The aim of this book is to examine the control and instrumentation systems of the drum-type boilers and heat-recovery steam generators (HRSGs) that are used for the production of steam for turbines and industrial processes. My intention is to provide information to assist the designers, users and maintenance staff of such plants in understanding how these systems function.
The end product of the steam plant may be electricity that is exported to the grid, or it may be steam or hot water that is sent to a nearby process plant, factory or housing complex, but in each case the general principles of the control systems will be very similar. Nevertheless, the design of these systems is a specialised task, an art as much as a science, and in this introduction I aim to draw attention to the width and depth of knowledge that it demands.
The knowledge base one needs to design a control system for a boiler or HRSG is unusually wide. A power station is a complex entity, embracing a wide range of what I refer to as primary disciplines-physics, chemical engineering, thermodynamics, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. It also involves control technology and computing--the secondary disciplines that combine two or more of the primary subjects.
The many machines in a power station operate together as an integrated, highly interdependent system. In practice, engineers involved in any area of power-station design, operation or maintenance must necessarily have their skills focused on just one of the primary disciplines, necessitating a high degree of training and experience in the relevant field: but to work effectively they will also need at least a basic understanding of all the others.
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