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STEER (Steam Turbine Efficiency Enhanced Redesign) - A New Patented Design for Steam Turbine Power Plants that Reduces Fossil Fuel Consumption – and Associated Emissions - By More Than 10%. 

Joel Levin's picture
President Escotek, Inc.

I am a physicist who has been an energy management consultant for several decades.  I have developed energy management proposals for more than 100 million square feet of commercial, institutional...

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  • Oct 6, 2021
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STEER (Steam Turbine Efficiency Enhanced Redesign) is a new patented design for steam turbine power plants that reduces the fossil fuel consumption – and associated emissions - of an existing plant by more than 10%. 

In conventional power plants, the thermal energy required to preheat the boiler feedwater is provided by “extraction steam”, partially spent intermediate pressure steam that is extracted from the turbines and then sparged into the feedwater before it enters the boiler.  This system diverts some steam from the turbines and reduces the amount of electricity that is generated by each pound of steam produced.

STEER replaces the steam-driven feedwater preheater with newly developed, state-of-the-art, high efficiency industrial heat pumps (IHPs), enabling the extraction steam to be restored to the turbines to generate more electricity. Source water for the IHPs will be provided through a pumped closed loop heated by a boiler stack economizer.  The state-of-the-art IHPs will raise the temperature of the feedwater as high as 300 F while operating with a COP of 6 or 7.  This measure alone will reduce the fuel consumption – and associated emissions - of the plant by approximately 7%.

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Some of the hot loop water can be diverted to a boiler combustion air preheater that will increase the boiler efficiency by 5%.  Reducing the heating load plus increasing the boiler efficiency will reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of the plant by more than 10% while maintaining the same electric output.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 6, 2021

Would love to see a pilot of this in the field-- where (if anywhere) has this been implemented? 

Joel Levin's picture
Joel Levin on Oct 6, 2021

The patent was just issued in June.  There is little doubt that it will work because we are simply replacing one proven heating source with another one.  I would like to find a partner to do a pilot/demo, and we could probably get funding.  We could even do an inexpensive "proof-of-concept" feasibility demo to partially preheat the feedwater to 160-170 F by installing a conventional industrial heat pump in series with and upstream of the existing feedwater heater - using leaving condenser water as a heat source.  Any ideas or suggestions?

Rory Sweeney's picture
Rory Sweeney on Oct 7, 2021

Hi Joel, thanks for the explanation here... it's amazing the additional bits of efficiency you can continually squeeze out of these processes. If I understand your headline right, you're suggesting this could reduce fuel consumption and subsequent emissions by 10% for the same amount of output. Would the opposite of that apply as well, i.e. 10% more output for the same consumption/emissions?
I see you only mentioned fossil-fuel plants, but the gears turning in my head suggest this might improve things like emissions intensity for traditional thermal generators of all technology types. Are there any plant designs you're aware of where it might not work -- perhaps nuclear?

Joel Levin's picture
Joel Levin on Oct 7, 2021

Rory, Thanks for your interest and enthusiasm.  

 

1. You are correct about the increased output potential.  The reciprocal of the Heat Rate (BTUs/kWh) is kwh/BTU.  A reduction of the heat rate means that more electricity can be generated from the same amount of fuel.  If a power plant reduced its heat rate by 10%, it could increase its output electricity (and gross revenue) by ~ 11% without increasing its fuel cost.  The problem is the capacity to handle the additional output may be a problem.  It might be necessary to add more power plant infrastructure to handle the additional electricity.  The payback will depend on how much excess capacity is available without major capital investment.

 

2. With regard to other applications, they are legion!  One obvious example is the the new industrial heat pumps can reach output temperature greater than 300 F.  Consequently all of the low and medium pressure steam boilers in both industry and commercial buildings can be converted from fossil fuel to very high efficiency industrial heat pumps.  The list goes on.......

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Oct 11, 2021

Might want to contact the folks at EVERGY (old Kansas City Power and light). They have a number of big coal units and might be a way to get DOE funding for deployment of a proof of concept in a MidWest location Also, might want to contact offices of Joe Mansion and John Barrasso (they Senate Energy & Environment Committee); both come from coal producing states. My thinking is a way for DOE and Biden administration to demonstrate they are committed to even-handed CO2 reductions and that can be politically useful in the MidWest. 

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