Real Time Power


Surviving Hurricane Harvey

September 14, 2017DavidGeneralComments Off on Surviving Hurricane Harvey

Thank you to all the wonderful customers and friends we have for worrying about us over here in Houston.  For sure it was something tragic for the city of Houston and surrounding areas.  Our office is located on the west side of Houston right between the two large reservoirs where all the flooding happened.  However, we escaped the water fortunately with only minor wall and floor damage in one office.

I can‘t say the same of some of our employees who had to be rescued from their homes by boat.  To the left is one of the photos of a house on the same street as our Engineering Manager.  You can see the house is not only flooded, but they forgot to turn off the main breaker before evacuating and the result is that second floor burned.






Take a look at the rainfall totals for previous tropical systems and you can see that our area received a lot of water!








Start Information Manager (StartIM) Videos

August 5, 2017DavidGeneralComments Off on Start Information Manager (StartIM) Videos

Real Time Power presents our Start Information Manager (StartIM) for cycling combined cycle power plants.  Implementation of this software solution on any control system will give our customers the following benefits:

  • Predictability: Maximization of revenue in first hour following start up and consistent starts for the operator and trader.
  • Consistency: All start plans are thermally optimized according to predicted future state of plant using forecasted weather. Commander will allow the plant to maintain an excellent reputation for delivering consistently when called.  Excellent for new operators!
  • Standardization: regardless of different DCS and equipment across Customer’s combined cycle fleet, Commander will be able to interface with all of them to provide a standardized, predictive, and fuel saving approach to start-ups.
  • Fuel savings: the GT hold level is precisely computed based upon forecasted ambient, predicted ST metal temperatures, and system constraints.
  • Reliability: operators achieve a complete attainable plan without exceeding plant component limits that might contribute to increased plant damage.

Please see our link here for more information:

Click to Watch VideoClick to Watch VideoClick to Watch Video

7th EVI-GTI Gas Turbine Instrumentation Conference

November 4, 2015DavidGeneralComments Off on 7th EVI-GTI Gas Turbine Instrumentation Conference

Our very own Ray Boucher presented a paper about our Real Time Power’s accurate ultrasonic Air Mass Flow Measurement system for gas turbines along with the challenged and new develops planned.  The conference was held in London November 3-5, 2015.

EVI-GTI Gas Turbine Conference brings together the global gas turbine engine test instrumentation and development community in 2015 to showcase their latest research and results to an international community of like-minded specialists.

The air mass flow rate into the compressor of a gas turbine is a key parameter for determining and predicting the performance of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power generation units. An accurate measurement of air flow rate can be used to improve the prediction of the gas turbine generator power output at the point when the exhaust gas temperature constraint is reached, and the subsequent calculation of thermal energy flow rate into the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) improves the prediction of the steam turbine generator power output.

The direct measurement of air mass flow rate is difficult because of the complex geometry of the air intake duct, and also because of the high levels of noise, vibration and air turbulence that are present. The paper presented the experiences gained from deploying a direct ultrasonic measurement of air speed in the intake duct, which is used in combination with static pressure measurements and the results of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to produce a real-time measurement of air mass flow rate. The challenges, accuracy and benefits of ultrasonic air mass flow rate measurement was discussed using experiences gained over the last six years from 28+ field installations covering five different types of large (> 150 MW) industrial gas turbines.

For more information see our Air Mass Flow Rate Measurement for Gas Turbines.

Improve plant profitability by optimizing thermal energy storage

October 20, 2015DavidGeneralComments Off on Improve plant profitability by optimizing thermal energy storage

Improve plant profitability by optimizing thermal energy storage

Thermal energy storage (TES) systems increase profitability of gas-turbine-powered generating plants by exploiting daily pricing patterns to chill water in off-peak hours and then provide turbine inlet-air cooling in peak demand periods to boost output and improve heat rate.

However, TES systems often are operated using default running schedules based on vendor design calculations, which do not account for the actual prices of electricity and natural gas, or weather conditions, or the thermodynamic state of the plant. The high variability in external and internal conditions during plant operation implies that a fixed operating policy is sub-optimal in real-world situations.

This means further significant benefits—perhaps $1500 to $3000 per day for 500-750-MW combined cycles—may be available by optimizing TES operation. Real Time Power Inc (RTP) shared with attendees at the recent Combined Cycle Users Group annual meeting (Orlando, Aug 24-27, 2015) the company’s automated software solution for computing the optimal TES run schedule for both day-ahead and real-time markets.

RTP’s David Davis explained the application and how data from both the powerplant and energy trading floor are used in state-of-the-art optimization techniques to maximize cash flow within a given time period.

A typical TES system produces chilled water which can be stored in a large well-insulated tank or sent directly to cooling coils in the gas-turbine air inlet house (Fig 1). Inlet air also can be cooled using chilled water from the tank, a preferred option for peak demand hours to reduce parasitic power consumption.

Thermal Energy Storage Fig 1

The chilled and unchilled water are stored in the same tank; there is little mixing between the two layers. The thermocline level is defined as the height in the tank where there is greatest temperature difference between the warm water above and the cool water below.

