Title:
AUTOMATED INLET STEAM SUPPLY VALVE CONTROLS FOR A STEAM TURBINE POWERED CHILLER UNIT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A control system and method are provided for the controlling of steam supplies used by a steam turbine driven chiller unit. The steam turbine can receive steam from a high pressure steam source and/or a low pressure steam source depending on the operating mode of the steam turbine. The high pressure steam is used for operating at the steam turbine at rated speed and to provide the breakaway torque when starting the steam turbine. The low pressure steam is used for extending idling of the steam turbine that enables the steam turbine to transition more quickly to rated speed when desired.



Inventors:
Shaffer, Dennis L. (Thomasville, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/420596
Publication Date:
11/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/26/2006
Assignee:
JOHNSON CONTROLS TECHNOLOGY COMPANY (Holland, MI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/498
International Classes:
F25B49/00; F25B1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
COX, ALEXIS K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MCNEES WALLACE & NURICK LLC (HARRISBURG, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of starting a steam turbine driven chiller system having a high pressure steam supply and a low pressure steam supply, the method comprising the steps of: executing a starting sequence for the steam turbine; initiating a slow roll of the steam turbine using the high pressure steam supply; transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply; and slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined slow roll speed using the low pressure steam supply.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of initiating a slow roll of the steam turbine includes opening a governor valve of the steam turbine.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of initiating a slow roll of the steam turbine further includes opening a high pressure steam inlet supply valve in response to the governor valve being opened to a predetermined position.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply includes operating the steam turbine using the high pressure steam supply for a predetermined time period.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the step of transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply further includes the steps of: opening a low pressure inlet steam supply valve in response to the predetermined time period expiring; and closing a high pressure inlet steam valve in response to the low pressure steam inlet supply valve beginning to open.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the step of slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined slow roll speed using the low pressure steam supply includes positioning the low pressure inlet steam supply valve to maintain the predetermined slow roll speed.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined slow roll speed using the low pressure steam supply includes slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined slow roll speed for a predetermined time period.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein the predetermined slow roll speed is about 500 rpm.

9. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of operating the steam turbine at a predetermined operational speed using the high pressure steam supply.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the step of operating the steam turbine at a predetermined operational speed includes transitioning from the low pressure steam supply to the high pressure steam supply.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the step of transitioning from the low pressure steam supply to the high pressure steam supply includes the steps of: opening a high pressure inlet steam supply valve; closing a low pressure inlet steam valve in response to the high pressure steam inlet supply valve beginning to open; and slow rolling the steam turbine at the predetermined slow roll speed using the high pressure steam supply for a predetermined time period.

12. A method of initiating an idling mode in a steam turbine driven chiller system having a high pressure steam supply and a low pressure steam supply, the method comprising the steps of: executing a transition sequence for the steam turbine, the steam turbine operating at a rated speed using the high pressure steam supply prior to the transition sequence; initiating an unload cycle for the chiller system; transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply; and slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined idling speed using the low pressure steam supply, the predetermined idling speed being less than the rated speed.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the step of executing a transition sequence for the steam turbine includes initiating a predetermined controlled stop time period.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the step of executing a transition sequence for the steam turbine further includes the steps of: closing a high pressure steam inlet valve from a fully open position during the predetermined controlled stop time period; and controlling the high pressure steam inlet valve with a control system in response to the high pressure steam inlet valve being closed to a predetermined position.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of initiating an unload cycle for the chiller system occurs in response to the control system controlling the high pressure steam inlet valve.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein the step of initiating an unload cycle for the chiller system includes the steps of: increasing a leaving chilled water setpoint temperature for an evaporator of the chiller system; decreasing the speed of the steam turbine to a predetermined turbine speed to avoid a surge condition in a compressor of the chiller system; closing pre-rotation vanes of the compressor; and opening a hot gas bypass valve of the chiller system.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the step of transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply occurs in response to one of the expiration of the predetermined controlled stop time period or the hot gas bypass valve being open more than a predetermined hot gas bypass valve position.

18. The method of claim 12 wherein the step of transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam further includes the steps of: closing a high pressure inlet steam valve; and controlling turbine speed with a low pressure steam inlet valve in response to the high pressure inlet steam valve being closed and the speed of the turbine being less than a predetermined first turbine speed, the predetermined first turbine speed being less than the rated speed and greater than the predetermined idling speed.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the step of transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply further includes the steps of: opening a hot gas bypass valve of the chiller system in response to the speed of the turbine being less than the predetermined first turbine speed; starting a vacuum pump to establish a vacuum in the steam turbine in response to the speed of the turbine being less than the predetermined first turbine speed; and stopping evaporator water flow in the chiller system, reducing condenser water flow in the chiller system and closing pre-rotation vanes of a compressor of the chiller system in response to the turbine speed being less than a predetermined second turbine speed, the predetermined second turbine speed being less than the predetermined first turbine speed.

20. The method of claim 12 wherein the predetermined idling speed is about 500 rpm.

21. A chiller system comprising: a steam system comprising a high pressure steam supply, a low pressure steam supply, a steam turbine and a steam condenser connected in a steam loop; a refrigerant system comprising a compressor, a refrigerant condenser, and an evaporator connected in a refrigerant loop, wherein the compressor is driven by the steam turbine; a control panel to control operation of both the steam system and the refrigerant system, the control panel comprising a control system to operate the steam system in an idling mode using the low pressure steam supply; and wherein idling mode operation results in the steam turbine operating at a predetermined slow roll speed and no substantial output capacity from the refrigerant system.

