The fuel source of many simple and combined-cycle power plants usually comes from a nearby natural gas transmission pipeline at a pressure from 50 to over 70 bar. The use of a turboex-pander instead of throttling equipment offers a promising alternative to regulate the pressure of natural gas introduced to the power plant. Specifically, it helps recover part of the available energy of the compressed gas in the transmission pipeline, increase the power output and efficiency of the gas turbine system, and decrease the fuel use and harmful emissions. In this paper, the addition of such a turboexpander in a gas pressure-reduction station is studied. The recovered power is then used to drive the compression of extra air added to the combustion chamber of a heavy-duty gas turbine. The performance of this configuration is analyzed for a wide range of ambient temperatures using energy and exergy analyses. Fuel energy recovered in this way increases the output power and the efficiency of the gas turbine system by a minimum of 2.5 MW and 0.25%, respectively. The exergy efficiency of the gas turbine system increases by approximately 0.36% and the annual CO2 emissions decrease by 1.3% per MW.
air injection; emission reduction; gas turbine; performance enhancement; turboexpander