degradation point of view, seeking to identify the relevance of the deterioration mechanisms while at the same time pointing out which components within the prime mover require more attention. In addition a presentation to the various methods that faults in prime movers can be identified is given leading to the isolation of Gas Path Analysis as a good Engine Health Monitoring technique candidate. The work culminates with the economic analysis of a number of configurations developing a method to calculate revenues and applying an appraisal technique utilising a set of financial indices that seek to evaluate the configurations on the basis of profitability. Results showed than Fuel Cell Technology presents attractive characteristics on part load operation, with average efficiency around 50%, an area proven to be weak for the turbine. Further, due to the modular characteristics they can offer alternative modes of operation like that of reduced stack operation. On a component level the anode electrode seems to be the most important one in the cell with the cathode following and the electrolyte being the least important of the three. Finally with respect to the economics it was proven that cells couldn't compete as their production costs are still well above that of Turbines with prices as high as two times that of turbines, resulting in risky, unattractive investments. With reference to the application of GPA on cells, what can be considered as an initial attempt is characterised as successful with a number of approaches having been appraised and faults being detect with respectable accuracy. Linear Root Mean Square Errors were not far away from the critical value of 2 while convergence for Non-Linear approaches was achieved with a small (~ 17) number of iterations.