TES optimization is performed by maximizing the cash flow derived from the chilled-water resource while respecting all of the physical and operational constraints. Silvia Magrelli, the R&D software engineer at RTP who led development of the application said the optimal schedule requires the “solution of a constrained multivariable nonlinear objective function, and with the selection of the appropriate solver algorithm, the machine-generated answer will provide significant additional revenue gain over and above the default schedule.”

The optimizer is layered on high-accuracy adaptive plant models which allow it to calculate key powerplant operational parameters for the forecasted weather conditions, and then also to predict precisely the incremental power and heat-rate benefit of inlet-air cooling, as well as the auxiliary load of the chiller units.

The final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are forecasts of electricity and natural-gas prices, which enable decisions regarding GT run schedule. The outcome assures sufficient chilled water is available to meet the forecasted needs of the day-ahead market. Plus, in real-time trading it allows sudden changes in market and/or weather conditions to be assimilated immediately and the best use of the TES re-computed for the remainder of the trading day.

One important benefit of the optimizer, Team RTP stressed: It greatly improves the accuracy of day-ahead load forecasts because it always plans to return the TES tank to a specified state at the end of each day. Thus, at the start of each trading day, the thermocline level is the expected value, and the forecasted load and heat rate can be achieved if the TES is operated according to the optimal schedule.

By contrast, with a default schedule, the end-of-day thermocline level is uncontrolled and will affect megawatt and heat-rate numbers for the following day. Finally, when plant equipment constraints are reached—such as maximum chilled-water flow rate through the cooling coil—the system will plan the day-ahead and real-time schedules based on best achievable performance.

Thermal Energy Storage Fig 2

Real Time Power has tested the application against five years of real price and weather data using actual plant thermodynamic models. Figs 2-4 presents the results of this retrospective comparison for a 3 × 1 combined cycle in the South with a 5.75-million-gal storage tank. The optimizer consistently outperforms the default schedule, and over the five-year period investigated, would have produced a $6.6-million benefit. The saving results from differences between the actual electricity price on the day and price curve used in designing the TES and in compiling the default schedule.

Thermal Energy Storage Fig 3

Installation of the RTP solution involves a server which connects to both the plant DCS and the energy trading desk. Control-room operators have the opportunity to set independent variable values and constraints—gas-turbine availability, for example. The system typically is accessed daily by the trader to produce the day-ahead declaration, and subsequently, as required during the current day, to make changes reflecting the real-time market.

Thermal Energy Storage Fig 4

The optimal solution for a particular running configuration is computed in less than one second, making the system very responsive to changes in market and weather conditions.

2015 Events

January 5, 2015DavidGeneralComments Off on 2015 Events

Happy New Year!

Thanks for making it a great 2014. We are quickly preparing for 2015 and we hope to see you next year. We enjoy seeing your faces as you win prizes! Make sure to come back often for the latest information about where we will be, presentations and prizes.

  • A&M Spring 2015 Engineering Career Fair – Jan 26—27 in College Station, TX.
    We are looking for Mechanical, Aerospace and Computer Science Interns.
  • 501FG User’s Conference – Feb 22—24 in Savannah, GA.
    Come hear Dr. Ray Boucher talk about “Improving Load Forecasting Accuracy” on Monday, Feb 23rd. We will be giving away a prize during the presentation! We will also be available during the Vendor Fair at booth 56.
  • 7F User’s Conference – May 10—15 in Denver, CO.
    Stop by booth 49 on Tuesday night to speak with our Engineers and Sales Rep!
  • Southern Company Technical Conference – Aug 11 – 13 in Birmingham, AL.  Stop by our booth to speak with our engineers. We will be there Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • CCUG/ST Conference – August 25 – 26 in Orlando, FL.
    Stop by at our booth on Tuesday evening or come see our presentation to the users on “Improving Reliability, Operator Consistency, and Efficiency for Cycling CCGT Plants” . The presentation is on Wednesday afternoon from 4:45pm to 5:30pm in the Palazzo H room.
  • The 7th EVI-GTI Gas Turbine Instrumentation Conference – November 3-5 in London, UK
    The conference is a prime opportunity to meet with your fellow gas turbine instrumentation engineers and hear the very latest research developments from around the world. Our very own Ray Boucher, PhD will be doing a presentation about our very accurate ultrasonic Air Mass Flow Measurement system for gas turbines.nbsp;

2014 Events

December 3, 2013DavidGeneralComments Off on 2014 Events

Happy Holidays!

As we prepare for 2014, we would like to invite you to come visit us at various trade shows this year. Make sure to come back often for the latest information about where we will be, presentations and prizes!

  • 501FG User’s Conference – Feb 15 —17
    Come hear Dr. Ray Boucher talk about “Compressor Monitoring Techniques and Real-Time Compressor Maps” on Monday, Feb 16th. We will be giving away a mini iPad during the presentation! We will also be available during the Vendor Fair at booth 88.
  • 7F User’s Conference – May 19 — 23 in Chandler, AZ
    Dr. Ray Boucher will present Compressor Monitoring Techniques and Real-Time Compressor Maps Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 4:45pm in the Gila Monster Room. We will have giveaways during the presentation! We will also be available for follow-up questions at the Vendor Fair, booth 31.


