Railways NTPC (Technical Ability) Power Plant Engineering

Power Plant Engineering

Category : Railways

Power Plant Engineering


  • Power engineering is a subfield of energy engineering that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electric power and the electrical devices connected to such systems including generators, motors and transformers.
  • Although much of the field is concerned with the problems of three-phase AC power - the standard for large scale power transmission and distribution across the modem world \[-\,a\] significant fraction of the field is concerned with the conversion between AC and DC power and the development of specialized power systems such as those used in aircraft or for electric railway networks.
  • It was a subfield of electrical engineering before the emergence of energy engineering.
  • Electricity became a subject of scientific interest in the late 17th century with the work of William Gilbert.
  • Over the next two centuries a number of important
  • Discoveries were made including the incandescent light bulb and the voltaic pile. Probably the greatest discover with respect to power engineering came from Michael faraday who in 1831 discovered that a change in magnetic flux induces an electromotive force in a loop of wire-a principle known as electromagnetic induction that helps explain how generators and transformers work.
  • In 1881 two electricians built the world's first power station at Godalming in England.
  • The Edison Electric Light Company, developed the first steam powered electric power station on Pearl Street in New York City.
  • In 1885 the Italian physicist and electrical engineer Galileo Ferraris demonstrated an induction motor and in 1887 and 1888 the Serbian-American engineer Nikola Tesla filed a range of patents related to power systems including one for a practical two-phase induction motor which Westinghouse licensed for his AC system
  • By 1890 the power industry had flourished and power companies had built literally thousands of power systems (both direct and alternating current) in the United States and Europe \[-\] these networks were effectively dedicated to providing electric lighting.
  • In 1891, Westinghouse installed the first major power system that was designed to drive an electric motor and not just provide electric lighting. The installation powered a 100 horsepower (75 kW) synchronous motor at Telluride, Colorado with the motor being started by a Tesla induction motor.
  • Although the 1880s and 1890s were seminal decades in the field, developments in power engineering continued throughout the 20th and 21st century. In 1936 the first commercial high-voltage direct current (HVDC) line using mercury-arc valves was built between Schenectady and Mechanicville, New York.
  • In 1957 Siemens demonstrated the first solid-state rectifier however it was not until the early 1970s that this technology was used in commercial power systems.
  • In 1959 Westinghouse demonstrated the first circuit breaker that used SF6 as the interrupting medium. SF6 is a far superior dielectric to air and, in recent times, its use has been extended to produce far more compact switching equipment and transformers.
  • Many important developments also came from extending innovations in the ICT field to the power engineering field. For example, the development of computers meant load flow studies could be run more efficiently allowing for much better planning of power systems. Advances in information technology and telecommunication also allowed for much better remote control of the power system's switchgear and generators.
  • There are currently 56,000 power engineers currently employed in the province of Ontario. Electric power is the mathematical product of two quantities: current and voltage. These two quantities can vary with respect to time (AC power) or can be kept at constant levels (DC power).
  • Most refrigerators, air conditioners, pumps and industrial machinery use AC power whereas computers and digital equipment use DC power (the digital devices you plug into the mains typically have an internal or external power adapter to convert from AC to DC power).
  • AC power has the advantage of being easy to transform between voltages and is able to be generated and utilized by brushless machinery.
  • DC power remains the only practical choice in digital systems and can be more economical to transmit over long distances at very high voltages (see HVDC).
  • The ability to easily transform the voltage of AC power is important for two reasons: Firstly, power can be transmitted over long distances with less loss at higher voltages. So in power networks where generation is distant from the load, it is desirable to step-up the voltage of power at the generation point and then step-down the voltage near the load.
  • Secondly, it is often more economical to install turbines that produce higher voltages than would be used by most appliances, so the ability to easily transform voltages means this mismatch between voltages can be easily managed.
  • Solid state devices, which are products of the semiconductor revolution, make it possible to transform DC power to different voltages, build brushless DC machines and convert between AC and DC power.
  • Power Engineering deals with the generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electricity as well as the design of a range of related devices. These include transformers, electric generators, electric motors and power electronics.
  • The power grid is an electrical network that connects a variety of electric generators to the users of electric power. Users purchase electricity from the grid so that they do not need to generate their own.
  • Power engineers may work on the design and maintenance of the power grid as well as the power systems that connect to it.
  • Such systems are called on-grid power systems and may supply the grid with additional power, draw power from the grid or do both. The grid is designed and managed using software that performs simulations of power flows.
  • Power engineers may also work on systems that do not connect to the grid. These systems are called off-grid power systems and may be used in preference to on-grid systems for a variety of reasons.
  • Today, most grids adopt three-phase electric power with alternating current. This choice can be partly attributed to the ease with which this type of power can be generated, transformed and used.
  • However, many larger industries and organizations still prefer to receive the three-phase power directly because it can be used to drive highly efficient electric motors such as three-phase induction motors.
  • Transformers play an important role in power transmission because they allow power to be converted to and from higher voltages. This is important because higher voltages suffer less power loss during transmission.
  • This is because higher voltages allow for lower current to deliver the same amount of power, as power is the product of the two. Thus, as the voltage steps up, the current steps down. It is the current flowing through the components that result in both the losses and the subsequent heating.
  • These losses, appearing in the form of heat, are equal to the current squared times the electrical resistance through which the current flows, so as the voltage goes up the losses are dramatically reduced.
  • For these reasons, electrical substations exist throughout power grids to convert power to higher voltages before transmission and to lower voltages suitable for appliances after transmission.
  • Generation of electrical power is a process whereby energy is transformed into an electrical form. There are several different transformation processes, among which are chemical, photo-voltaic, and electromechanical.