22. The chiller system of claim 21 wherein the high pressure steam supply provides steam within a range of about 90 psi to about 200 psi and the low pressure steam supply provides steam within a range of about 10 psi to about 20 psi.

23. The chiller system of claim 21 wherein the control system comprises a control algorithm configured to automatically control opening and closing of at least one of a high pressure steam inlet valve, a low pressure steam inlet valve, a turbine steam ring drain valve and a turbine gland seal steam system supply valve.

24. The chiller system of claim 21 wherein the control system is configured to transition the steam system from the idling mode to an operational mode using the high pressure steam supply and to transition the steam system from an operational mode using the high pressure steam supply to the idling mode.

25. The chiller system of claim 21 wherein the steam system comprises a governor valve and the control system is configured to automatically control opening and closing of the governor valve, a high pressure steam inlet valve and a low pressure steam inlet valve during the idling mode of operation.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a control system for a chiller unit, and more specifically, to a control system for a steam turbine powered chiller unit that can control inlet steam supply valves for a steam turbine receiving steam from two different steam supplies.

While most heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, or chiller systems use electric motors to power the corresponding compressor(s) in the chiller system, some chiller systems have used a steam turbine to power the compressor. These previous steam turbine powered chiller systems were supplied with only a high pressure steam supply required for normal full load operation and had a PLC based panel for use with the steam turbine drive. The panel logic controlled only the remote speed set point of the electronic governor supplied by the turbine manufacture. This stand-alone speed control prevented the customer from safely taking advantage of an available low pressure steam supply during an extended idle period for the chiller system because it was not possible to add to the PLC the adaptive tuning required to handle changes in the motive force when switching between the high and low pressure steam supplies.

Furthermore, the use of high pressure steam for extended idling would require sufficient cooling water flow through the steam condenser to be maintained to prevent the steam condenser from overheating. Thus, instead of attempting to maintain the sufficient cooling water flow, the chiller system was completely stopped to prevent overheating and to permit the turbine casing to cool down before the next restart. The stopping of the chiller system then resulted in the operator having to perform an extensive manual start up procedure and slow roll warm up before the turbine could be operated at rated speed again.

Therefore, what is needed is automated inlet steam supply valves for a steam turbine powered chiller unit and a corresponding control system that can control the providing of both low pressure steam and high pressure steam to the steam turbine with the inlet steam supply valves.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of starting a steam turbine driven chiller system having a high pressure steam supply and a low pressure steam supply. The method includes the steps of executing a starting sequence for the steam turbine, initiating a slow roll of the steam turbine using the high pressure steam supply, transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply, and slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined slow roll speed using the low pressure steam supply.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a method of initiating an idling mode in a steam turbine driven chiller system having a high pressure steam supply and a low pressure steam supply. The method includes the steps of executing a transition sequence for the steam turbine, initiating an unload cycle for the chiller system, transitioning from the high pressure steam supply to the low pressure steam supply, and slow rolling the steam turbine at a predetermined idling speed using the low pressure steam supply. The steam turbine operates at a rated speed using the high pressure steam supply prior to the transition sequence. The predetermined idling speed is less than the rated speed.

Still another embodiment of the present invention is directed to a chiller system having a steam system including a high pressure steam supply, a low pressure steam supply, a steam turbine and a steam condenser connected in a steam loop. The chiller system also has a refrigerant system including a compressor, a refrigerant condenser, and an evaporator connected in a refrigerant loop. The compressor is driven by the steam turbine. The chiller system further has a control panel to control operation of both the steam system and the refrigerant system. The control panel includes a control system to operate the steam system in an idling mode using the low pressure steam supply. The idling mode operation results in the steam turbine operating at a predetermined slow roll speed and no substantial output capacity from the refrigerant system.

One advantage of the present invention is that the starting mode and the return to a standby idling mode of the steam turbine can be controlled remotely by a control system.

Another advantage of the present invention is that a reduced cooling water flow is required for the steam condenser during an extended idling period of the steam turbine.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following more detailed description of the preferred embodiment, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a chiller unit of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of the chiller unit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the chiller unit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the control system of the chiller unit of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an embodiment of a start-up process for the present invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 are a flowchart of an embodiment of a ramp-up to rated speed process for the present invention.

FIGS. 8 and 9 are a flowchart of an embodiment of a return to idling speed process for the present invention.

Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A general system to which the invention is applied is illustrated, by means of example, in FIGS. 1-3. As shown, the HVAC, refrigeration, or chiller system 10 includes a compressor 12, a steam turbine 14, a refrigerant condenser 16, a water chiller or evaporator 18, a steam condenser 20, an expansion device 22 and a control panel or controller 90. The operation of the control panel 90 will be discussed in greater detail below. The chiller system 10 further includes a compressor lubrication system (not shown) and a turbine lubrication system (not shown). The conventional liquid chiller system 10 includes many other features that are not shown in FIGS. 1-3. These features have been purposely omitted to simplify the drawing for ease of illustration.

