Design a steam power cycle that can achieve a cycle thermal efficiency of at least 40 percent under the conditions that all turbines have isentropic efficiencies of 85 percent and all pumps have isentropic efficiencies of 60 percent. Kindly suggest the types of cycles that can be used to design this plant


Steam Power Cycles for High Thermal Efficiency (≥ 40%)

To achieve a cycle thermal efficiency of at least 40%, several types of steam power cycles can be considered:

1. Rankine Cycle with Reheat:

  • This is a modified Rankine cycle where steam is extracted from the turbine at an intermediate pressure and re-heated to a higher temperature before entering the final turbine stages. This increases the average temperature of heat addition, leading to a higher thermal efficiency.
  • Advantages:
    • Achieves higher thermal efficiency compared to the basic Rankine cycle.
    • Improved part-load performance.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires additional equipment (reheater), increasing complexity and cost.

2. Regenerative Rankine Cycle:

  • This cycle utilizes bleed steam from the turbine at multiple points to preheat the feedwater entering the boiler. This reduces the heat input required from the external heat source, improving the thermal efficiency.
  • Advantages:
    • Improves thermal efficiency without increasing the maximum cycle temperature.
    • Relatively simple to implement and operate.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires additional piping and heat exchangers, increasing cost.

3. Supercritical Rankine Cycle:

  • This cycle operates with steam in a supercritical state, where the distinction between the liquid and gas phases disappears. This allows for higher operating pressures and temperatures, leading to a higher thermal efficiency.
  • Advantages:
    • Highest thermal efficiency achievable among steam power cycles.
    • Compact plant design.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Requires advanced materials and boiler design to withstand high pressures and temperatures.
    • More complex control systems needed.

4. Combined Cycle:

  • This cycle combines a gas turbine cycle with a steam turbine cycle. The exhaust heat from the gas turbine is used to generate steam for the steam turbine, increasing the overall efficiency.
  • Advantages:
    • Highest thermal efficiency of all power generation technologies.
    • Lower emissions compared to conventional steam plants.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Higher initial capital cost.
    • More complex operation and maintenance.

5. Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC):

  • This cycle uses an organic working fluid instead of water. Organic fluids have lower boiling points than water, allowing for efficient utilization of low-grade heat sources (e.g., geothermal, waste heat).
  • Advantages:
    • Can utilize low-grade heat sources for power generation.
    • Relatively simpler and compact design.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Lower thermal efficiency compared to conventional steam cycles.
    • Organic fluids can be more expensive and environmentally hazardous.


The best cycle for your specific application depends on various factors such as:

  • Available heat source temperature: Higher heat source temperatures favor supercritical or combined cycles.
  • Fuel type and cost: Certain cycles might be more suitable for specific fuel types.
  • Capital cost constraints: Simple cycles like the basic Rankine or regenerative Rankine might be preferred for lower investment costs.
  • Environmental regulations: Emission considerations might favor certain cycles with lower emissions.

It’s crucial to conduct a detailed feasibility study considering all relevant factors to determine the most efficient and cost-effective cycle for your project.

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