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Publication numberUS20090297333 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/128,265
Publication dateDec 3, 2009
Filing dateMay 28, 2008
Priority dateMay 28, 2008
Also published asDE602009001048D1, EP2128449A1, EP2128449B1, US20140030058
Publication number12128265, 128265, US 2009/0297333 A1, US 2009/297333 A1, US 20090297333 A1, US 20090297333A1, US 2009297333 A1, US 2009297333A1, US-A1-20090297333, US-A1-2009297333, US2009/0297333A1, US2009/297333A1, US20090297333 A1, US20090297333A1, US2009297333 A1, US2009297333A1
InventorsSaul Mirsky, Wayne Jacobson, Jeff McWhirter
Original AssigneeSaul Mirsky, Wayne Jacobson, Mcwhirter Jeff
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Enhanced Turbocompressor Startup
US 20090297333 A1
Abstract
A control method and apparatus for startup of turbocompressors to avoid overpowering a driver of the turbocompressor. In a first embodiment, the control system monitors input signals from transmitters of various control inputs. When the input signals exceed threshold values, the control system begins to close the antisurge valve. In a second embodiment, the antisurge valve begins to close after a predetermined time measured from the time startup is initiated. In both embodiments, the antisurge valve continues to ramp closed until the compressor has reached its operating zone, or until the compressor's operating point reaches a surge control line, at which point the antisurge valve is manipulated to keep the compressor from surging.
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Claims(15)
1. A method of minimizing an energy required to start a turbocompressor having an antisurge valve and a control system, the method comprising:
(a) opening the antisurge valve fully;
(b) initiating a startup of the turbocompressor;
(c) increasing a rotational speed of the turbocompressor from a zero rotational speed; and
(d) actuating the antisurge valve toward its closed position before said turbocompressor reaches a minimum operating rotational speed.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein an initiation of a closing of the antisurge valve comprises:
(a) sensing at least one signal by the control system;
(b) comparing a magnitude of the at least one signal with a minimum threshold value; and
(c) initiating the closing of the antisurge valve when the magnitude of the at least one signal exceeds the minimum threshold value.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein an initiation of a closing of the antisurge valve comprises:
(a) initializing a timer to an initial value at a time of initiating the startup of the turbocompressor;
(b) measuring time elapsed from the initial value;
(c) comparing the measured time with a threshold value; and
(d) initiating the closing of the antisurge valve when the elapsed time exceeds the threshold value.
4. The method of claim 3 wherein the minimum operating rotational speed comprises a constant operating rotational speed of the turbocompressor, the method additionally comprising:
(a) permitting a driver of the turbocompressor to reach the constant operating rotational speed; and
(b) operating the turbocompressor at the constant operating speed.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein increasing a rotational speed of the turbocompressor from a zero rotational speed comprises:
(a) increasing a turbocompressor rotational speed set point within the control system; and
(b) controlling the turbocompressor rotational speed based on said turbocompressor rotational speed set point.
6. The method of claim 3 wherein the threshold value is equal to the initial value.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein an initiation of a closing of the antisurge valve comprises:
(a) sensing a plurality of signals input to the control system;
(b) comparing magnitudes of each of said plurality of signals with a respective minimum threshold value; and
(c) initiating the closing of the antisurge valve when the magnitudes of the plurality of signals exceed the respective minimum threshold values.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein actuating the antisurge valve towards its closed position before said turbocompressor reaches a minimum operating rotational speed comprises:
(a) detecting a signal indicating a turbocompressor operating point;
(b) comparing said signal to a value representing a surge control line; and
(c) manipulating the antisurge valve to keep the turbocompressor operating point from residing nearer a surge region than the surge control line.
9. An apparatus for minimizing an energy required to start a turbocompressor, the apparatus comprising:
(a) an antisurge valve;
(b) a control system;
(c) a first control system function to generate a first signal to open the antisurge valve fully;
(d) a second control system function to initiate a startup of the turbocompressor and increase a rotational speed set point of the turbocompressor from a zero rotational speed set point;
(e) a third control system function to discern that conditions are appropriate to initiate a closing of the antisurge valve before said turbocompressor reaches a minimum operating rotational speed; and
(f) a fourth control system function to generate a second signal to actuate the antisurge valve towards its closed position after the third control system function has discerned conditions are appropriate to initiate the closing of the antisurge valve.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 additionally comprising:
(a) at least one signal generated by a measurement system and sensed by the control system;
(b) a comparator in the control system to compare a magnitude of the at least one signal with a minimum threshold value; and
(c) an antisurge actuation signal generating function within the control system to initiate a closing of the antisurge valve when the magnitude of the at least one signal exceeds the minimum threshold value.
