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Transmitter Troubles 10 • Compressor Surge 14 • ASME: Harmonic Impacts 20

ENERGY-TECH A WoodwardBizMedia Publication

MAY 2014

Dedicated to the Engineering, Operations & Maintenance of Electric Power Plants In Association with the ASME Power Division

Hydrogen safety: Large turbogenerators

ENERGYT ECH P.O. Box 388 • Dubuque, IA 52004-0388 800.977.0474 • Fax: 563.588.3848 Email: Energy-Tech (ISSN# 2330-0191) is published monthly in print and digital format except in January and July, when it is published in digital format only by WoodwardBizMedia, a division of Woodward Communications, Inc. WoodwardBizMedia assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies, errors or advertising content. Entire contents © 2014 WoodwardBizMedia. All rights reserved; reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.



By Steve Kilmartin, E/One Utility Systems


Editorial Board ( Kris Brandt – Rockwell Automation Bill Moore – Director, Technical Service, National Electric Coil Ram Madugula – Executive Vice President, Power Engineers Collaborative, LLC Kuda Mutama – Engineering Manager, TS Power Plant Editorial views expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of Energy-Tech magazine or WoodwardBizMedia.




May 2014

Centrifugal compressor surge and compressed air systems

Machine Doctor

Tilting pad bearing modifications rotordynamic analysis By Patrick J. Smith, Energy-Tech contributor



Impact of harmonics from distributed energy resources on distribution networks By Reza Arghandeh, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif.; Ahmet Onen, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; Jaesung Jung, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; Danling Cheng, EDD Inc., Blacksburg, Va.; Robert Broadwater, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; and Virgilio Centeno, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

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Maintenance Matters

By DeVon A. Washington, Ph.D., Consumers Energy

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The trouble with transmitters By Mike Schultz and Stace Smith, The Asset Performance Group

Printed in the U.S.A. Group Publisher Karen Ruden – General Manager Randy Rodgers – Managing Editor Andrea Hauser –

Hydrogen safety for large turbo-generators

iNdUstrY NotEs

4 30 31

Editor’s Note and Calendar Advertisers’ Index Energy Showcase

oN tHE WEB Did you miss our April webinar, Proper level control for feedwater heaters, with Mike Catapano and Eric Svensson? Download it for free at and find other great webinars and technical papers too. Cover photo contributed by E/One Utility Systems.


Editor’s Note

The cold conundrum Winter demand calls more plants into service – so what happens next year? We are finally enjoying spring in the Midwest – and not a moment too soon. Everybody was getting a little edgy. Now we can turn off the furnace, crack the windows and open the utility bills showing how much energy it took to keep our homes warm during the weeks of negative temps. It isn’t pretty, but it would’ve been worse if there hadn’t been any power at all. In fact, there was so much demand that utilities had to call older coal-fired plants into service to meet it. Plants that in a few months or the coming year will be closed due to new emissions regulations. This begs the question of where that energy will come from during next year’s frigid temps. Will utilities still be able to meet demand, and what happens if they can’t? Rolling blackouts are never fun, but at -20°F, they’re dangerous. Maybe this is the painful part of change – the part that requires growth out of the old standard. Maybe it will spur more energy efficiency upgrades in homes and buildings, or more careful monitoring of the thermostat. And while coal remains the largest source of fuel for electric generation, cheap natural gas is close on its heels, accounting for more than 50 percent of new generating capacity in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Whether natural gas will remain cheap is a debatable point, though, as well as whether we have enough to make it a primary fuel for our power needs. Reading about all of this reinforces the importance of energy efficiency to me – an aspect of our country’s power use that gets very little press. It isn’t very exciting to talk about new energy efficient light bulbs, Energy Star appliances or double-paned windows, but it all adds up to less energy demand and less likelihood of not having enough for everyone. It also means those winter heating bills might not be quite so painful, and that’s a pretty exciting thought to me. What do you think about energy efficiency incentives? Are they worth it? Have you applied some in your home? Email me at and let me know, in the meantime, thanks for reading.

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May 2014

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Hydrogen safety for large turbo-generators By Steve Kilmartin, E/One Utility Systems

The need for hydrogen Central power stations have been producing electric power and supplying it to a customer base since the early 1880s. As the demand for power increased, so did the physical size of air cooled electric generators — more megawatts required more iron. In the early 1930s, it became apparent that a better method of cooling these large turbo generators was required and the first hydrogen cooled generator was introduced. Hydrogen replaced air as a cooling agent principally because of its low density and superior cooling properties. Hydrogen is the lightest known gas and has the lowest density of any stable gas. Because hydrogen is one quarter the density of air, wind resistant losses are greatly reduced and efficiencies are gained. Hydrogen also has a thermal conductivity of nearly 7x that of air, resulting in much better heat transfer through forced convention. (Table 1)


Using hydrogen as a cooling medium has additional benefits. Because the generator case is a sealed pressure vessel, the internal components are less likely to be affected by outside contaminants. Also, pressurized hydrogen will suppress partial discharge and increase the amount of voltage required to cause a component breakdown. When used properly, hydrogen is 14x more efficient than air in removing heat and greatly reduces windage friction losses. However, a mixture of hydrogen in air of between 5 percent and 75 percent becomes very explosive. Also, the generator efficiency is reduced as the purity of the hydrogen drops. To ensure safe and efficient operation of the generator, the hydrogen purity should be maintained above 97 percent.

From bottle to case The safe operation of hydrogen cooled generators requires proper practices be followed in order to minimize the chances May 2014

FEATURES of hydrogen and air ever mixing. The key to safe operation is to never allow a flammable mixture to exist, prevent hydrogen leaks and to eliminate the possible potential sources of ignition. Three different gases are required to maintain and operate hydrogen cooled generators. The generator will be filled with air during maintenance; an inert gas is used as an intermediate gas so that air and hydrogen do not mix; and hydrogen is used during normal operation. The air used must be clean and dry and typically comes from the power plant’s instrument air supply system. Some plants will install an air dryer between the plant instrument air supply and the generator to ensure a clean, dry air supply. The inert gas used to prevent the mixture of hydrogen and air has traditionally been carbon dioxide (CO2); however, some power plants and OEMs are now using nitrogen or argon. If CO2 is used as the intermediate gas, care should be taken to minimize the chances of freezing and thermal shock to the generator. Some utilities will incorporate a CO2 vaporizer, which prevents the CO2 from freezing. Having a sufficient amount of CO2 available on site is very important in order to purge every generator, should a situation require emergency purging of each generator. Pure, dry hydrogen (H2) is used during normal operation of the generator. Whether the H2 comes from bottles, bulk tank or an on-site hydrogen generator, the H2 should be 99.997 percent pure with a dew point of less than -10°C.

Table 1 – Hydrogen’s Advantages As Cooling Agent Molecular Weight

Specific Heat Capacity










Hydrogen at 30 psig



Hydrogen at 45 psig






Cooling Medium

Table 1

A gas manifold system controls the flow of gases from the bulk supplies to the generator case. (Figure 2) The manifold also vents gases from the generator. Most gas manifolds incorporate a mechanical system that prevents hydrogen and air from being supplied to the generator at the same time.

Gassing and degassing After maintenance, the generator case will be filled with air. One of the last tasks performed, prior to gassing the generator, is performing a leak test using pressurized air. During this test it is important to include as much of the generator gas system as possible to ensure that the auxiliary systems also are

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Figure 2. P&ID

free from leaks. Because hydrogen is much more difficult to contain vs. air, checking for leaks after admitting hydrogen into the generator is important. If a standard operating procedure (SOP) specifically for checking for hydrogen leaks is not available, one should be created. As mentioned, the generator will be filled with air after maintenance and ensuring that the air is completely removed prior to filling with hydrogen is critical. This is accomplished by replacing the air with an inert gas. There are two gas distribution pipes, called headers, within the generator. One header is located at the top of the generator and one header is located at the bottom of the generator. For the procedure described in this article, the top header will be used for the admission of hydrogen and air and the bottom header will be used for the admission of carbon dioxide. Depending on the header that is being used to admit gas, the other header will be used for a vent. To remove air from the generator case, the top header is open to vent and the bottom header is connected to the car8

bon dioxide supply. Carbon dioxide is slowly admitted into the generator case in order to maintain a blanket between the heavier carbon dioxide gas and lighter air. Once the air has been completely removed from the generator case, the bottom header is connected to vent and the top header is connected to the hydrogen supply. Hydrogen is then admitted slowly into the generator case in order to maintain the blanket between the heavier carbon dioxide gas and lighter hydrogen. The gassing process is now complete and the generator is ready for operation.

