Cyclic operations of power plants involve varying operating conditions and load levels in response to the fluctuating demand for electricity. While cyclic operations offer flexibility and the ability to respond to changing grid requirements, they present technical, operational, and cost challenges. From a technical perspective, the thermal cycling of plant equipment, including boilers, turbines, and heat exchangers, can lead to increased stress, fatigue, and thermal degradation, reducing the overall equipment life. Proper material selection, design considerations, and maintenance practices are essential to mitigate these issues. Operationally, managing startup and shutdown procedures, optimizing ramp rates, and maintaining stable operation during load changes require careful coordination and control to ensure safe and efficient operation. Additionally, cyclic operations can impact the cost of power generation due to increased maintenance, fuel consumption, and wear and tear on equipment. Therefore, power plant operators must carefully assess the trade-offs between the benefits of cyclic operations and the associated technical, operational, and cost considerations to make informed decisions that balance grid demands, equipment reliability, and economic viability.
- 08 May 2023