  • Electromechanical energy conversion is used in converting energy from coal, petroleum, natural gas, uranium into electrical energy. Of these, all except the wind energy conversion process take advantage of the synchronous AC generator coupled to a steam, gas or hydro turbine such that the turbine converts steam, gas, or water flow into rotational energy, and the synchronous generator then converts the rotational energy of the turbine into electrical energy.             
  • It is the turbine-generator conversion process that is by far most economical and consequently most common in the industry today.
  • The AC synchronous machine is the most common technology for generating electrical energy. It is called synchronous because the composite magnetic field produced by the three stator windings rotate at the same speed as the magnetic field produced by the field winding on the rotor.        
  • A simplified circuit model is used to analyze steady-state operating conditions for a synchronous machine. The phasor diagram is an effective tool for visualizing the relationships between internal voltage, armature current and terminal voltage.
  • The excitation control system is used on synchronous machines to regulate terminal voltage, and the turbine governor system is used to regulate the speed of the machine. However, in highly interconnected systems such as the "Western system", the "Texas system" and the "Eastern system", one machine will usually be assigned as the so-called "swing machine", and which generation may be increased or decreased to compensate for small changes in load, thereby maintaining the system frequency at precisely 60 Hz.      
  • The operating costs of generating electrical energy is determined by the fuel cost and the efficiency of the power station. The efficiency depends on generation level and can be obtained from the heat rate curve.
  • We may also obtain the incremental cost curve from the heat rate curve. Economic dispatch is the process allocating the required load demand between the available generation units such that the cost of operation is minimized.             
  • Emission dispatch is the process of allocating the required load demand between the available generation units such that air pollution occurring from operation is minimized. In large systems, particularly in the West a combination of economic and emission dispatch may be used.                                
  • The electricity is transported to load locations from a power station to a transmission subsystem. Therefore we may think of the transmission system as providing the medium of transportation for electric energy.
  • The transmission system may be subdivided into the bulk transmission system and the sub-transmission system. The functions of the bulk transmission are to interconnect generators, to interconnect various areas of the network, and to transfer electrical energy from the generators to the major load centers.
  • This portion of the system is called "bulk" because it delivers energy only to so-called bulk loads such as the distribution system of a town, city, or large industrial plant. The function of the sub-transmission system is to interconnect the bulk power system with the distribution system.
  • Transmission circuits may be built either underground or overhead. Underground cables are used predominantly in urban areas where acquisition of overhead rights of way are costly or not possible.
  • They are also used for transmission under rivers, lakes and bays. Overhead transmission is used otherwise because, for a given voltage level, overhead conductors are much less expensive than underground cables.
  • The transmission system is a highly integrated system. It is referred to as the substation equipment and the transmission lines. The substation equipment contain the transformers, relays, and circuit breakers.
  • Transformers are important static devices which transfer electrical energy from one circuit to another in the transmission subsystem. Transformers are used to step up the voltage on the transmission line to reduce the power loss which is dissipated on the way.
  • A relay is functionally a level-detector; they perform a switching action when the input voltage (or current meets or exceeds a specific and adjustable value. A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit.
  • A change in the status of any one component can significantly affect the operation of the entire system. Without adequate contact protection, the occurrence of undesired electric arcing causes significant degradation of the contacts, which suffer serious damage.
  • There are three possible causes for power flow limitations to a transmission line. These causes are thermal overload, voltage instability, and rotor angle instability. Thermal overload is caused by excessive current flow in a circuit causing overheating.
  • Voltage instability is said to occur when the power required to maintain voltages at or above acceptable levels exceeds the available power.
  • Rotor angle instability is a dynamic problem that may occur following faults, such as short circuit, in the transmission system. It may also occur tens of seconds after a fault due to poorly damped or undamped oscillatory response of the rotor motion.
  • The distribution system transports the power from the transmission system/substation to the customer. Distribution feeders can be radial or networked in an open loop configuration with a single or multiple alternate sources.
  • Rural systems tend to be of the former and urban systems the latter. The equipment associated with the distribution system usually begins downstream of the distribution feeder circuit breaker.
  • The transformer and circuit breaker are usually under the jurisdiction of a "substations department". The distribution feeders consist of combinations of overhead and underground conductor, 3 phase and single phase switches with load break and non-load break ability, relayed protective devices, fuses, transformers (to utilization voltage), surge arresters, voltage regulators and capacitors.
  • Slip-ring induction motors are usually started with full- line voltage across the stator terminals and by introducing variable resistor in each phase of the rotor circuit. The external resistances introduced in each phase of the rotor circuit not only reduces the current at the starting instant but increases the starting torque also due to improvement in pf.
  • Squirrel cage induction motor is suitable for constant speed industrial drives of small power where speed control is not required and where starting torque requirements are of medium or low value, such as for printing machinery, flour mills and other shaft drives of small power.
  • Wound rotor (or slip-ring) induction motors are used for loads requiring severe starting conditions or for loads requiring speed control such as for driving line shafts, lifts, pumps, generators, winding machines, cranes, hoists, elevators, compressors, small electric excavators, printing presses, turn tables, strokers, large ventilating fans, crushers etc.
  • An induction motor derives its name from the fact that the current in the rotor conductors is induced by the motion of rotor conductors relative to the magnetic field developed by the stator currents.
  • Two types of 3-phase induction motors are (i) squirrel cage and (ii) wound rotor or slip-ring induction motors. Squirrel cage induction motor is generally preferred.

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Notes - Power Plant Engineering

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