Hydrogen seals The hydrogen seals are two of the most critical components to contain the hydrogen in the generator case and keep air out of the generator case. One seal is on the exciter end of the generator and one is on the turbine end. Each seal uses pressurized oil to create a seal between the generator enclosure and the rotating field. The seal oil for an auxiliary skid is supplied at a higher pressure than the hydrogen case pressure to ensure the May 2014

FEATURES Safe Operating Practices • A detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be available for purging the generator • A detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be available for locating leaks, qualifying the hydrogen leak and repairing the hydrogen leak • The hydrogen system Piping and Instrumentation Drawing (P&ID) should be accurate and up to date • All hydrogen auxiliary system components should be properly labeled and agree with the P&ID • All hydrogen auxiliary system instrumentation should be operating properly and calibrated • All hydrogen auxiliary system instrumentation should be third party certified to be used in a hazardous area • Continuous monitoring of hydrogen case pressure and hydrogen purity • Continuous monitoring of hydrogen usage • Always maintain a sufficient supply of carbon dioxide to purge every generator on site, should the need arise • The generator and hydrogen auxiliary system should be pressure tested with air or CO2 prior to pressurizing with hydrogen • A manifold system should be used that will prevent the possibility of an air/hydrogen mixture • Always maintain a positive hydrogen pressure inside the generator to prevent air from entering • No welding should be done on the hydrogen system or seal oil system while there is hydrogen in the generator • Low explosive limit (LEL)detectors should be incorporated in areas where hydrogen could accumulate oil flows in the direction of the generator case. A labyrinth seal prevents oil from entering the generator. A crucial component in the seal oil system is the differential pressure regulator, which maintains the proper differential pressure between the seal oil pressure and hydrogen case pressure. Properly operating seal oil systems will help prevent the possibility of an explosive mixture of hydrogen and air from occurring inside the generator case.

Safe generator operation When proper procedures are followed, hydrogen-cooled synchronous electric generators are generally reliable and safe. However, not following standard operating procedures (SOP) can lead to catastrophic results. Recent events illustrate that not following SOPs results in extensive damage to the plant, equipment and loss of life. All generators are equipped with instrumentation to monitor vital signs such as voltage, amperage, vars, temperature and vibrations. On the hydrogen system, monitoring case pressure, fan differential pressure, hydrogen supply pressure, carbon dioxide supply pressure, hydrogen purity, dew point and overheating are common. It is important to note that any instrumentation used in a hydrogen environment, also referred to as a hazardous area, should be third party certified to be used in such an environment. Case pressure and hydrogen purity are critical measurements to assist in the safe operation of the generator. It also is very important to accurately monitor hydrogen usage, which might be accomplished using a mass flow transmitter installed in the hydrogen supply line or by monitoring the number of bottles of hydrogen used daily. Hydrogen usage will be a key indicator should a hydrogen leak develop. As noted, when the purity of hydrogen drops below 74 percent and the contaminating gas is air, the mixture is very explosive. Hydrogen purity must be monitored continuously and one should never assume that because pure hydrogen is being put into the generator, it will remain pure.

The above graphic indicates practices that should be followed to ensure the safe operation of hydrogen cooled generators. During a generator’s life, meeting evolving safety standards for hazardous areas and integrating technologies into cost-effective packages that allow installation work to be accomplished within the more dominant, critical path build and turbine outage periods remain critical endeavors. As always, safety and risk mitigation should remain at the top of the priority list, which includes production and performance efficiencies, as well as environmental considerations. ~ Steve Kilmartin is the director of products and markets for E/One’s Utility Systems business. Considered a leading expert in the field of generator monitoring and maintenance, he has authored numerous papers, including work as principal investigator for the “EPRI-TurbineGenerator Auxiliary Systems, Volume 3: Generator Hydrogen System Maintenance Guide.” Kilmartin began his career with E/One in 1988 as an instrumentation specialist. Prior to that, he worked in the instrument shop at GE, and also as an applications engineer at Mechanical Technology Incorporated in New York. His career has taken him in and around large machines, and around the world for more than 30 years. You may contact him by emailing

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The trouble with transmitters Proper maintenance requires focusing on what the device does, not what it is By Mike Schultz and Stace Smith, The Asset Performance Group

Maintenance, at its most basic level, is a set of tasks that rectly, can help organizations improve the maintenance of their preserves the functions of a piece of equipment at a desired transmitters and more. standard of performance. RCM was originally developed for the aviation industry in We take the car in for an oil change to preserve the antithe 1970s and showed that designers and tradespeople in aviwear capabilities of the engine so it can continue to get us ation maintenance actually had an incorrect understanding of from point A to point B at a certain speed and in a certain how equipment behaves, the causes of equipment failures and amount of time. We flush the sediment from a domestic hot how to prevent them. The rigorous analysis required by RCM water heater to preserve its ability to heat water to a desired gave them insights that resulted in better maintenance programs. temperature within a certain timeframe at a desired efficiency While we don’t use the principles of RCM to keep planes and noise level. We calibrate the output of a temperature transin the sky, it can help us understand what different systems mitter to preserve its ability to send an accurate signal that is and pieces of equipment do, how they could fail and what to used by other equipment and operations staff to control prodo about it. Even if you don’t apply formal RCM across your cesses, trigger safety and environmental controls and warn that plant, the concepts of RCM will be valuable in helping you intervention or repair is required. understand your equipment and how you can get the most It’s only when we fully understand the functions we’re from it. preserving that we can take the appropriate steps to maintain Introducing our those functions. The ‘s’ on ‘func“It’s only when we fully understand the transmitter tions’ is intentional. One piece The transmitter we use in functions we’re preserving that we can of equipment doesn’t necessarily this article is a temperature take the appropriate steps to maintain equal one function. In fact, for transmitter on a water pumpone piece of equipment there those functions.” ing system that delivers process could be multiple functions, water from a reservoir to a multiple ways it could fail, muldownstream process. The water tiple consequences of failure and — you guessed it — multiple is heated by a steam coil in the reservoir and must be delivered tasks to prevent the failure. at a temperature between 70°C and 80°C. Temperatures below A transmitter, in fact, is a perfect example to use to explore 70°C will impact product quality if left for long periods of this concept. Not only have transmitters become increasingly time. Temperatures above 80°C will immediately compromise common in industry, especially as automation increases, but if quality, might damage process equipment and could result in not maintained properly, they can be a cause of catastrophic safety or environmental hazards. If water isn’t delivered to the failures that could result in costly downtime, environmental downstream process, the process will shut down. degradation and even loss of life. And they are among the best The transmitter provides an input signal into the temexamples of equipment with multiple functions, failure effects perature control loop and to a circuit designed to alarm at and failure consequences. temperatures below 70°C, and both alarm and shut down the In this article we will discuss why simply “calibrating the process if the temperature exceeds 80°C. The temperature also transmitter” because a work order tells us to isn’t enough when displays on the operator’s HMI. it comes to a transmitter maintenance program. To develop a quality transmitter maintenance routine, we have to understand The jobs of the transmitter each of the transmitter’s functions, what happens if each funcThe first step in developing a world-class maintenance protion fails, and what can and should be done — if anything — to gram for our temperature transmitter is to identify the various reduce the likelihood of each failure to a tolerable level. jobs — or functions — it has. This requires a shift in focus from what the transmitter is to what it does. The roots of our approach It becomes easier to identify the functions of a piece of At APG, we help clients get the best value from their assets equipment if we think of it as part of a larger system. It’s comwhile keeping people and the environment safe. One of the mon maintenance-speak to say, “I’m calibrating the transmitter,” recurring issues we see in industry is transmitters that are but really we’re calibrating the output of the transmitter, which incorrectly maintained. We have found that the principles of is an input into a broader system. This system (alarming, for Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), when applied corexample) is much more important than the transmitter itself.


May 2014

FEATURES With this perspective in mind, the 4 jobs (or functions) of the transmitter, as part of a larger system, are: • To supply process water at between 70°C and 80°C to the downstream process. • To indicate the temperature of the process water within 2 percent of actual on the HMI. • To be capable of alarming on the HMI in the event the water temperature drops below 70°C. • To be capable of alarming on the HMI and shutting down the process in the event the water temperature exceeds 80°C.