In one embodiment, a “structural frame” permits the stacking or vertical arrangement of major components of the chiller system 10 to provide a prepackaged unit that occupies less floor space with a smaller footprint than a field fabricated unit where the components are arranged horizontally. The structural frame can include a turbine baseplate 26, a steam condenser baseplate 27, a plurality of frame members 28, and tube end sheets 29. Tube end sheets 29 can provide both the internal support and refrigerant/water separation for the ends of heat exchange tubes (not shown) within refrigerant condenser 16 and evaporator 18. Frame members 28 are preselected structural components and materials, such as plate steel and tubular supports, that can support the corresponding components of the chiller system 10. The mounting between compressor 12 and turbine baseplate 26 is preferably a conventional D-flange coupling device that rigidly interconnects the housing of the compressor 12 with the turbine baseplate 26. In addition, the D-flange coupling device can afford a predictable degree of shaft alignment for the compressor 12 and the steam turbine 14.

The structural frame can incorporate a steam turbine 14 in combination with a refrigerant condenser 16, evaporator 18 and compressor 12 into a pre-packaged unit for installation. The steam condenser 20 and steam condenser baseplate 27 can then be manufactured as a separate unit from the pre-packaged unit and include all necessary interconnections for connection to the pre-packaged unit. The steam condenser 20 and steam condenser baseplate 27 can be field installed above the refrigerant condenser 16 during installation of chiller system 10. Finally, in another embodiment of the present invention, the main components of the chiller system 10 can be field installed into any suitable or desirable positions.

In the chiller system 10, the compressor 12 compresses a refrigerant vapor and delivers it to the refrigerant condenser 16. The compressor 12 is preferably a centrifugal compressor, however any other suitable type of compressor can be used. The compressor 12 is driven by the steam turbine 14, which can drive the compressor 12 at either a single speed or at variable speeds. Preferably, the steam turbine 14 is a multistage, variable speed turbine that is capable of operating the compressor 12 at a speed that more closely optimizes the efficiency of the chiller system 10. More preferably, the steam turbine 14 is capable of driving the compressor 12 at speeds in a range of about 3200 rpm to about 4500 rpm. The steam turbine 14 is preferably supplied with dry saturated steam from one or both of a high pressure steam source 301 and a low pressure steam source 302. The high pressure steam source 301 can provide steam within a range of about 90 to about 200 psi and the low pressure steam source 302 can provide steam within a range of about 10 to about 20 psi.

A high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 can control the flow of steam from the high pressure steam source 301. Similarly, a low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 can control the flow of steam from the low pressure steam source 302. The flow of steam from the high pressure steam source 301 and/or the low pressure steam source 302 to steam turbine 14 can be further modulated by a governor 48 to vary the speed of the steam turbine 14, and therefore vary the speed of compressor 12 to adjust the capacity of the compressor 12 by providing a greater (or larger) or lesser (or smaller) amount of refrigerant volumetric flow through the compressor 12. In another embodiment, the steam turbine 14 can drive the compressor 12 at only a single speed and other techniques are needed to adjust the capacity of the compressor 12, e.g., the use of pre-rotation vanes 80 and/or a hot gas bypass valve 84 (which devices can also be used with a variable speed compressor).

The refrigerant vapor delivered by the compressor 12 to the refrigerant condenser 16 enters into a heat exchange relationship with a fluid, e.g., air or water, and undergoes a phase change to a refrigerant liquid as a result of the heat exchange relationship with the fluid. In a preferred embodiment, the refrigerant vapor delivered to the refrigerant condenser 16 enters into a heat exchange relationship with a fluid, preferably water, flowing through a heat-exchanger coil connected to a cooling tower. The refrigerant vapor in the refrigerant condenser 16 undergoes a phase change to a refrigerant liquid as a result of the heat exchange relationship with the fluid in the heat-exchanger coil. The condensed liquid refrigerant from refrigerant condenser 16 flows through an expansion device 22 to the evaporator 18.

The evaporator 18 can include a heat-exchanger coil having a supply line 38 and a return line 40 connected to a cooling load. A secondary liquid, e.g., water, ethylene or propylene glycol mixture, calcium chloride brine or sodium chloride brine, travels into the evaporator 18 via the return line 40 and exits the evaporator 18 via the supply line 38. The liquid refrigerant in the evaporator 18 enters into a heat exchange relationship with the secondary liquid to lower the temperature of the secondary liquid. The refrigerant liquid in the evaporator 18 undergoes a phase change to a refrigerant vapor as a result of the heat exchange relationship with the secondary liquid. The vapor refrigerant in the evaporator 18 exits the evaporator 18 and returns to the compressor 12 by a suction line to complete the cycle. It is to be understood that any suitable configuration of refrigerant condenser 16 and evaporator 18 can be used in the chiller system 10, provided that the appropriate phase change of the refrigerant in the refrigerant condenser 16 and evaporator 18 is obtained.

At the input or inlet to the compressor 12 from the evaporator 18, there are one or more pre-rotation vanes (PRV) or inlet guide vanes 80 that control the flow of refrigerant to the compressor 12, and thereby control the capacity of the compressor 12. Pre-rotation vanes 80 are positionable to any position between a substantially open position, wherein refrigerant flow is essentially unimpeded into the compressor 12, and a substantially closed position, wherein refrigerant flow into the compressor 12 is restricted. It is to be understood that in the closed position, pre-rotation vanes 80 may not completely stop the flow of refrigerant into the compressor 12. An actuator is used to open the pre-rotation vanes 80 to increase the amount of refrigerant to the compressor 12 and thereby increase the cooling capacity of the system 10. Similarly, the actuator is used to close the pre-rotation vanes 80 to decrease the amount of refrigerant to the compressor 12 and thereby decrease the cooling capacity of the system 10. The actuator for the pre-rotation vanes 80 can open and close the pre-rotation vanes 80 in either a continuous manner or in a stepped or incremental manner.