11. The apparatus of claim 9 additionally comprising:
(a) a timer, used to measure a time elapsed from an initiation of the startup of the turbocompressor;
(b) a comparator in the control system to compare the elapsed time with a threshold value; and
(c) an antisurge actuation signal generating function within the control system to initiate a closing of the antisurge valve when the elapsed time exceeds the threshold value.
12. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the second control system function additionally comprises:
(a) a rotational speed set point generating function within the control system; and
(b) a feedback control system to control the turbocompressor rotational speed based on said turbocompressor rotational speed set point.
13. The apparatus of claim 9 additionally comprising:
(a) a plurality of signals generated by a measurement system and sensed by the control system;
(b) a comparator in the control system to compare a magnitude of each of the plurality of signals with a respective minimum threshold value; and
(c) an antisurge actuation signal generating function within the control system to initiate a closing of the antisurge valve when the magnitude of all the plurality of signals exceed the respective minimum threshold values.
14. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the fourth control system function additionally comprises:
(a) a signal indicating a turbocompressor operating point;
(b) a comparator function to compare said signal to a value representing a surge control line; and
(c) a closed-loop control system to manipulate the antisurge valve to keep the turbocompressor operating point from residing nearer a surge region than the surge control line.
15. An apparatus for minimizing an energy required to start a turbocompressor, the apparatus comprising:
(a) an antisurge valve;
(b) a constant speed turbocompressor driver having a constant operating rotational speed;
(c) a control system;
(d) a first control system function to generate a first signal to open the antisurge valve fully;
(e) a second control system function to initiate a startup of the turbocompressor to increase a rotational speed of the turbocompressor from a zero rotational speed;
(f) a third control system function to discern that conditions are appropriate to initiate a closing of the antisurge valve before said turbocompressor reaches the constant operating rotational speed; and
(g) a fourth control system function to generate a second signal to actuate the antisurge valve towards its closed position after the third control system function has discerned conditions are appropriate to initiate the closing of the antisurge valve.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    Not applicable.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to a control scheme. More particularly the present invention relates to a method and apparatus for reducing a shaft power required when starting up a turbocompressor by manipulating the compressor's antisurge recycle valve.
  • [0004]
    2. Background Art
  • [0005]
    As shown in FIG. 1, a turbocompressor 100, whether axial or centrifugal, is driven by a driver such as a variable speed electric motor 110. A recycle valve 120, used for antisurge protection, is piped in parallel with the compressor 100. An inlet throttling valve 130 may be used for compressor capacity or performance control.
  • [0006]
    As all those of ordinary skill in this art know, surge is an unstable operating condition of a turbocompressor encountered at generally low flow rates. The surge region is shown in FIG. 2 to the left of the surge limit curve 210. In FIG. 2, Hp is the polytropic head and Q is the volumetric flow rate, both associated with the turbocompressor.
  • [0007]
    For the purposes of this document, including the claims, the compressor's minimum operating speed is hereby defined as the minimum rotational speed, greater than idle speed, at which the compressor may be operated continuously. The minimum operating speed is defined by the compressor manufacturer. It is generally depicted as the lowest performance curve in a compressor performance map such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Lower speeds, greater than idle speed, are experienced on startup and shutdown, but the compressor is not operated continuously at these speeds. For turbocompressors operated at a constant speed, such as those driven by constant speed electric motors, the minimum operating speed is simply the constant operating rotational speed.
  • [0008]
    As those of ordinary skill know, the accepted startup procedure for a turbocompressor is to increase the rotational speed of the compressor with the antisurge valve 120 wide open until the compressor reaches the compressor's minimum operating speed (if the compressor is operated at variable speed) or the compressor's operating speed (if the compressor is driven by a constant speed driver). At this point in the startup procedure, the antisurge valve 120 is ramped closed and the compressor's 100 automatic performance control takes control of the compressor's rotational speed, inlet throttling valve 130, or variable guide vanes to control the compressor's 100 capacity.
  • [0009]
    As is recognized by all those of ordinary skill, this startup procedure provides the most safety for the compressor because surge will be avoided, as depicted in FIG. 3. The compressor's 100 operating point trajectory 320 is shown as a dot-dashed line. Curves of constant compressor rotational speed 310 a-310 e are shown as solid lines. The curve 310 a represents the minimum operating rotational speed, while the curve 310 e represents the maximum operating rotational speed. Because the recycle valve 120 is maintained in its fully open position until minimum rotational speed has been achieved, the compressor operating point trajectory 320 tends to give wide berth to the surge limit curve 210 in the region below the minimum rotational speed curve 310 a.