How the transmitter can fail, and what to do about it Now that we know what a transmitter’s jobs are, we can identify the specific ways the transmitter might not meet our performance expectations, what consequences that could have and — given those consequences — what specific maintenance tasks are worth doing to deal with each consequence. As you’ll see, identical failures can have different consequences, depending on the function that has been compromised. Function 1 – To supply water at between 70°C and 80°C to the downstream process. Failure: Temperature transmitter calibration drifts Effects and consequences: If the temperature transmitter drifts high, it will tell the temperature control system that the water temperature is warmer than it actually is, preventing the control system from maintaining water temperature within the desired range. If the actual water temperature is below 70°C but the transmitter thinks the water is, for example, 75°C, it might not respond fast enough to prevent quality defects in the downstream process. As a result, we would categorize this as an operational consequence for the company, since it affects the bottom line. If the temperature transmitter drifts low, the temperature control system will behave as if the water temperature is lower than it actually is. If the actual water temperature exceeds 80°C but the transmitter thinks the water is 75°C, the control system might not react in time to prevent quality defects and safety and environmental impacts — which are undeniable operational consequences. Maintenance task: To prevent the transmitter from drifting high or low, maintenance should perform an on-condition task to cali-

brate the transmitter on a predetermined interval. On-condition maintenance measures the output of a device, compares that value to a known standard, and adjusts it if the device is out of tolerance. This will ensure the drift doesn’t wander beyond the desired range, thereby avoiding associated manufacturing defects. Now let’s examine this same failure for the second function. Function 2 – To indicate the temperature of the process water within 2 percent of actual on the HMI. Failure: Temperature transmitter calibration drifts

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FEATURES We already calibrate our transmitters How understanding builds a better maintenance plan Let’s say your computerized maintenance management system already regularly generates a “calibrate transmitter” task. Why go through this process to confirm that you’re already doing the right thing? The answer is simple. If the maintenance team doesn’t know why it’s doing the calibration task, there can be important consequences. First, team members who don’t understand the function of the transmitter might think the calibration task is discretionary and prioritize other things. They might perform the task incorrectly. Or they might not perform the task at the right time. In each of these cases, there are potentially dire operational, safety and environmental consequences. On the flip side, not understanding the function of the transmitter might mean team members perform the calibration task when it isn’t warranted, which might take equipment offline unnecessarily and increase the probability of introducing problems. For example, if your transmitter came with a temperature reading but there isn’t an operational consequence to a high or low reading, then there’s no need to spend time calibrating it. When everyone fully understands the reasons for a maintenance task, it ensures the right work is getting done at the right time. Effect and consequence: Since the temperature display on the HMI is only for the operators’ information, if the calibration drifts and an incorrect temperature is shown on the HMI, it won’t impact the process. Because the only direct cost to the business is the cost of repairing the out-of-calibration transmitter, we’d categorize this as a non-operational consequence. Maintenance task: Because it isn’t impacting the bottom line in a meaningful way, this failure on its own doesn’t justify the cost of performing the on-condition task to calibrate the transmitter. Instead, we’d recommend a “no scheduled maintenance” task. But plant staff should be aware that the transmitter has this function, failure, effect and consequence in case something changes. For example, if the operators are now required to control the process based on the temperature reading on the HMI, they would know to adjust their maintenance tasks to ensure nothing is lost or missed.

Hidden failures — what you don’t know can hurt you Function 3 - To be capable of alarming on the HMI and shutting down the process in the event the water temperature drops below 70°C.


Function 4 - To be capable of alarming on the HMI and shutting down the process in the event the water temperature exceeds 80°C. Our transmitter is an integral component of the alarm circuit and these two functions are among its most important for one reason: when they fail, the failure is hidden. Failure: High or low water temperature alarm circuit fails Effect and consequence: A hidden failure isn’t evident until you need the device to do its job and it doesn’t. If the low temperature or high temperature alarm circuit has failed and the process water temperature stays between 70°C and 80°C, the problem could go undetected indefinitely. If, as a result of a completely separate failure, the temperature drops below 70°C or rises above 80°C, we’ll find out the alarm circuit failed – but only because there have been potentially catastrophic quality, process and safety impacts that could have been prevented if the alarm was working. Maintenance task: Maintenance staff must perform a failure-finding test to validate the operation and set points of the high- and low-alarm and shutdown circuits. If the alarm fails during the test, a subsequent diagnosis will determine if the transmitter is responsible and it will be immediately repaired. These failure-finding tests might include a mock input test where the temperature is raised or lowered to meet the threshold. The test might also confirm the set points by altering the system interface. The testing approach will depend on the importance of the failure and the testing technology available in the system. Failure: Temperature transmitter calibration drifts Failure of the alarm circuit isn’t the only thing that will cause an alarm failure — the transmitter on its own drifting high or low can also be the culprit. Effect and consequence: If the temperature transmitter drifts low (let’s say by 5°C), the high-level alarm system will think the water temperature is less than it really is. If a completely separate process or equipment upset causes water temperature to exceed 80°C, the alarm won’t activate until 85°C and the process will shut down too late, with a potential to impact safety, equipment health and the manufactured product. This is a hidden consequence, since the operating team won’t know about the transmitter failure until the second failure occurs. If the temperature transmitter drifts high, resulting in a temperature reading that is higher than the actual, there is the potential for the alarm to sound too late to prevent quality problems if a second failure causes the water temperature to drop below 70°C. It’s a less serious hidden consequence, but still worth preventing. Maintenance task: Perform an on-condition task to calibrate the transmitter on a predetermined interval. This task will ensure the drift doesn’t wander beyond the desired range, thereby increasing the availability of this component in the protective system. This will reduce the probability of a multiple

May 2014

FEATURES failure and associated manufacturing defects and increased risk to health and safety.

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Conclusion By focusing on what something does, rather than what it is, we’re able to stay in touch with the real reason we do maintenance — to preserve function at a desired performance standard. In the case of the multi-function transmitter, our analysis has shown that the exact same failure — calibration drift — can have significantly different consequences (some minimal, some potentially catastrophic and some hidden) and, as a result, require different maintenance tasks. We’ve also shown that calibration is a single task that can help preserve three important functions of the transmitter. Finally, we’ve pointed out that calibration on its own isn’t enough. The maintenance team should also be doing a failure-finding test to protect against a potentially catastrophic hidden failure in the alarm circuit. It’s only when we thoroughly understand what a device is required to do in the context of the overall process (its function), what causes it to fail to perform that function, and what happens when that failure occurs (the consequence), that we are well positioned to clearly define the most effective and efficient plan to identify and prevent potential failures. Without this understanding, we risk creating maintenance programs that result in too much maintenance — which impacts how efficiently the program uses money and personnel — or too little maintenance — which results in unanticipated failures and breakdowns. What we’re suggesting is controversial in some circles. We’d love to hear what you think. Do we need to grow a maintenance program from function on up? Email us at to share your thoughts. ~

Stace Smith is a reliability specialist at APG. Stace is a certified RCM2 Practitioner and has extensive experience conducting RCM2 and other reliability and maintenance analyses in Power Generation, Transmission and other asset intensive industries in North America. You may contact him by emailing

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Mike Schultz is the vice president of Solutions at APG. Schultz has worked in the fields of maintenance and reliability for more than 30 years and is a respected expert on equipment reliability programs. At APG, Schultz performed more than 100 RCM analyses for clients throughout North America and has trained and mentored more than 50 RCM2 facilitators and practitioners. He also teaches courses in PAS 55, Root Cause

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Centrifugal compressor surge and compressed air systems By DeVon A. Washington, PhD

In a powerhouse, several critical processes depend on a consistent reliable supply of compressed air. Compressed air systems in a power plant can be divided into three major categories: (1) house service air, (2) instrument air and (3) soot blowing air. The air supplied by these systems power pneumatic tools and actuators, as well as soot blowers. Providing this essential resource requires the proper selection of a compressor and compressor controls, in addition to a robust system design for the intended application. This article examines the replacement and upgrade of two reciprocating soot blowing air compressors (SBAC) with two centrifugal compressors, one of which is a 100 percent backup, for two 160 MWe generating units. Additionally, it surveys modifications to the corresponding soot blowing system. Once installed, the first centrifugal compressor experienced intermittent periods of surge. It was determined that the intermittent surging was induced by an unfavorable piping configuration and limited receiver tank capacity. A detailed overview is given regarding compressor selection and controls, causes of surge phenomena and key system design modifications implemented to eliminate the surge condition.