The chiller system 10 can also include a hot gas bypass connection and corresponding valve 84 that connects the high pressure side and the low pressure side of the chiller system 10. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the hot gas bypass connection and the hot gas bypass valve 84 connect the refrigerant condenser 16 and the evaporator 18 and bypass the expansion device 22. In another embodiment, the hot gas bypass connection and hot gas bypass valve 84 can connect the compressor suction line and the compressor discharge line. The hot gas bypass valve 84 is preferably used as a recirculation line for compressor 12 to recirculate refrigerant gas from the discharge of compressor 12, via refrigerant condenser 16, to the suction of compressor 12, via the evaporator 18. The hot gas bypass valve 84 can be adjusted to any position between a substantially open position, wherein refrigerant flow is essentially unimpeded, and a substantially closed position, wherein refrigerant flow is restricted. The hot gas bypass valve 84 can be opened and closed in either a continuous manner or in a stepped or incremental manner. The opening of the hot gas bypass valve 84 can increase the amount of refrigerant gas supplied to the compressor suction to prevent surge conditions from occurring in compressor 12.

With regard to the steam turbine system, the high pressure steam source 301 and the low pressure steam source 302 provide steam to the steam turbine 14. The steam from the high pressure steam source 301 and the low pressure steam source 302 preferably enters a corresponding moisture separator (not shown) for each steam source. In the moisture separator, moisture-laden steam from the steam source enters and is deflected in a centrifugally downward motion. The entrained moisture in the steam is separated out by a reduction in the velocity of the steam flow. Separated moisture then falls through a moisture outlet and dry saturated steam flows upward and exits through a steam outlet where it flows toward a corresponding inlet steam supply valve.

The controller 90 automatically positions the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 and the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 to control the amount of steam that flows toward a governor 48 during the operation of the steam turbine 14. The governor 48 is located in the steam supply line to regulate steam flow and is preferably located adjacent a steam inlet of steam turbine 14. The governor or governor valve 48 can be opened or closed in a continuous manner or in a stepped or incremental manner. Steam turbine 14 includes a steam inlet to receive the steam from the high pressure steam source 301 and/or the low pressure steam source 302. The steam from the high pressure steam source 301 and/or the low pressure steam source 302 flows through the steam inlet and turns a rotatable turbine portion of the steam turbine 14 to extract the energy therefrom to turn a coupler 66 that interconnects the shafts (not shown) of the steam turbine 14 and compressor 12. After rotating the turbine portion of the steam turbine 14, the steam then exits the steam turbine 14 through a steam exhaust.

In a preferred embodiment, the coupler 66 provides for a direct rotational connection between the steam turbine 14 and the compressor 12. In alternate embodiments, the coupler 66 can include one or more gearing arrangements (or other similar arrangements) to increase or decrease the relative rotational speeds between the steam turbine 14 and the compressor 12. In addition, one or both of the steam turbine 14 and compressor 12 can also include an internal gearing arrangement connected to the coupler 66 to adjust the relative rotational speeds of the steam turbine 14 or compressor 12.

In addition, a turbine steam ring drain solenoid valve 63 is provided to automatically remove any condensate from the steam turbine 14 during the slow roll warm up of the steam turbine 14. A gland seal steam supply solenoid valve 67 is provided to automatically admit steam to the gland seal supply pressure regulating valve during a slow roll. A steam condenser vacuum pump 65 evacuates the steam condenser and turbine exhaust to a desired vacuum that is required for the steam turbine 14 to produce the power required by the compressor 12.

The exhausted steam from the steam turbine 14 flows to the steam condenser 20. Within the steam condenser 20, the steam/condensate flow from the steam turbine 14 enters into a heat exchange relationship with cooling water flowing through the steam condenser 20 to cool the steam. Steam condenser 20 includes a hotwell 44 connected to a condensate recirculation system 46. Condensate recirculation system 46 includes a condensate outlet in the hotwell 44 that can provide or transfer condensate from the hotwell 44 to a condensate pump 62. From the condensate pump 62, the condensate is selectively provided to a condensate recirculation inlet of the steam condenser 20 and/or to a condensate return inlet of the high pressure steam source 301 and/or the low pressure steam source 302. In this manner, the condensate recirculation system 46 can maintain a preselected flow of condensate through the steam condenser 20 and return condensate to the high pressure steam source 301 and/or the low pressure steam source 302 for further generation of steam.

As discussed above, cooling water from a cooling tower or other source, is preferably routed to the refrigerant condenser 16 by a cooling water supply line 70. The cooling water is circulated in the refrigerant condenser 16 to absorb heat from the refrigerant gas. The cooling water then exits the refrigerant condenser 16 and is routed or provided to the steam condenser 20. The cooling water is circulated in the steam condenser 20 to further absorb heat from the steam exhausted from the steam turbine 14. The cooling water flowing from the steam condenser 20 is directed to the cooling tower by a cooling water return line 76 to reduce the temperature of the cooling water, which then may be returned to the refrigerant condenser 16 to repeat the cycle.

