Power generation always remains inherent for the developmental framework of any nation or industry. This is why countries with surplus power generation tend to lead the world in various sectors. And when it comes to power generation, steam turbines lead the industry by allowing power companies to count on low-cost power. Low cost of installation, service and maintenance and ease of operations make power generation through steam turbines a wonderful solution.
Today, there are much advanced and powerful steam turbines that are capable of generating electricity effectively while reducing emissions. Steam turbines extract energy from steam and transform it into mechanical work by expanding the steam from high pressure to low pressure. During the process, high pressure steam flows through the turbine blades and turns the turbine shaft or rotor. The shaft is connected to an electric generator for producing electricity.
For small & mid-scale industrial applications, steam turbines are the perfect solutions as they are primarily used to generate power between 1 to 200 MW. The amount of power these turbines generate is directly proportional to the steam pressure drop in the turbine. It means the larger the pressure drop of the steam, the larger the output capacity of the turbine.
A positive fact about the process is that turbines themselves don’t generate any emissions and emissions are only from the boilers that are used to produce steam.
There are primarily two types of steam turbines – condensing and non-condensing/Back pressure. In condensing type, turbine efficiency remains high while in case of non-condensing type, turbine efficiency remains lesser as compared with condensing type. Non-condensing steam turbines are found to very cost effective when compared with Pressure Reduction Valves (PRV), thus provides Power and Heat balance in a process industry. . However the steam turbine type is recommended considering the process requirements.
Other turbine types include Extraction, Reheat and Induction Steam Turbines. The most common among them are the Extraction type where steam is released from turbine stages for the process needs. The Reheat turbines improves the cycle efficiency as the steam from the High pressure side is sent to the boiler for further heating and then sent back to the turbine for expansion. The induction turbines is to further enhance the power output by introducing low pressure steam at intermediate pressure stages.
Power generation through steam turbines is found to be one of the easily applied Combine Heat and Power (CHP) technologies available today and has shorter paybacks. Considering their valuable advantages, these turbines are hugely popular among power generation companies and industries.