Introduction In the 1980s, to comply with stricter emissions regulations, the power industry began to explore burning fuel blends with low sulfur subbituminous coal and bituminous coal. Subbituminous coal has a relatively low ash-fusion temperature and higher heating value (HHV). Burning coal with these properties, in boilers originally designed for bituminous coal, requires a significant increase in soot blowing frequency and duration. (Figure 1) Retrofitting legacy systems originally designed for reciprocating compressors with centrifugal compressors can pose several subtle but significant challenges for design and plant engineers. Some of these issues are presented here. Background The two generating units under consideration were commissioned in 1955 and 1958, respectively; both units share a common soot blowing system. Their nameplate capacities are approximately 160 MWe each. The original soot blowing system comprised furnace-wall and convection-surface soot blowers, two reciprocating compressors, primary and secondary receiver tanks, and a piping network. (Figure 2) Sustaining optimum boiler performance while burning fuel blends with increased fractions of Powder River Basin (PRB) coal, strained the soot blowing system. Eventually, soot blowing became a 14

Figure 1. Soot blowing air consumption for fuel blends including PRB coal.

limiting factor in burning fuel blends with larger percentages of PRB coal. A project was initiated to determine which components in the system should be upgraded to support strategic plans to further increase PRB coal consumption. The scope of work included replacing and upgrading several existing soot blowers, adding waterlance soot blowers, replacing the reciprocating compressors with centrifugal compressors, as well as updating the soot blowing control logic. The first centrifugal compressor was added to the existing system with no significant changes to the distribution piping or receiver capacity. After commissioning the new compressor, it began to experience several brief intermittent surge events. Examining the performance data logs showed the compressor would momentarily surge, at which time the antisurge controls would quickly autocorrect the unit and return it to stable operation. This behavior appeared to be completely random, but during an extended period of time a trend began to develop which showed this cyclic behavior was occurring under a definite set of conditions. However, it was unclear whether the surge events were associated with changes in operating, system or ambient conditions; or some combination of the three. A comprehensive investigation was initiated to establish the root cause of the surge events.

Compressors and compressed air systems Classifications and descriptions There are two fundamental classifications of compressors: positive displacement and dynamic. Each classification can be subdivided further based on mechanics of motion and methMay 2014

MAINTENANCE MATTERS Table 1 – Compressor Type Design Specifications



Number of Stages



Discharge Pressure

315 psig

300 psig

Discharge Temperature




1150 acfm

1925 acfm

Capacity Control Method

Constant-Speed Unloading

Constant Pressure Modulation

Motor Power

350 bhp

1750 bhp

Motor Speed

585 rpm

3575 rpm

Table 1 – Compressor comparison summary

od of work transfer. Reciprocating compressors are a type of positive displacement machine, where work transfer to the gas is accomplished using a piston-cylinder assembly. Centrifugal compressors are dynamic machines, which utilize a rotor assembly to impart work to the gas[1]. The original SBACs were horizontally balanced-opposed, three-stage reciprocating compressors with double-acting pistons and direct drive induction motors. The capacity control system was automatic three-step constant-speed unloading. The unloading devices were pneumatic suction valve unloaders. (Table 1) The compressors also were equipped with two interstage coolers and one aftercooler; the cooling medium was water. The upgraded SBAC is a three-stage centrifugal compressor with a direct drive induction motor, with constant pressure modulation capacity control. (Table 1) The capacity control components include an inlet butterfly valve (IBV) and bypass valve (BV). Like the original SBACs, the centrifugal compressor is also equipped with two interstage coolers and one aftercooler. Performance and selection When selecting a compressor for a particular application, the primary parameters to consider are flow rate, efficiency and pressure rise. Other important factors include capital cost, reliability, maintainability and controllability. In general, reciprocating compressors are selected for applications that require low to moderate flow rates. (Figure 3) The maximum flow rate, which can be achieved by a reciprocating compressor, is a function of cylinder volume, number of throws and motor speed. Reciprocating compressors are capable of generating large discharge pressures and typically require a smaller capital investment. Additionally, they yield higher compression efficiencies during partial load operation. The large number of moving parts inherent to their design reduces reliability and increases maintenance[2-4]. For processes that demand medium to high flow rates at moderate pressures, centrifugal compressors are ideal. (Figure 3)

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Figure 3. Capacity characteristics of reciprocating and centrifugal compressors

The maximum flow in a centrifugal compressor is dictated by the choke point. Unlike reciprocating compressors, centrifugal compressors have smaller turndowns and are not well suited for low flow, partial load operation. With significantly fewer moving parts, centrifugal compressors are much more reliable and require less maintenance. The improved reliability and reduced maintenance is accompanied by an increase in initial capital investment. Generally, this is associated with the manufacturing of more complex components (impellers)[2-4]. Figure 2. An original soot blowing system with reciprocating compressors.

Applications: • Steam pressure vessels • Hot water heaters • Demineralizers • Steam humidifiers • Water purifiers • Refrigeration units • Liquid treatment vessels

• Compressed air tanks • Filtering units • Dryer cans in paper mills • Water towers • Water softeners • Deaerators • Make-up tanks

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Surge phenomenon Surge is classified as an instability phenomenon, characterized by pressure fluctuations and, in the most extreme cases, reverse flow. A precursor to surge is stall, which is caused by the separation of flow from an aerodynamic surface due to an adverse pressure gradient. If this unstable aerodynamic state persists and intensifies, then surge ensues[5]. Surge can be subdivided into four categories: (1) mild surge, (2) classic surge, (3) modified surge and (4) deep surge. The impact of surge ranges from reduced compressor performance (mild surge) to severe mechanical damage (deep surge). Mild surge is described by small pressure fluctuations with no reversal in flow. Whereas, deep surge is accompanied by large pressure fluctuations and reverse flow is much more likely. A more detailed description of all four categories is provided here[6]. Surge does not occur in reciprocating compressors. The discussion here is centered on the occurrence of surge in centrifugal compressors. Antisurge control For centrifugal compressors there are two common methods of capacity control: inlet throttling and variable speed. Inlet throttling is used with compressors that have constant speed drives, and variable speed control with compressors that have variable speed drives. The type of surge control required is a function of the type of capacity control in use. Surge control systems are designed to anticipate and prevent surge. Two fundamental types of surge detection are static and dynamic. Static detection prevents surge by controlling the compressor in such a way that some predefined operating condition is avoided. May 2014

MAINTENANCE MATTERS Dynamic detection is capable of assessing the onset of surge in real-time and avoids surge based on the actual system conditions at hand[7]. Although surge control systems based on static detection are more common, dynamic control possess several advantages. Typically, static antisurge controls are designed to maintain a minimum flow through the compressor by either recirculating a fraction of the discharge flow or venting it to the atmosphere. The margin between the actual surge condition and the predefined setpoint might be sizeable. While this protects the compressor from surge, there is a significant cost associated with wasted energy due to excessive recirculation or premature venting[7]. Figure 4 shows the performance map for the upgraded compressor. Similar to inlet throttling, surge control here is accomplished by venting a fraction of the discharge to the atmosphere when the operating point reaches the minimum load setpoint. Even with good antisurge controls there are still conditions that make it difficult to prevent surge altogether. Some examples include: insufficient rise to surge, changes in system discharge pressure and rapid excursions in system demand. Rise to surge is a metric used to assess a compressor’s ability to achieve stable operation after some perturbation. These conditions can be affected by changes in ambient, system or operating conditions. System design The fundamental components in a compressed air system are: compressors, receiver tanks and distribution piping. The attributes of each component affects the entire system and must be matched appropriately for reliable stable operation. Receiver tanks serve many purposes in a compressed air system; one of the most important is acting as a buffer between the load and the compressor. For soot blowing applications, pressure pulses are generated in the system due to the starting and stopping of soot blowers during the soot blowing cycle. Receiver tanks also provide additional capacity for situations when demand exceeds the maximum capacity of the compressor. When sized appropriately they can be used to optimize the frequency at which a compressor is loaded and unloaded[8]. For larger systems, usually there is a primary and secondary receiver tank. The purpose of the primary receiver tank is to allow the compressor to operate within a given range of discharge pressures. The role of the secondary receiver tank is to ensure that an uninterrupted supply of compressed air reaches the end use under all system and operating conditions[9]. The configuration of the piping network also is a significant feature of the system. For inlet and discharge piping directly connected to the compressor, typically the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will provide general guidelines regarding their arrangement. However, the layout of the remaining system is left to application and plant engineers.