Typically, the steam condenser 20 operates at a greater temperature than the refrigerant condenser 16. By routing the cooling water through the refrigerant condenser 16 and then the steam condenser 20, in a series or serial arrangement, the low temperature cooling water can absorb heat within the refrigerant condenser 16 then be transferred to the steam condenser 20 to absorb additional heat. In a preferred embodiment, this ability to use the cooling water to cool both the refrigerant condenser 16 and the steam condenser 20 can be accomplished by selecting the appropriate refrigerant condenser 16 and steam condenser 20. The refrigerant condenser 16 is selected such that the outlet cooling water temperature from the refrigerant condenser 16 is lower than the maximum acceptable inlet cooling water temperature for the steam condenser 20. This series or serial flowpath for condenser (refrigerant and steam) cooling water within the chiller system 10 can reduce the need for multiple supplies of cooling water, and can reduce the total amount of cooling water required for the chiller system. However, it is to be understood that the steam condenser 20 and the refrigerant condenser 16 can have separate cooling water systems and connections to the cooling tower.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the control panel 90 includes analog to digital (A/D) and digital to analog (D/A) converters, a microprocessor 96, a non-volatile memory or other memory device 92, and an interface board 98 to communicate with various sensors and control devices of chiller system 10. In addition, the control panel 90 can be connected to or incorporate a user interface 94 that permits an operator to interact with the control panel 90. The operator can select and enter commands for the control panel 90 through the user interface 94. In addition, the user interface 94 can display messages and information from the control panel 90 regarding the operational status of the chiller system 10 for the operator. The user interface 94 can be located locally to the control panel 90, such as being mounted on the chiller system 10 or the control panel 90, or alternatively, the user interface 94 can be located remotely from the control panel 90, such as being located in a separate control room apart from the chiller system 10.

Microprocessor 96 executes or uses a single or central control algorithm or control system to control the chiller system 10 including the compressor 12, the steam turbine 14, the steam condenser 20 and the other components of the chiller system 10. In one embodiment, the control system can be a computer program or software having a series of instructions executable by the microprocessor 96. In another embodiment, the control system may be implemented and executed using digital and/or analog hardware by those skilled in the art. In still another embodiment, the control panel 90 may incorporate multiple controllers, each performing a discrete function, with a central controller that determines the outputs of control panel 90. If hardware is used to execute the control algorithm, the corresponding configuration of the control panel 90 can be changed to incorporate the necessary components and to remove any components that may no longer be required.

The control panel 90 of the chiller system 10 can receive many different sensor inputs from the components of the chiller system 10. Some examples of sensor inputs to the control panel 90 are provided below, but it is to be understood that the control panel 90 can receive any desired or suitable sensor input from a component of the chiller system 10. Some inputs to the control panel 90 relating to the compressor 12 can be from a compressor discharge temperature sensor, a compressor oil temperature sensor, a compressor oil supply pressure sensor and a pre-rotation vane position sensor. Some inputs to the control panel 90 relating to the steam turbine 14 can be from a turbine shaft end bearing temperature sensor, a turbine governor end bearing temperature sensor, a turbine inlet steam temperature sensor, a turbine inlet steam pressure sensor, a turbine first stage steam pressure sensor, a turbine exhaust pressure sensor, a turbine speed sensor, and a turbine trip valve status sensor.

Some inputs to the control panel 90 relating to the steam condenser 20 can be from a hotwell condensate level sensor, a hotwell high level status sensor, and a hotwell low level status sensor. Some inputs to the control panel 90 relating to the refrigerant condenser 16 can be from an entering refrigerant condenser water temperature sensor, a leaving condenser water temperature sensor, a refrigerant liquid temperature sensor, a refrigerant condenser pressure sensor, a subcooler refrigerant liquid level sensor, and a refrigerant condenser water flow sensor. Some inputs to the control panel 90 relating to the evaporator 18 can be from a leaving chilled liquid temperature sensor, a return chilled liquid temperature sensor, an evaporator refrigerant vapor pressure sensor, a refrigerant liquid temperature sensor, and a chilled water flow sensor. In addition, other inputs to the controller 90 include a HVAC&R demand input from a thermostat or other similar temperature control system.

Furthermore, the control panel 90 of the chiller system 10 can provide or generate many different control signals for the components of the chiller system 10. Some examples of control signals from the control panel 90 are provided below, but it is to be understood that the control panel 90 can provide any desired or suitable control signal for a component of the chiller system 10. Some control signals from the control panel 90 can include a turbine shutdown control signal, a compressor oil heater control signal, a variable speed oil pump control signal, a turbine governor valve control signal, a hotwell level control signal, a hot gas bypass valve control signal, a subcooler refrigerant liquid level control signal, a pre-rotation vane position control signal, and steam inlet valve control signals. In addition, the control panel 90 can send a turbine shutdown signal when either the technician has input a shutdown command into the user interface 94, or when a deviation is detected from a preselected parameter recorded in the memory device 92.