  • [0010]
    Additional impetuses for startup with the antisurge valve 120 fully open are that the surge limit curve 210 is usually unknown for rotational speeds less than the minimum operating speed, and that pressure and flow sensor signals of reasonable magnitude must be achieved before a valid compressor operating point may be determined. The compressor's operating point must be calculated to compare its location to the surge limit line 210, or surge control line 220 to avoid having the compressor's operating point cross the surge limit line 210. Antisurge control algorithms are described in the Compressor Controls Series 5 Antisurge Control Application Manual, Publication UM5411 rev. 2.8.0 December 2007, herein incorporated in its entirety by reference.
  • [0011]
    Due to the large flow through the compressor 100 during startup using the above standard procedure, the shaft power required to drive the compressor 100 is large. This results in slower startup and, possibly, tripping of the driver due to power overload.
  • [0012]
    A gas turbine driver may experience high exhaust gas temperatures during the startup of a turbocompressor. An electric motor driver may trip on thermal overload due to a current being too high for too long a duration.
  • [0013]
    There is, therefore, a need for an improved control strategy for the startup of turbocompressors to reduce the loading of the compressor while maintaining the compressor flow out of the unstable, surge region.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0014]
    An object of the present invention is to provide a method and apparatus for safely starting a turbocompressor while minimizing an overall energy required to accomplish the startup.
  • [0015]
    Compressors having gas turbine drivers and variable frequency drive electric motors tend to have long startup times—on the order of several minutes. For this class of compressors, a first embodiment of this invention prescribes that the compressor's antisurge valve be maintained at its fully open position until predetermined signal strengths are realized from the compressor's suction and discharge pressure sensors, and the flow sensor. At this point, the antisurge valve is ramped closed at a predetermined rate under control of the antisurge control system to keep the compressor's operating point from crossing the surge control curve. Startup continues independently of the antisurge controller's operation.
  • [0016]
    A second class of compressors comprises constant-speed electric motor driven compressors. The startup times for this class of compressors tend to be on the order of less than a minute. In this case, the control system starts the antisurge valve in a fully open position, and begins to ramp the antisurge valve closed at a predetermined rate after a predetermined time has elapsed after the initiation of the startup of the compressor. Because of the rapid startup, the pressure and flow sensor signals become viable very quickly, so antisurge control may be carried out before the compressor's operating point reaches the surge control curve.
  • [0017]
    The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of this invention, both as to its organization and method of operation together with further objectives and advantages thereto, will be better understood from the following description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1 is a schematic of a compressor, driver, and antisurge recycle valve;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 2 is a first representative compressor performance map;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 3 is a second representative compressor performance map showing a first compressor operating point's startup trajectory;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 4 is a is a third representative compressor performance map showing lines of constant shaft power;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 5 is a fourth representative compressor performance map showing a second compressor operating point's startup trajectory;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 6 a is a schematic of a variable speed motor driven compressor system;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 6 b is a schematic of a constant speed motor driven compressor system;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic of a turbine driven compressor system;
  • [0026]
    FIG. 8 is a flow diagram of a first embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0027]
    FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a second embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0028]
    FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a third embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0029]
    FIG. 11 is a detail flow diagram of a startup initiation process
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0030]
    A typical compressor performance map in Hp-Q coordinates is shown in FIG. 4. Here, Hp is polytropic head and Q is volumetric flow rate—usually in the suction. The map of FIG. 4 comprises solid-line curves of constant rotational speed 310 a-310 e and dashed-line curves of constant shaft power 410 a-410 e. As is clear from the relationship between the curves of constant rotational speed 310 a-310 e and the curves of constant shaft power 410 a-410 e, at a given rotational speed, the required shaft power decreases as the operating point moves toward the surge limit 210. To avoid overpowering the compressor driver 110, 710 (see FIG. 7) an operating point trajectory 520, shown in FIG. 5, running as near the surge limit 210 as possible, should be used. The short-dashed curve 510 represents a surge control line—a line set a predetermined distance from the surge limit line 210 toward the stable operating region, thus providing a safety margin for the antisurge control system.