Figure 4. Centrifugal compressor performance map for constant pressure modulation capacity control.

In general, pipe sizes should be selected such that, after the receiver tank, pressure drops are less than 10 percent of the design operating pressure. For soot blowing systems, the overarching constraint is that each individual soot blower receives the proper supply of air in accordance with OEM specifications. Furthermore, looped headers should be used when possible. This provides an additional pathway for supply air to reach process equipment during periods of peak demand[8].


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May 2014



Figure 5. Upgraded soot blowing system with centrifugal compressors.

Conclusions The results of the analysis conducted on the modified system concluded there was a confluence of issues associated with variations in ambient, operating and system conditions, which led to the surge events experienced by the newly upgraded centrifugal compressor. Many of the surge events occurred during seasonal changes, particularly when ambient air temperatures were increasing. An increase in ambient air temperature acts to reduce the surge threshold on the performance map, resulting in an insufficient rise to surge. Under these circumstances the compressor can become sensitive to relatively small fluctuations in system demand, which is typical for soot blowing applications, causing the compressor to surge. The minimum load setpoint (Figure 4) corresponds to a specific discharge pressure. If the discharge pressure changes, then the minimum load setpoint needs to be adjusted accordingly. For example, if the discharge pressure was increased and all other parameters held fixed, the compressor turndown would be reduced and surge would occur sooner. For soot


blowing applications, as the types of soot blowers and soot blowing control logic are adjusted, it is important the minimum load setpoint be tuned to match the new operating conditions. During soot blowing there are rapid changes in system demand that require the controller and the various control components to respond quickly. These fluctuations in system demand can be attenuated by incorporating appropriately sized receiver tanks into the system. When the first centrifugal compressor was originally added to the legacy system, there were no notable changes made to the distribution piping or receiver capacity. The approach taken to resolve the issues surrounding the surge events included modifying the piping network and adding additional receiver capacity. The modified system is shown in Figure 5. The discharge capacity of one upgraded centrifugal compressor is double that of both reciprocating compressors combined. This required that the main distribution header layout be streamlined and the pipe diameter increased to 8Ë?. The main header for the legacy system was 4Ë?-6Ë? in various locations and had more restrictive piping runs. Additionally, receiver capacity of the system was increased substantially. As a rule of thumb, for every cubic foot of actual discharge, one gallon of storage capacity is desired. The secondary receiver tank shown in Figure 2 has a storage capacity of 3,750 gallons, which was more than adequate for the legacy compressors. However, at a minimum, the new compressor requires at least 5,000 gallons of storage. Upon analyzing system pressure decay for the modified soot blowing process, it was determined that in addition to maintaining the storage capacity of the secondary receiver tank (3,750 gallons), that two new primary receiver tanks would be needed; each with a storage capacity of 5,025 gallons. (Figure 5) Performance maps provided by OEMs characterize compressor performance for a specific set of conditions[10]. Ambient conditions and the system configuration in the field can deviate significantly from those outlined in the performance test code. It is important that consideration be given to these differences, as well as their impact on compressor performance. The aforementioned system upgrades eliminated the surging issues. The compressor has maintained stable operation for the past several years continuously, providing compressed air without incident to this very day. ~

May 2014

MAINTENANCE MATTERS Acknowledgements The author would like to acknowledge Jon W. Carpenter, senior engineer with Consumers Energy, Generation and Operations, for providing tremendous insight into the many nuances regarding the soot blowing system’s maintenance and operational histories. The author also would like to recognize LeRoy N. Reiss, PE, principal engineer; James B. Lewis, PE, executive engineer (ret.); and Scott D. Thomas, PE, executive manager of Consumers Energy, Engineering Services Department. References 1. D. H. Robison and P. J. Beaty, “Compressor Types, Classifications, and Applications,” in Proceedings of the 21st Turbomachinery Symposium, College Station, TX, 1992, p. 183. 2. M. P. Boyce, “Principles of Operation and Performance Estimation of Centrifugal Compressors,” in Proceedings of the 22nd Turbomachinery Symposium, College Station, TX, 1993, p. 161. 3. P. Gallick, G. Phillippi, and B. F. Williams, “What’s Correct for My Application - A Centrifugal or Reciprocating Compressor?,” in Proceedings of the 35th Turbomachinery Symposium, College Station, TX, 2006, p. 113. 4. M. O. Khan, “Basic Practices in Compressor Selection,” presented at the International Compressor Engineering Conference, West Lafayette, IN, 1984. 5. D. Japikse, “Stall, Stage Stall, and Surge,” in Proceedings of the 10th Turbomachinery Symposium, College Station, TX, 1981, p. 1. 6. B. de Jager, “Rotating Stall and Surge Control: A Survey,” in Proceedings of the 34th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, New Orleans, LA, 1995, p. 1857. 7. M. P. Boyce, W. R. Bohanna, R. N. Brown, J. R. Gaston, C. Meher-Homji, R. H. Meier, et al., “Practical Aspects of Centrifugal Compressor Surge and Surge Control,” in Proceedings of the 12th Turbomachinery Symposium, College Station, TX, 1983, p. 147. 8. Fossil Maintenance Applications Center, “Compressed Air System Maintenance Guide, TR-1006677,” EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, 2002. 9. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Improving Compressed Air System Performance,” U.S. D.O.E., Washington, DC, 2003. 10. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, “Performance Test Code on Compressors and Exhausters, PTC 10-1997,” ASME, New York, NY, 1997. Dr. DeVon A. Washington is a senior engineer with Consumers Energy, Engineering Services Department in Jackson, Mich. His primary responsibilities consist of providing technical leadership regarding thermal fluids, turbomachinery and energy conversion systems. You may contact him by emailing


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May 2014



Impact of harmonics from distributed energy resources on distribution networks By Reza Arghandeh, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif.; Ahmet Onen, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; Jaesung Jung, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; Danling Cheng, EDD Inc., Blacksburg, Va.; Robert Broadwater, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.; and Virgilio Centeno, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Introduction and previous works Smart grid realization involves a steady increase in inverter-based components like Distributed Energy Resources (DER), energy storage systems and plug-in electric vehicles. These kinds of renewable DER applications relieve environmental concerns, but raise concerns about harmonic distortion effects on voltage and current waveforms [1]. Harmonics can result in various damage and errors in distribution networks [2]. This paper investigates the harmonic propagation from multiDER sources such as wind, solar and energy storage systems. It also aims to study the interactive effect of harmonic sources on each other via the presented simulations and case studies. Current and voltage harmonic disturbances are quantized via the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and other indices. The paper will discuss harmonics phenomena in distribution networks, the principle factors for harmonic analysis in distribution networks and a discussion of simulation results. Harmonic issues in distribution networks Harmonics propagation in distribution networks cause conductors to overload with increases in r.m.s currents. Neutral conductors overload, capacitor banks overload and premature aging and protection systems malfunction – all examples of harmonic problems for distribution networks [3].Voltage harmonic affects shunt connected network components like capacitor banks and electric motors. Current harmonics affect series connected components like transformers [14]. Incorrect operation of relays under distorted voltage or current cause unwanted tripping of the supply [9]. Moreover, harmonic distortion can affect energy metering equipment and decrease metering accuracy that can change electricity market transactions [15, 16]. Today’s high level penetrations of distributed energy resources (solar, wind, fuel cell, microturbines, etc.) and the adoption of electric vehicles with a variety of electronic interfaces creates additional concerns for utilities about how harmonic sources interact with each other.