The central control algorithm executed by the microprocessor 96 on the control panel 90 preferably includes a startup control program or algorithm to control the startup of the steam turbine 14 and compressor 12. The startup control program and the integration of controls in the control panel 90 provides for additional protections for individual components in the event of an off-design operating condition in the steam turbine 14 or the chiller system 10. The startup control program provides automatic shutdown logic and protective functions to protect the chiller system 10 during operation. These protective functions include a pre-lubrication for the compressor 12 and steam turbine 14 to ensure that adequate lubrication is provided prior to rotating the compressor 12 and steam turbine 14. These protective systems also include a time sharing for redundant equipment such as hotwell pumps and vacuum pumps, wherein equipment are selectively operated in an alternate fashion to provide greater long term reliability.

In addition, the central control algorithm can maintain selected parameters of the chiller system 10 within preselected ranges. These parameters include turbine speed, chilled liquid outlet temperature, turbine power output, and anti-surge limits for minimum compressor speed and compressor pre-rotation vane position. The central control program employs continuous feedback from sensors monitoring various operational parameters described herein to continuously monitor and change the speed of turbine 14 and compressor 12 in response to changes in system cooling loads.

The central control algorithm also includes other algorithms and/or software that provide the control panel 90 with a monitoring function of various operational parameters for the chiller system 10 during both startup and routine operation of the chiller system 10. Undesirable operational parameters, such as low turbine speed, low turbine oil pressure, or low compressor oil pressure, can be programmed into the control panel 90 with a logic function to shutdown the chiller system 10 in the event that undesired, or beyond system design, parameters are detected. Additionally, the central control algorithm has preselected limits for many of the operational parameters of the chiller system 10 and can prevent a technician from manually operating the chiller system 10 outside of these limits.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the central control algorithm incorporates a governor control system either as a separate program or as a subprogram of the central control algorithm. The governor control system is used to control the positions of the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68, the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 and the governor valve 48 during the start-up, slow roll and shut down of the compressor 14. The governor control system can generate the appropriate control signals for the valves in response to system parameters.

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of an automatic start-up process for the control program of the present invention. The start-up process brings the chiller system 10 out of a shutdown state and starts the turbine 14 slow rolling or idling. The start-up process begins at step 502 with the execution of an initiation sequence for the chiller system 10. In step 502, the initiation sequence can include, among other steps, the resetting of the controller logic to clear any safeties that may have been set in the controller logic and the checking of all systems in the chiller system 10 to ensure readiness for operation. In step 504, the operator is able to select whether the start-up process is to be completed with low pressure steam or with high pressure steam. In a preferred embodiment, if a selection of either low pressure steam or high pressure steam is not made within a predetermined steam selection time period, e.g., about 1 minute, the start-up process uses low pressure steam.

Condenser water flow to the chiller system 10 (particularly the steam condenser 20) is started in step 506. The condenser water flow is preferably set to a predetermined start-up condenser water flow rate, e.g., about 3000 gpm (gallons per minute). Once the condenser water flow reaches a predetermined minimum start-up condenser water flow rate, e.g., about 2000 gpm, for a predetermined minimum start-up condenser water flow time period, e.g., about 30 seconds, the oil pumps for the chiller system 10 are started and pre-lube and slow roll warm-up sequences are initiated in step 508. In addition, in step 508, the steam condenser hotwell pump and vacuum pump can be started after a predetermined pre-lube time period, e.g., about 30 seconds.

In step 510, the governor valve 48 is opened by setting a turbine speed setpoint to a predetermined slow roll speed, e.g., about 500 rpm (revolutions per minute) at a predetermined slow roll ramp rate, e.g., about 50 rpm/sec. Once the governor valve 48 has reached a predetermined slow roll governor valve position, e.g., about 5% open, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is opened and the turbine 14 can begin to slow roll in step 512. In step 514, the speed of the turbine 14 is checked to see if it is greater than a predetermined minimum slow roll speed, e.g., about 200 rpm. If the turbine speed is not greater than the predetermined minimum slow roll speed in step 514, then the governor valve 48 and the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 are continued to be opened. However, if the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined minimum slow roll speed in step 514, then the turbine 14 is considered to be “slow rolling” and the compressor oil cooling system is started in step 516.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the compressor oil cooling system is controlled based on the temperature of the thrust bearing oil in order to prevent over cooling of the compressor oil during the extended slow roll and idling periods. The compressor oil cooling system controls the activation and deactivation of both an oil heater and a cooling water supply that supplies cooling water to the compressor oil cooler. The cooling liquid supply is started when the thrust bearing oil temperature is greater than a predetermined maximum cooling supply temperature, e.g., about 155° F., and stopped when the thrust bearing oil temperature decreases below a predetermined minimum cooling supply temperature, e.g., about 140° F. The oil heater is started if the oil temperature is less than a predetermined minimum oil heater temperature, e.g., about 130° F., and stopped if the thrust bearing oil temperature increases above a predetermined maximum oil heater temperature, e.g., about 150° F.

Finally, in step 518, the turbine 14 is ramped up to the predetermined slow roll speed. If the low pressure steam option was selected in step 504, then the turbine 14 is to be slow rolled with low pressure steam. In this case, the slow roll of the turbine 14 is transitioned to low pressure steam after the turbine 14 has been slow rolling for a predetermined minimum slow roll speed time period, e.g., about 4 minutes. To make the transition, the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 is opened to a predetermined slow roll LP inlet steam supply valve position, e.g., about 10% open. When the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 starts to open, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is closed. The governor control system then controls the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 to maintain the speed at the predetermined slow roll speed. If the high pressure steam option was selected in step 504, then the turbine 14 is to be slow rolled with high pressure steam. The high pressure steam option is preferably selected when the operator requires the turbine 14 to ramp the chiller up to rated speed as soon as available.