  • [0031]
    As those of ordinary skill in the art of compressor control know, limit control is applied to the compressor 100 to maintain the operating point at or to the right of the surge control line 510. To effect this control, an antisurge or recycle valve 120, as shown in FIGS. 1, 6 a, 6 b, and 7, is manipulated to maintain an adequate flow rate through the compressor 100. The manipulation of the antisurge valve 120 is carried out via an automatic control algorithm in the antisurge controller, A/S PID 610, of FIGS. 6 a, 6 b, and 7. Typical inputs to the antisurge controller 610 are shown in FIGS. 6 a, 6 b, and 7 and comprise a differential pressure signal from a flow transmitter, FT 620, a suction pressure signal from a suction pressure transmitter, PT1 630, a discharge pressure signal from a discharge pressure transmitter, PT2 635, and a rotational speed signal from speed pickup, SE 640 when the driver is variable speed as in FIGS. 6 a, and 7. Often, in applications using a constant speed driver, such as a constant speed electric motor 640, as shown in FIG. 6, no speed pickup SE 640 in included.
  • [0032]
    To emulate the operating point trajectory 520 depicted in FIG. 5, the antisurge valve 120 is initially fully open, but is ramped closed by the control system as soon as safe operation may be assured. One embodiment of the instant invention is depicted in the flow diagram of FIG. 8. This embodiment is particularly useful when the startup process is “slow,” taking on the order of several minutes from its initiation. As mentioned, the antisurge valve 120 is set initially at its full open position as shown in block 800. The full open position may vary between valve types. Generally, full open in the context of this invention is the greatest opening the antisurge valve 120 will realize in its duty in the specific application. The present invention does not depend on the percent opening value at which the antisurge valve 120 is considered in its full open position.
  • [0033]
    When the antisurge valve 120 is assured fully open, startup can be initiated as shown in block 805. At startup, the rotational speed of the compressor 100 is increased according to the guidelines and restrictions of the compressor 100 and driver 110, 710 manufacturers and the needs of the equipment owner. In particular, critical speeds, if any, are considered and the startup schedule takes these speeds into consideration. Speed increase is depicted in block 810, and is effected, as shown in FIG. 11, by increasing a compressor speed set point used by a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controller 650 (FIG. 6 a) or a rotational speed controller 720 (FIG. 7).
  • [0034]
    As the compressor speed increases, the control system 610 repeatedly checks the signals received from the flow transmitter 620, suction pressure transmitter 630, and discharge pressure transmitter 635. The signal values are compared to threshold values, Δpo,min, ps,min, and pd,min, respectively in comparator blocks 815, 820, 825. If the signal magnitude of one or more of the input signals, Δpo, ps, and pd, is not at least as great as its respective threshold value, the rotational speed of the compressor 100 continues to be ramped up as indicated in block 810.
  • [0035]
    Once all three signals, Δpo,min, ps,min, and pd,min, exceed their threshold values Δpo,min, ps,min, and pd,min, two operations are carried out essentially simultaneously and repeatedly. Each of these operations emanates from and returns to the branch block 830. In one of these operations, the antisurge controller 610 compares the compressor's operating point to the surge control line 510 to determine how the antisurge valve 120 must be manipulated for antisurge protection. If the compressor's operating point is to the right of the surge control line 510 as determined in the comparator block 835, the antisurge valve 120 is ramped toward its closed position according to a predetermined schedule as shown in block 850. If the operating point is on or to the left of the surge control line 510, the antisurge controller 610 manipulates the antisurge valve's 120 position to keep the compressor 100 safe from surge as shown in block 845.
  • [0036]
    The other essentially simultaneous operation involves continuing to increase the compressor's rotational speed according to block 855 until the minimum operating speed, Nmin, or some predetermined value of speed is reached. Continuing to increase the compressor's rotational speed is effected as explained with regard to block 810: the rotational speed set point used by the VFD controller 650 or the speed controller 720 is increased with time. Those of ordinary skill in this art are intimate with this aspect of startup control. When the comparator block 840 determines the compressor 100 has reached its minimum operating speed, the control system is shifted from its startup mode to its RUN mode, as shown in block 860. At that point, the capacity or performance control system takes over varying the compressor speed according to the needs of the process. Note that the minimum operating speed, Nmin, in comparator block 840 may be the compressor's operating speed if the compressor 120 is to be operated at a constant speed.
  • [0037]
    An additional embodiment is shown in FIG. 9. This embodiment is particularly useful for compressors 120 that may be started rapidly—in less than a minute, for instance. The antisurge valve 120 is set initially at its full open position as shown in block 800. In block 910, a timer is reset to zero.