Figure 1. Harmonic analysis algorithm

signal of the fundamental frequency. A distorted voltage and current waveform are expressed by the Fourier series as given by:

Equation 1

Equation 2

Harmonic characteristics in distribution networks Harmonic assessment analytics The deviation of perfect sinusoidal voltage and current signal is expressed as distortion. Harmonic distortion is modeled by adding sinusoidal components with higher frequency to the 20

Where: • ITotal and VTotal are the nonsinusoidal current and voltage at the measurement point • Ih and Vh are current and voltage r.m.s values for the hth harmonic order ASME Power Division Special Section | May 2014

AsME FEAtUrE ASME Power Division: Advanced Energy Systems & Renewable Committee

A Message from the Chair

Figure 2. Schematic of distribution network model

• θh and φh are harmonic current and voltage phase angles • ω0 is the fundamental angular frequency and h is the harmonics order The Individual Harmonic Distortion (IHD) index presents the percentage ratio of current or voltage in the hth harmonic order with respect to the fundamental value. IHDI and IHDV are the IHD for current and voltage respectively, as given by:

Equation 3

Equation 4

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) is an important index that is usually used for power quality assessment in distribution and transmission systems. It considers the contribution of each harmonic component on the total signal. THD is defined for current and voltage respectively as [19]:

The Advanced Energy Systems & Renewable Committee is one of a number of committees in the ASME Power Division. The committee promotes innovative concepts concerning the design, operation, maintenance, testing and improvements to renewable energy technology. These technologies include wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal/hydroelectric power, Smart Grid and energy storage. One of the committee’s functions is to sponsor the Advanced Energy Systems & Renewable Energy track in the ASME Power Conference each year. The committee promotes authors to prepare papers in various topics and present them at the annual ASME Power Conference. Each year the committee receives numerous technical papers from authors around the world. These papers are peer reviewed by qualified engineers in their respective fields. After being reviewed, the track chair approves them before the author can present them at the conference. This year, the Advanced Energy & Renewable Track reviewed 40 Abstracts and accepted more than 30 papers that will be presented at the ASME Power Conference, which will be held in Baltimore, Md., from July 28th – 31st. The number of papers presented in our track has grown exponentially the past few years. The technical aspect of the papers also has evolved. This month’s ASME feature is an excellent example of the type of material presented during one of our technical session at the 2013 ASME Power Conference in Boston, Mass. We hope that you enjoy it. John K Fall – PE American Electric Power Columbus, OH 43215

Equation 5

Equation 6

Where: • THDI and THDV are THD values for current and voltage, respectively May 2014 | ASME Power Division Special Section

July 28-31, 2014 Baltimore, Maryland


AsME FEAtUrE orders. Harmonics of higher orders are neglected due to their small values. The inverter technology and DER type are not considered in this research. The research aim is the harmonic impact study, apart from the harmonic source technology.

Figure 3. Multi-harmonic source THDV for phase A for different current magnitudes

Simulations and results Harmonic emission in distribution networks is affected by a number of factors related to the harmonic sources and distribution network characteristics. In this paper, multi-harmonic source interactions are evaluated based on different values of harmonic source magnitudes and angles. A sensitivity analysis is conducted to investigate the impact of harmonic source magnitude and angle variation on other harmonic sources. Total Power Factor and Total Harmonic Distortion for voltage and current waveforms are considered.

Figure 4. Multi-harmonic source THDI for phase A, for different current magnitudes.

• I1 and V1 are the current and voltage r.m.s. values for the fundamental frequency When considering harmonic distortion, the conventional definition of power factor is modified to account for the contribution of higher frequencies on the power factor [1]. The modified power factor is called Total Power Factor (TPF). Equation 7 shows the relationship between TPF and THD [3, 20]:

Interactive harmonic analysis algorithm For harmonic propagation assessment, the fundamental frequency power flow needs to be calculated first. The power flow study provides steady-state circuit performance under the normal operating condition. To calculate the higher frequency voltages and currents, harmonic power flows are calculated after the fundamental frequency power flow. To run the harmonic power flow, the circuit is modified to update impedance in distribution network components for each frequency order. For the power flow calculation, the Distributed Engineering Workstation software package is used. Figure 1 depicts the algorithm for the harmonic analysis.

Multi-harmonic source magnitude variation To show the effects of harmonic current source magnitude on the THD at the substation, simulation is conducted for different current magnitudes in the range from zero to 10 (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) amperes for both harmonic sources. Figure 3 shows the interactive THDV variation in phase A for two harmonic sources in the circuit. As harmonic current magnitudes increases, the two harmonic sources act together to increase the THDV at the substation. In Figure 4, the THDI for phase A is presented. Similar to the THDV, the total harmonic distortion for the current waveform increases with the increase in magnitude of the two harmonic sources. Figure 5 depicts the total power factor calculated values from Equation 7. The surface in Figure 5 is descending gradually to lower power factor values as harmonic source magnitudes increase. Higher total power factor values mean less loss in the distribution network. Figures 3-5 show how two harmonic source magnitudes increment interactively to increase the total harmonic distortion and energy loss in distribution networks. Simulation results for phase B and phase C show the similar trend for THDV, THDI and TPF.

Case studies and assumptions In this paper, a detailed physical-based distribution network is applied. The circuit model includes unbalanced, multiphase and single-phase loads. The circuit is 13.2 kV,Y-connected with 329 residential and commercial customers. The circuit contains two sets of three-phase harmonic sources representing inverters connected to DER sources. It assumed that all three phases have the same current magnitudes. Figure 2 presents the circuit model. The dominant current and voltage harmonics observed through the simulation are of the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th

Multi-harmonic sources phase angle variation In systems with a number of harmonic sources, the injected harmonic currents from harmonic sources have vectorial characteristics. Therefore, the interactive effect of harmonic distortion is not defined just by the magnitude of harmonic sources. To identify the impact of phase angle variations for two source interactive harmonic distortion, the sensitivity analysis is conducted with the phase angles for both harmonic sources being varied as: 0 degrees, 15 degrees, 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 75 degrees and 90 degrees.

Equation 7

Where: • δ1 is the angle between voltage and current at the fundamental frequency • The cos(δ1) called displacement power factor and the factor 1/√1+THDI2 is called distortion power factor


ASME Power Division Special Section | May 2014


Figure 5. Multi-harmonic source total power factor for phase A, for different current magnitudes.

Similar to the previous section, harmonic distortion is evaluated by THDV, THDI and TPF. In this case, the harmonic indices are presented for three phases. As illustrated in Figure 6, the THDV vs. angle plot for each phase is significantly different than the other phases. The reasons for this are the different phase loadings, the three phase mutual couplings and network topology. The currents in phase A, B and C are 126.8 amps, Figure 6. Multi-harmonic source THDV for phase A 67.3 amps and 73.3 amps, respectively. The (Figure A), phase B (Figure B), phase C (Figure C) Thevinen impedances as seen by harmonic for different current phase angles. sources are presented in Table 1. In terms of network topology, the portion of single phase lines and underground cables in the distribution network affects the harmonic emissions because of the capacitance characteristics of such conductors. In Figure 6-A, the THDV has a minimum value at zero phase angle for both sources. The maximum value (THDV=1.27) is achieved with a 90-degree phase angle in both sources. Figure 6-B has a saddle-shaped surface with the saddle point at a 45-degree phase angle in both sources. Maximum THDV for phase B happens at the 0-degree phase angle in both sources (THDV=1.02). Figure 7-C is similar to a hemispherical plane with its maximum at a 45-degree phase angle for both sources (THDV=1.1). To show the impact of phase angle variation on harmonic current distortion, Figure 7 presents THDI for each of the three phases. Figure 7-A shows the THDI variation over the harmonic source phase angles. The canyon on the surface shows that at the minimum THDI point (near zero) the two harmonic sources cancel out each other. This observation is crucial for harmonic clearance in systems with multi-harmonic sources. These minimum THDI conditions happen in the following phase angle couples, {(30,90), (45,75), (60,60), (75,45), (90,30)} where the first term is for the first harmonic sources phase angle, and the second term belongs to the second harmonic source phase angle. Figure 7-B illustrates THDI for phase B. The maximum THDI happens at 30 degrees for both sources (THDI=17.3). In Figure 7-C, THDI for phase C is presented. In this phase, maximum THDI occurs at 90 degrees for the two harmonic sources (THDI=16.3). Figure 8 shows the total power factor (TPF) for phase A. The surface has a semi-hilltop form. Higher total power factors mean less loss, which leads to more profit for the distribution network operator. The maximum total power factor points are presented in Table 2. Figure 9 illustrates TPF for phase B. The TPF plot is similar to a semi-spherical surface with a minimum value at 30-degree phase angle for both harmonic sources (TPF=0.8406). The maximum TPF happen at (0 degrees, 90 degrees) and (90 degrees, 0 degrees) points with TPF=0.846.

May 2014 | ASME Power Division Special Section

Figure 7. Multi-harmonic source THDI for phase A (Figure A), phase B (Figure B), phase C (Figure C) for different current phase angles.