Once the turbine 14 has reached the predetermined slow roll speed in step 518, the turbine 14 begins a predetermined slow roll warm up time period, e.g., about 26 minutes, to ensure all condensate is blown out of the inlet piping, the casing is uniformly heated, and the turbine shaft is not bowed due to sitting idle. After the predetermined slow roll warm up time period, if the turbine exhaust pressure is at or below a predetermined slow roll vacuum, e.g., about 24 in. Hg vac., the user interface 94 displays “TURBINE IDLING”. Otherwise, if the turbine exhaust pressure is not below the predetermined slow roll vacuum, the user interface 94 displays “TURBINE IDLING—INSUFF VACUUM”. This warning could indicate a problem with the steam ejectors or an excessive leak requiring investigation by the operator.

Once the turbine is idling properly after the predetermined warm up time period, if the operator has selected low pressure steam and an idling mode of operation for the turbine 14, the turbine 14 continues to slow roll with low pressure steam. The governor control system continues to control the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 to maintain the turbine speed at the predetermined slow roll speed. The turbine 14 is then ready to ramp up to rated speed as described in FIGS. 6 and 7 in response to the operator's command. However, if the operator has selected high pressure steam and a rated speed mode of operation for the turbine 14, the turbine 14 can proceed directly to ramping up to rated speed as described in FIGS. 6 and 7. In one embodiment of the present invention, the governor control system can use a new set of tuning parameters when the vacuum level is below a preselected level, which depends on the steam supply pressure, to prevent instability.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate an embodiment of the ramp-up to rated speed process for the control program of the present invention. The ramp-up to rated speed process transitions the turbine 14 from a slow rolling or idling speed to an operational speed sufficient to drive the compressor 12 of the chiller system 10. The process begins at step 602 to determine if the turbine 14 is slow rolling using low pressure steam. If the turbine 14 is slow rolling using low pressure steam, the control proceeds to step 604. Otherwise, the turbine is slow rolling with high pressure steam and the control proceeds to step 608. In step 604, the turbine 14 is transitioned from low pressure steam to high pressure steam. To make the transition, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is opened to a predetermined slow roll HP inlet steam supply valve position, e.g., about 6% open. When the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 starts to open, the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 is closed. The governor control system then controls the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 to maintain the turbine speed at the predetermined slow roll speed.

In step 606, the turbine 14 is slow rolled or idled using high pressure steam for a predetermined HP warm up time period, e.g., about 15 minutes. The high pressure steam slow roll is required to ensure that all turbine components are uniformly heated to the higher temperature before ramping to rated speed. Once the predetermined HP warm up time period expires, the turbine 14 is ready to begin the process of ramping up to rated speed and the control proceed to step 608. At step 608, the condenser water flow is then increased to a predetermined ramp-up condenser water flow rate, e.g., about 9400 gpm (gallons per minute). Once the condenser water flow reaches the predetermined ramp-up condenser water flow rate, the evaporator water flow is then set to a predetermined ramp-up evaporator water flow rate, e.g., about 3750 gpm (gallons per minute). Once the condenser and evaporator water flow rates are stable, the control proceeds to step 610.

In step 610, the turbine speed setpoint is set to a predetermined minimum turbine speed, e.g., about 2000 rpm, at a predetermined minimum turbine speed ramp rate, e.g., about 50 rpm/sec. As a result of adjusting the turbine speed setpoint, the governor valve 48 and the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 are both further opened by the governor control system. In step 612, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is greater than a predetermined ramp up turbine speed, e.g., about 1000 rpm. If the turbine speed is less than the predetermined ramp up turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be accelerated in accordance with step 610. However, if the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined ramp up turbine speed, then the pre-rotation vanes 80 are opened to a predetermined PRV ramp up position, e.g., about 18% open, in step 614.

In step 616, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is greater than the predetermined minimum turbine speed. If the turbine speed is less than the predetermined minimum turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be accelerated in accordance with step 610. However, if the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined minimum turbine speed, then the turbine speed setpoint is set to a predetermined critical speed range turbine speed, e.g., about 2500 rpm, at a predetermined critical speed range turbine speed ramp rate, e.g., about 100 rpm/sec, in step 618. In step 620, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is greater than the predetermined critical speed range turbine speed. If the turbine speed is less than the predetermined critical speed range turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be accelerated in accordance with step 618. However, if the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined critical speed range turbine speed, then the turbine speed setpoint is set to a predetermined rated turbine speed, e.g., about 3000 rpm, at a predetermined rated turbine speed ramp rate, e.g., about 50 rpm/sec, and the turbine steam ring drain valve 63 is closed in step 622.

In step 624, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is greater than a predetermined operational turbine speed, e.g., about 2700 rpm. If the turbine speed is less than the predetermined operational turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be accelerated in accordance with step 622. However, if the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined operational turbine speed, then the elapsed time the turbine has been operating a speed greater than the predetermined operational turbine speed is compared to a predetermined operational turbine speed first time period, e.g., 15 seconds, in step 626. If the elapsed time is less than the predetermined operational turbine speed first time period, the turbine 14 is continued to be accelerated in accordance with step 622. However, if the elapsed time is greater than the predetermined operational turbine speed first time period, then the turbine 14 is considered to have reached its minimum rated speed and the user interface 94 displays “System Running” in step 628.