7FA Show Update

May 29, 2013DavidGeneralComments Off on 7FA Show Update


We had a great turnout at the 7FA show and thanks to all the customers who stopped by. Many customers were interested in gas turbine reliability and the advantage of measuring air mass flow rate in addition to the typical OEM unit instrumentation to give accurate predictive performance of their engine. Water wash optimization was a hot topic and we were able to show them how they can see online and offline water wash performance results in real time. Additionally, some merchant energy customers were impressed by our ability to accurately predict day ahead high and low plant loads as well by using real time unit performance in continuously adaptive models. Most of all, they liked the fact that we are able to work across their fleet of heavy duty gas turbines, regardless of OEM, thus giving them an independent verification of each units’ reliability and performance!

The top question of the night was “Why doesn’t GE do that?” Remember, at the end of the day, the OEM makes money off selling you parts, outage services, CSA’s, and LTSA’s. We do need these large OEM’s around to bring in the best gas turbine technology available. However, you can’t be the best at everything. At Real Time Power, our total focus is your units’ longevity and optimization. We know you are in the business to make money and that only happens if you have the most optimized and reliable unit possible!

2013 Events

December 28, 2012DavidGeneralComments Off on 2013 Events

Happy New Year!image

As we prepare for 2013, we would like to invite you to come visit us at various trade shows this year. Make sure to come back often for the latest information about where we will be, presentations and prizes!

  • 501FG User’s Conference
    March 18 — 21
    Charlotte, NC

    Come hear Dr. Ray Boucher speak on Monday, March 18th – Meeting Room #6 at 11:40am – 12:10pm on “Using Real Time Model Based Health Checks To Quickly Diagnose and Quantify Engine Performance Issues.” We will be giving away a mini iPad during the presentation! We will also be available during the Vendor Fair at booth 23.

  • 7F User’s Conference
    May 20 — 24
    Greenville, SC
    Come visit us on Wednesday May 22 at booth 37.

Factors which affect Industrial Gas Turbine Air Mass Flow Rate

July 1, 2012DavidGeneralComments Off on Factors which affect Industrial Gas Turbine Air Mass Flow Rate

The main factors we at Real Time Power have observed which affect industrial gas turbine air mass flow rate are:

  1. Shaft rotational speed
  2. Inlet guide vane (IGV) angle
  3. Air density at the compressor inlet
  4. Compressor extraction flow rates

The compressor is well approximated as a constant volumetric flow rate machine when at synchronous speed with fixed IGV angle. The volumetric flow rate is then most influenced by the IGV angle, and the relationship between IGV angle and volumetric flow rate is nonlinear, because the effect of the IGV opening involves either a cosine or sine  function, depending on how the angle is defined. This document will use the convention of IGVs fully open as 0° and fully closed would be -90°. In this case, a cosine curve would be a good fit to the volumetric flow rate response, since cos(-90°) = 0 and cos(0°) = 1. It is often the case that some additional flow rate can be generated by going beyond 0° opening, up to 5-6° is typical. This extra flow is created due to aerodynamic interactions between the IGVs and the first stage of rotating compressor blades, and is not predicted from simple “area of opening” calculations.

With constant volumetric flow rate, mass flow rate will then vary as a function of compressor inlet air density. The main factor which affects air density is the temperature of the air, and this is why evaporative coolers, chillers and foggers are deployed in order to lower the ambient temperature and therefore increase the air density and the air mass flow rate, and ultimately the power output of the gas turbine (which is directly proportional to air mass flow rate). Air pressure and relative humidity also affect air density, and the disadvantage of evaporative coolers and foggers over closed cycle chillers is that the lower density water vapor introduced into the air flow reduces some of the gains of the cooling. The air pressure at the compressor inlet is affected by the ambient air pressure and also by pressure drops across air filters and air conditioning equipment. Fouling of air filters and evaporative cooler media can lead to increased pressure drops and lower gas turbine power output.

The fourth factor listed is compressor extraction flow rates, which typically vary based upon ambient conditions, as well as the condition of the gas turbine. Extracting more flow from the compressor stages will in general increase the mass flow rate into the compressor inlet. When compressor extraction flows are scheduled roughly in proportion to IGV opening, then normalized compressor ratio (compressor discharge pressure / compressor inlet pressure) x (ISO air density / air density) correlates extremely well with the volumetric flow rate measured by Real Time Power’s AirSonic system.

One thing not on the list of major influencers is compressor efficiency (or cleanliness). Only in extreme cases of fouling does the volumetric flow rate decrease. In most normal situations, the effect of compressor fouling is to increase compressor discharge temperature, which will in turn increase turbine exhaust gas temperature and limit the maximum power output of the engine. So the main effect of compressor fouling is on maximum achievable MW output from the gas turbine.