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ASME FEATURE Table 1– Network Thevenin Impedance as Seen by Harmonic Sources

Harmonic Source 1

Harmonic Source 2





0.8063+ 2.9308j

-0.0102+ 0.0138j

0.0086+ 0.0155j


0.0086+ 0.0155j

0.8063+ 2.9308j

-0.0102+ 0.0138j


-0.0102+ 0.0138j

0.0086+ 0.0155j


1.0368+ 3.6547j

1 2

Table 2 – Maximum TPF Points for Phase A with Different Phase Angles H Source 1. Angle (Deg)

H Source 2. Angle (Deg)

Delta Angle


Max TPF 1



- 60


0.8063+ 2.9308j

Max TPF 2



- 30


-0.0122+ 0.0155j

0.0098+ 0.0179j

Max TPF 3





0.0098+ 0.0179j

1.0368+ 3.6547j

-0.0122+ 0.0155j

Max TPF 4



+ 30


-0.0122+ 0.0155j

0.0098+ 0.0179j

1.0368+ 3.6547j

Max TPF 5



+ 60


Table 1 – Network Thevenin Impedance, as seen by harmonic sources.

Figure 8. Multi-harmonic source total power factor for phase A for different current phase angles.

Figure 9. Multi-harmonic sources total power factor phase B for different current phase angles.

Table 2 – Maximum TPF points for phase A with different phase angles.

Figure 10 shows TPF values for phase C. It has a saddleshaped surface. The maximum TPF points occur at (0 degrees, 90 degrees) and (90 degrees, 0 degrees) with TPF=0.865. The presented observations show that considering Total Power Factor (TPF) in addition to the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) provides a better picture of multi-harmonic sources, impacts and interactions. The impact of phase angle variation on interactive multi-source harmonic distortion is especially helpful for harmonic distortion minimization and power factor improvement. Any improvement in power factor via the multi-harmonic sources’ control has economic value for distribution network operators and stockholders.

Conclusion Harmonics related to DER inverters and similar inverter based components raise concerns for utilities and customers. Specifically, the interactive impact of harmonic sources on each other needs to be explored. In this paper, an impact study is carried out to evaluate interactive multisource harmonic distortion. Based on commonly used harmonic indices, a number of assessments are conducted. The interactive effect of harmonic source magnitudes and angles are considered in terms of THDV, THDI and Total Power Factor. The sensitivity analysis shows the impact of each harmonic source magnitude and angle on total power factor of the distribution network. Consequently, it helps to find out how the multi-harmonics source interactions impact the distribution network efficiency and operational cost. ~ Editor’s note:This paper, PWR2013-98150, was printed with permission from ASME and was edited from its original format.To purchase this paper in its original format, or find more information, visit the ASME Digital Store at

Figure 10. Multi-harmonic sources total power factor phase C for different current phase angles the distribution network, “Power Electronics, IEEE Transactions on, vol. 19, pp. 1586-1593, 2004.”


References 1. F. C. De La Rosa, Harmonics And Power Systems: CRC Press Inc., 2006. 2. R. Arghandeh, A. Onen, J. Jung, R. Broadwater, “Harmonic Interaction of Multiple Distributed Energy Resources in Power Distribution Networks”, Electric Power System Research, Elsevier, vol 105, 2013, pp 124-133. 3. S.Volut, Electrical Installation Guide According to IEC Standards. Franse: Schneider Electric, 2009. 4. M. H. Bollen and I. Gu, Signal processing of power quality disturbances vol. 30: Wiley-IEEE Press, 2006. ASME Power Division Special Section | May 2014

ASME FEATURE 5. A. Cataliotti,V. Cosentino, and S. Nuccio, “Static Meters for the Reactive Energy in the Presence of Harmonics: An Experimental Metrological Characterization,” Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on, vol. 58, pp. 25742579, 2009. 6. X.Wilsun and L.Yilu, “A method for determining customer and utility harmonic contributions at the point of common coupling,” Power Delivery, IEEE Transactions on, vol. 15, pp. 804-811, 2000. 7. G. J.Wakileh, Power Systems Harmonics Fundamentals, Analysis and Filter Design. Germany: Springer, 2001. 8. L. Cividino, “Power factor, harmonic distortion; causes, effects and considerations,” in Telecommunications Energy Conference, 1992. INTELEC ’92., 14th International, 1992, pp. 506-513. Reza Arghandeh joined the University of California-Berkeley, California Institute of Energy and Environment in 2013. He is also vicechair of the ASME Advanced Energy Systems committee. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Virginia Tech. He also holds a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK. You may contact him by emailing Ahmet Onen received his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech – Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 2014. He received the M.S. degree in Electrical engineering from Clemson University in 2010. He is a member of DEW software developing team for power systems planning and operation. His research interests are distribution system reliability, storm outage and reconfiguration, Distributed Series Reactance (DSR), and Smart Grid optimization, control and economic analysis. You may contact him by emailing Jaesung Jung is the assistant scientist at Brookhaven National Lab. He received the Ph.D. and M.S. degree from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University, respectively. His research interests include the development and deployment of renewable and sustainable energy technologies. You may contact him by emailing Danling Cheng received a B.S. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China in 1996, and her Ph.D. and M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, Va., in 2002 all in Electrical Enginering. Currently, she is a software engineer in the EDD Inc. She was an instructor in Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, from 1996-2000. You may contact him by emailing Robert P. Broadwater received the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from

May 2014 | ASME Power Division Special Section

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he now is a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering. You may contact him by emailing Virgilio Centeno received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, in 1988 and 1995, respectively. He worked as a project engineer at Macrodyne Inc., Clifton Park, N.Y., in the development of phasor measurement units from 1991-1997. He joined the faculty of Virginia Tech as a visiting professor in the fall of 1997 and became an associate professor in 2007. You may contact him by emailing

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Tilting pad bearing modifications rotordynamic analysis By Patrick J. Smith, Energy-Tech contributor

Journal bearings have both static and dynamic characteristics. Static aspects include bearing load capacity, side leakage, frictional power loss, oil film temperature and pad temperature. Dynamic characteristics include stiffness and damping properties. A tilting pad bearing problem was described in the January 2014 Energy-Tech article entitled, “High tilting pad bearing temperatures.” A bearing analysis was performed to understand the bearing behavior, which was discussed in the March 2014 Energy-Tech article entitled “High tilting pad temperature bearing analysis.” The problem was resolved by making some minor bearing changes. However, these changes also affected the dynamic bearing characteristics, so rotordynamic analyses were performed based on the original bearing clearance design and the modified bearing clearance design to understand the change in rotordynamic behavior and to determine if there were any rotordynamic issues with the modified bearing design. This article will only focus on the details of the rotordynamic analyses.

Introduction This case study pertains to an integrally geared centrifugal compressor driven by a 5,000 HP, 1,794 RPM induction motor. The gearbox consists of a bullgear and three rotors. The stage 1/2 rotor consists of a pinion with overhung impellers mounted at both ends, while the stage 3 rotor consists of a pinion with a single overhung impeller. These rotors are mounted at the horizontal split line. The stage 4/5 rotor is located in the top of the gearbox cover and consists of a pinion with overhung impellers mounted at both ends. The gearbox arrangement for stages 1 to 3 is shown in Figure 1; the stage 4/5 rotor is omitted for clarity. The rotor that is the subject of this article is the stage 1/2 rotor. It operates at 23,849 RPM and weighs 67.2 kg. The journal bearings are a 5-pad, tilting pad type with spherical seats and a center pivot design. Some basic bearing information is shown in Table 1. The compressor was commissioned in late 1999 and put into continuous service in early 2000. As discussed in the previous Energy-Tech articles, issues with high temperature of the 2nd stage bearing developed and after performing a detailed bearing analysis, it was concluded that tight bearing clearance was the probable cause. The solution was to increase the bearing clearance. However, changing something in the rotor/bearing system will have an impact on the rotordynamics. So as part of the overall engineering evaluation, rotordynamic analyses were performed based 26

Figure 1. The gearbox arrangement for stages 1 to 3.

Figure 2. Effects of decreasing damping on vibration amplification

on the original bearing design and the modified bearing design. Note that the 1st stage bearing was not changed.

Rotordynamic analysis From API-617, if a rotor-bearing system is modeled as a simple mass-spring-damper system, the governing equation of motion for this system can be written as Equation 1

Where: m = mass of the block c = viscous damping coefficient k = stiffness of the elastic element x = displacement of the block F(t) = force applied to the block (time-dependent function) May 2014

MACHINE DOCTOR Table 1 – Differences In Key Bearing Design Parameters For Both Original Design And Modified Design Results Case


Rad Clr, in.