  • [0038]
    When the antisurge valve 120 is assured fully open and the timer has been initialized, startup can be initiated as shown in block 805. At startup, the rotational speed of the compressor 100 is ramped up according to the guidelines and restrictions of the compressor 100 and driver 110, 710 manufacturers and the needs of the equipment owner. Speed rampup is carried out by increasing the VFD controller's 650 or rotational speed controller's 720 set point, and is depicted in block 810.
  • [0039]
    In this embodiment of the invention, the antisurge valve is ramped toward a closed position after a predetermined time elapses. In comparator block 920, the time as reported by the timer is compared to the time threshold, tPD. If the time does not exceed the threshold time, the speed continues to increase, but no change to the position of the antisurge valve 120 is made. When the threshold time, tPD, has elapsed, two operations are carried out essentially simultaneously and repeatedly. Each of these operations emanates from and returns to the branch block 830. In one of these operations, the antisurge controller 610 compares the compressor's operating point to the surge control line 510 to determine how the antisurge valve 120 must be manipulated for antisurge protection. If the compressor's operating point is to the right of the surge control line 510 as determined in the comparator block 835, the antisurge valve 120 is ramped toward its closed position according to a predetermined ramp rate as shown in block 850. If the operating point is on or to the left of the surge control line 510, the antisurge controller 610 manipulates the antisurge valve's 120 position to keep the compressor 100 safe from surge as shown in block 845.
  • [0040]
    The other essentially simultaneous operation involves continuing to increase the compressor's rotational speed according to block 855 until the minimum operating speed, Nmin, or some predetermined value of speed is reached. When the comparator block 840 determines the compressor 120 has reached its minimum operating speed, the control system is shifted from its startup mode to its RUN mode, as shown in block 860. At that point, the capacity or performance control system takes over varying the compressor speed according to the needs of the process. Note that the minimum operating speed, Nmin, in comparator block 840 may be the compressor's operating speed if the compressor 120 is to be operated at a constant speed.
  • [0041]
    In FIG. 10, a third embodiment is illustrated, differing from the embodiment of FIG. 9 in that the driver of FIG. 10 is a constant speed driver, such as a constant speed electric motor 640 (FIG. 6 b). In this embodiment, the process of accelerating the driver up to its operating speed, Nop, does not incorporate a decision to continue accelerating the driver inasmuch as the driver will continue to accelerate until its operating speed, Nop, is reached or it is tripped. Therefore, block 1055 indicates only that the rotational speed continues to rise. Block 1040 is intended only to indicate the compressor rotational speed will increase until the operating speed, Nop, is reached, and not that a decision is being made in this comparator block. Ultimately, when the compressor has reached its operating speed, Nop, the control system reverts to a RUN mode 860 wherein performance or capacity control is carried out to satisfy process constraints. Note that, in this case especially, the predetermined time lapse, tPD, in comparator block 920 may be zero so the antisurge valve 120 begins to close immediately as startup begins.
  • [0042]
    The last two embodiments differ from the prior art in that, in the instant invention, time is used to determine when the antisurge valve 120 is ramped toward its closed position, rather than rotational speed.
  • [0043]
    The flow diagrams in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 may be considered contents of a logic unit within a compressor control system, such as the antisurge controller 610 depicted in FIGS. 6 a, 6 b, and 7.
  • [0044]
    More detail of the startup initiation block 810 is shown in FIG. 11. A check to ascertain the antisurge valve 120 is fully open is first carried out in query block 1110. If the antisurge valve 120 is not fully open, the flow moves to a valve open function 1120. Once the antisurge valve 120 is fully open, the turbocompressor rotational speed is increased from an initial, zero value as shown in block 1130.
  • [0045]
    The above embodiments are the preferred embodiments, but this invention is not limited thereto. It is, therefore, apparent that many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is, therefore, to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8079227 *Jun 7, 2006Dec 20, 2011Johnson Controls Technology CompanyReduced compressor capacity controls
US20070151264 *Jun 7, 2006Jul 5, 2007Johnson Controls Technology CompanyReduced compressor capacity controls
Classifications
U.S. Classification415/26, 415/36
International ClassificationF04D27/02
Cooperative ClassificationF04D27/0261, F04D27/0292
European ClassificationF04D27/02P
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 12, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: COMPRESSOR CONTROLS CORPORATION,IOWA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MIRSKY, SAUL;JACOBSON, WAYNE;MCWHIRTER, JEFF;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080516 TO 20080523;REEL/FRAME:021088/0569