(82c) Students Learn Fundamentals of Process Operations and Control Using Dynamic Simulator of An Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) Plant with CO2 Capture
While today’s undergraduate chemical engineering students often learn about the importance of dynamic simulation and process control, they typically do not spend considerable time gaining practical experience in plant-wide operations and control. At West Virginia University’s (WVU) National Research Center for Coal and Energy, students have access to a real-time dynamic simulator for an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant with carbon capture and compression. Fueled with coal, petroleum coke, and/or biomass, the gasification island of the IGCC plant consists of two oxygen-blown, downward-fired, entrained-flow, slagging gasifiers with radiant syngas cooler, two-stage sour shift reactors followed by a dual-stage acid gas removal process. The combined cycle island consists of two F-class gas turbines, steam turbine, and a heat recovery steam generator with three-pressure levels. The IGCC dynamic simulator is operated under the auspices of the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Advanced Virtual Energy Simulation Training And Research (AVESTARTM) Center.
Using the IGCC operator training system (OTS), students gain hands-on, interactive, simulator-based experience with normal base load operations, cold, warm, and hot startups, plant shutdown, load shedding and following, and fuel switching. The students also investigate abnormal situations in real-time, including equipment malfunctions and failures, together with changes initiated through actions from the instructor station or from field operators. In addition, students learn how the plant responds dynamically to changes in the manipulated inputs, as well as how the control system impacts plant performance, stability, robustness and disturbance rejection characteristics. The students study the step and ramp response of the simple linear, lower order processes along with more complicated higher-order and nonlinear processes. The students observe the “real-life” transient response of the processes with non-minimum phase behavior and face the challenge of controlling these systems with PID only control. Various open-loop unstable processes are studied and the role of feedback mechanism in making the system closed-loop stable is explained by demonstrating a number of familiar systems in this simulator environment. Other than the conventional control structures, the simulator is utilized for studying more complex control structures such as cascade control, feedforward control, ratio control, override control, split-range control, etc. The system is also capable to monitor, evaluate, and report the performance of the students through a trainee performance monitoring (TPM) module. The students are challenged by asking them to control the plant within a set of operating limits in the face of the disturbances and simulated process faults.