Setup Clr, in




KXX, lbf/in

KYY, lbf/in


DYY, lbf/in



















Table 1

While this simple model does not reflect the actual rotordynamic behavior of a compressor rotor/bearing system, it can be used to illustrate the basic concepts. In this example, the forced response is counteracted by the rotor mass and the support’s stiffness and damping characteristics. Fluid film bearings provide stiffness and damping, so changing a bearing’s stiffness and damping properties will affect the rotordynamic behavior. The table below shows the differences in the key bearing design parameters and the stiffness and damping coefficients for both the original design and the modified design. Note that when the setup clearance was changed, the radial clearance, or machined in clearance, also was changed in order to maintain a good preload. The purpose of performing a rotordynamic analysis is to ensure that there are no undesirable rotor/bearing performance issues. The key results from the lateral rotordynamic analysis include a damped critical speed analysis and a damped unbalance response analysis. Rotor Bearing Technology & Software Inc. (RBTS) was contracted to perform the analysis. RBTS is a consulting firm with expertise in rotor dynamics, failure analysis and corrective action determination.

Damped critical speed analysis The damped critical speed analysis uses bearing damping and stiffness coefficients to predict the rotor/bearing system natural frequencies and associated mode shapes of vibration. The dynamic coefficients vary with speed, and so the damped critical speed analysis is performed based on the rotor operating at the design speed. The output of the damped critical speed analysis includes all the calculated damped natural frequencies within a speed range of 0 percent to 125 percent of the maximum operating speed, and the associated mode shapes and stability values. A resonance condition exists when the frequency of a harmonic (periodic) forcing function coincides with a natural frequency of the rotor/bearing system. Potential excitation sources include rotor unbalance, oil film instability, internal rubs, dynamic seal effects, loose parts, etc. These sources can excite subsynchronous resonant frequencies. When this happens, the forced vibrations resulting from the given exciting mechanism are amplified at the resonant frequency. The level of stability or damping refers to the unit’s resistance to these excitations. So the greater the damping, the less the dynamic amplification of the system vibration. A variety of parameters can be used to evaluate the level of stability or damping. RBTS evaluates stability based on a

May 2014



Figure 3. Mode shape for the modified bearing clearance case for mode 3

Table 2 – Original Design Bearing Clearances Mode #

Natural Frequency CPM

Critical Damping Ratio

Log Dec

Separation Margin































Table 2

Table 3 – Modified Design Bearing Clearances Mode #

Natural Frequency CPM

Critical Damping Ratio

Log Dec

Separation Margin









































parameter called the critical damping ratio. The critical damping coefficient Cc is the damping value required to completely suppress any free vibration of the system. The critical damping ratio is the ratio of the actual damping coefficient divided by the critical damping coefficient, or C/Cc. If the critical damping ratio is negative, the system is said to be unstable. A ratio of zero indicates that there is no damping and the amplification is infinity. As long as the critical damping ratio is greater than zero, there is some damping. A critical damping ratio of 1 indicates that the system is critically damped and there is no amplification when operating near this resonant frequency. Ratios between 0 and 1 indicate the degree of damping. Figure 2 shows how decreasing damping affects the amplification of the vibration. Another stability parameter is called the logarithmic decrement (log dec), the natural logarithm of the ratio of any two successive amplitude peaks in a free harmonic vibration. The log decrement is a measure of how quickly the free vibrations experienced by the rotor system decay. When the log decrement is positive, the system is stable. Conversely, when the log decrement is negative, the system is unstable. According to API-617, if the log dec is less than 0.1, further stability analyses shall be performed. However, there is no industry standard of acceptance criteria on the minimum log dec. Even API-684 states that “… interpretation of results and suitability of design to be mutually agreed upon by the vendor and purchaser.” Tables 2 and 3 show the results of the damped natural frequency analysis for both the original bearing clearance case and the modified bearing clearance case. What is interesting is that what might be viewed as a relatively minor increase in bearing clearance had a moderate impact on the calculated natural frequencies and the stability. Based on the original design case, there are no natural frequencies near the operating speed. With the modified clearance case there are 2 modes (modes 5 and 6) which are close to the operating speed. Fortunately, these modes are very well damped. While there are no stability issues for either case, the magnitude changes show the value in considering this analysis anytime a change is made to something in the rotor/bearing system.

Table 3


May 2014


Figure 4.

Figure 5.

A mode shape is the deflected shape of a rotor calculated at the particular natural frequency. Each resonant frequency will have a different mode shape. Understanding the mode shapes is valuable for a couple of reasons. 1. The location(s) of the greatest displacement(s) are places that are the most sensitive to excitation forces for that particular mode. So when performing the damped unbalance response analysis, unbalance will be located at these locations(s). 2. Knowing the mode shapes permits an estimation of rotor displacements at close fit areas such as bearing and seal locations, and at vibration probe locations. The mode shape for mode 3 for the modified bearing clearance case is shown in Figure 3. This mode can be excited by adding unbalance at the locations of greatest displacement, locations 1 and 39, as shown.

Unbalance response analysis The damped unbalance response analysis is the principal tool used by API to evaluate relevant lateral rotordynamics characteristics, including lateral critical speeds and associated amplification factors. The result of an unbalance response analysis is a calculation of the rotor response (vibration) to a set of applied unbalances as a function of speed. The location, phase and distribution of the unbalances are based on the mode that is being excited. It is important that all critical speeds below the maximum operating speed and the critical speed immediately above the maximum operating speed are analyzed. API also defines how to determine the magnitude of the unbalances that are applied. For this case study, an unbalance of 33.6 gram-mm was added at both impeller locations. These unbalances were in phase with one another. The results of the unbalance response analysis are displayed as a plot of vibration vs. shaft rotational speed. This is commonly called a Bode plot. These plots are generated for several axial shaft locations, which typically include bearing locations, shaft displacement probe areas and mid-span. For

Figure 6.

this case study, unbalance response plots were generated for the following locations: • Station 1: 2nd stage impeller • Station 11: 2nd stage bearing • Station 20: Rotor mid-span • Station 29: 1st stage bearing • Station 39: 1st stage impeller The vibration peaks are the resonant speeds and these peaks are reviewed for the magnitude of the response and the proximity to the operating speed. The magnitude is evaluated based on the amplification factor (AF). The method of calculating the amplification factor is shown on the Bode plot in Figure 4. This also introduces the term called the separation margin (SM), which is the margin of the peak vibration to the operating speed. API defines critical speeds as those resonant speeds with an amplification factor greater than 2.5. If the amplification factor for any critical speed below the operating speed is less than 2.5, no separation margin is required. If the amplification factor for any critical speed below the operating speed is greater than 2.5, the minimum separation margin should be 16 percent, or the value from the equation below, whichever is less.

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If the amplification factor for any critical speed above the operating speed is greater than 2.5, the minimum separation margin should be 26 percent or the value from the equation below, whichever is less.

Equation 3

For this case study, the unbalance response plots for both the original bearing clearance case and the modified bearing clearance case are shown in Figures 5 and 6. As shown, for both cases the separation margins are acceptable. However, the unbalance response at similar natural frequencies is slightly higher in the modified bearing clearance case. This again shows the value in considering a rotordynamic analysis anytime something in the rotor bearing system is changed.

Conclusions The lateral rotordynamics for both the original bearing clearance case and the modified bearing clearance case are acceptable per API-617 standards. However, the analyses do show that the rotordynamic behavior changes even when making what appears to be a minor bearing clearance change. And for this reason, a lateral rotordynamic analysis should be considered whenever something is changed in the rotor bearing/system. ~ References 1. Smith, Patrick J., “High tilting pad bearing temperature”, Energy-Tech Magazine, January 2014. 2. Smith, Patrick J., “High tilting pad temperature bearing analysis”, Energy-Tech Magazine, March 2014. 3. API-684, “Tutorial on the API Standard Paragraphs Covering Rotor Dynamics and Balancing: An Introduction to Lateral Critical and Train Torsional Analysis and Rotor Balancing”, Second Edition, August 2005, API, Washington DC. 4. API-617, “Axial and Centrifugal Compressors and Expander-compressors for Petroleum, Chemical and Gas Industry Services”, Seventh Edition, API, Washington, DC. Patrick J. Smith is lead machinery engineer at Air Products & Chemicals in Allentown, Pa., where he provides technical machinery support to the company’s operating air separation, hydrogen processing and cogeneration plants. You may contact him by e-mailing


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