In step 630, the elapsed time the turbine has been operating at a speed greater than the predetermined operational turbine speed is compared to a predetermined operational turbine speed second time period, e.g., 25 seconds. If the elapsed time is less than the predetermined operational turbine speed second time period, the turbine 14 is continued to be operated in accordance with step 622. However, if the elapsed time is greater than the predetermined operational turbine speed second time period, then the capacity control logic is started in step 632. When the capacity control logic is started in step 632, the hot gas bypass valve 84 begins to close and the compressor pre-rotation vanes 80 begin to open. The high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is ramped slowly to a fully open position, i.e., 100%, at a predetermined HP inlet steam supply valve opening rate, e.g., 1%/second. If the turbine 14 attempts to speed up with the increased steam flow, the capacity control system closes the governor valve 48 and maintains the turbine speed at the set point dictated by the capacity/anti-surge controls.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate an embodiment of the return to idling speed process for the control program of the present invention. The return to idling speed process transitions the turbine 14 from an operational or rated speed sufficient to drive the compressor 12 of the chiller system 10 to a slow rolling or idling speed. The process begins at step 802 with the initiation of a predetermined controlled stop time period, e.g., 30 minutes. Next, during the predetermined controlled stop time period, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is closed at a predetermined HP inlet steam supply valve closing rate, e.g., −2%/second, at step 804. The high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is continued to be closed during the predetermined controlled stop time period until the position of the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 permits it to be controlled by the governor control system, i.e., the position of the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is more closed than or at the same position as the determined position by the governor control system for the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68. Once the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is under the control of the governor control system, a normal unloading cycle is initiated at step 808. In the normal unloading cycle, the leaving chilled water temperature setpoint is slowly increased at a preselected rate, e.g., 0.1° F./5 seconds. The turbine speed decreases to a calculated minimum anti-surge RPM, then the compressor pre-rotation vanes 80 are closed to the calculated minimum anti-surge % opening, and finally the hot gas bypass valve 84 is opened.

The chiller system 10 continues to slowly unload until the hot gas bypass valve 84 is more than a predetermined controlled stop hot gas valve position, e.g., 20% open, or the predetermined controlled stop time period has expired. Once the hot gas bypass valve 84 is more open than the predetermined controlled stop hot gas valve position or the predetermined controlled stop time period has expired, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is closed in step 812. In addition, the exhaust of the turbine 14 is opened to atmospheric pressure to slow the turbine 14 down through the critical speed range as rapidly as possible. In step 814, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is less than a predetermined controlled stop first turbine speed, e.g., about 2400 rpm. If the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined controlled stop first turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be decelerated in accordance with step 808. However, if the turbine speed is less than the predetermined controlled stop first turbine speed, then the leaving chilled water temperature setpoint is set to track the leaving chilled water temperature and the compressor pre-rotation vanes 80 are set to a predetermined PRV controlled stop position, e.g., about 18% open, in step 816.

Next, in step 818, the high pressure inlet steam supply valve 68 is checked to see if it is fully closed and the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is less than a predetermined controlled stop second turbine speed, e.g., about 1800 rpm. If both conditions are satisfied in step 818, the control proceeds to step 820. Otherwise, the turbine speed is decelerated in accordance with step 816. In step 820, the governor control system begins to control the speed of the turbine 14 with the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69. In addition, the turbine speed setpoint is set to the predetermined slow roll speed, e.g., about 500 rpm, at a predetermined controlled stop ramp rate, e.g., about −50 rpm/sec.

Once the turbine speed is less than the predetermined controlled stop second turbine speed, the hot gas bypass valve 84 is fully opened in step 824. In addition, the vacuum pump of the turbine 14 is started to re-establish a vacuum in the turbine 14. In step 826, the turbine speed is checked to determine if it is less than a predetermined ramp down turbine speed, e.g., about 1000 rpm. If the turbine speed is greater than the predetermined ramp down turbine speed, the turbine 14 is continued to be decelerated in accordance with step 820. However, if the turbine speed is less than the predetermined ramp down turbine speed, then slow roll or idling mode operation is initiated in step 828. The initiation of the slow roll mode of operation includes the shut down of the evaporator water flow and the setting of the condenser water flow to the predetermined start-up condenser water flow rate. Furthermore, the pre-rotation vanes 84 are fully closed and the user interface displays the message “Turbine Idling”. The turbine 14 is then idled at the predetermined slow roll speed by controlling the low pressure inlet steam supply valve 69 until the operator decides to either shut down the chiller system 10 or ramp up the turbine speed to an operational speed as described above with respect to FIGS. 6 and 7.

In one embodiment of the present invention, if a complete shutdown of the chiller system is required, e.g., in an emergency situation, the above process for returning to idling speed is followed except that the turbine speed is not maintained at the predetermined slow roll speed, but is permitted to coast down to zero. Once the turbine speed reaches a predetermined shut down turbine speed, e.g., 200 rpm, the turbine steam ring drain valve 63 is opened, the condenser water flow is stopped and the hotwell pump(s) are stopped. Finally, the compressor and turbine auxiliary oil pumps are operated for predetermined time periods after the stop of the turbine 14 to prevent damage to the turbine 14 and compressor 12.

While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.