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Application-Specific Heat Balance Engineering Software

This line includes Thermoflow’s most popular programs, GT PRO & GT MASTER for gas turbine-based cycles, STEAM PRO & STEAM MASTER for pure steam power plants, and RE-MASTER for repowering existing steam plants by adding gas turbines.  It also includes the Plant Design Expert (PDE) program for executive-level use of GT PRO.

GT PRO and STEAM PRO are design programs, which create cycle heat balance as well as the physical design of equipment needed to implement it.  GT MASTER and STEAM MASTER are simulation programs that predict performance of the plant as a function of its fixed equipment, control set-points, loads, and ambient conditions.  RE-MASTER designs the new equipment needed to convert a given pure steam power plant to combined cycle, then proceeds to simulate performance of the repowered plant at off-design.

Thermoflow’s application-specific programs provide an astonishing wealth of modeling detail, yet are deceptively simple to use.  Many new users, without training or time spent reading instructions manuals, can produce professional plant designs within a few hours of installing a program.  Experienced users normally design a new plant in a matter of minutes.

This seemingly contradictory combination of incredible power and detail with fast, friendly ease of use is the result of thoughtful software design and tireless improvements — the fruit of over 230,000 man-hours of talent.  All input variables have reasonable defaults, or may be generated by automatic procedures within the program to suit the user’s application.  Non-critical inputs are tucked away into secondary tabs, readily accessible to those who want them, but virtually unnoticed by the casual user.  Experienced users who choose to delve into details never cease to be amazed by their depth.

Highly flexible tools, dedicated to each application

Thermoflow's application-specific programs are not "of fixed configuration", a misleading label promulgated by competitors.  GT PRO & GT MASTER are highly flexible and can produce endless permutations and combinations of arrangements, that cover virtually any practical combined cycle configuration.  Likewise, STEAM PRO and STEAM MASTER cover most practical conventional steam plant designs, and RE-MASTER covers any viable repowering arrangement.  However, by their design, GT PRO and GT MASTER cannot model a conventional steam power plant, and STEAM PRO & STEAM MASTER cannot model a combined cycle.

Each of Thermoflow's four main Application-Specific programs has several thousand inputs, providing extensive flexibility and covering myriad details.  This does not make them hard to use, since the structure and automated logic guides the user through the process in an orderly and organized fashion.  A typical GT PRO run may involve changing only 30 of the inputs from their defaults or their automatically-generated values.  Thus the flexibility and detail are there when needed, but do not intrude upon the user who just wants a quick heat balance design.  A typical plant design can thus be created in under half an hour, but may take days with some fully flexible programs.

Engineering details, automatically and conveniently generated for each heat balance design

Users of Thermoflow's application-specific programs who have licensed the PEACE (Plant Engineering And Construction Estimator) module get instant equipment designs and cost and labor estimates along with each heat balance they produce.  The assumptions used to create the physical design and dimensions of components, such as boilers and condensers, may be defined by the user, or left to the program’s own automated logic.  This provides the flexibility for knowledgeable users to mimic actual designs created by specific vendors, while providing the convenience of automated equipment design logic for the casual user.  PEACE also includes detailed pipe sizing procedures for all main steam and water pipes, as well as convenient pump sizing and specification routines.

The cost estimates generated by PEACE are “bottom-up”, adding the costs of hundreds, or even thousands, of components.  The cost and field-labor hours of each component are derived from rational models that take into account the component’s features, materials, rating, size and weight.  These models have been extensively calibrated by actual equipment data.  This approach is in contrast to “top-down” cost estimating procedures, which start with the cost of the system and break-it down according to rules of thumb.  Whereas both methods may yield the same final result for “typical” plants, the “top-down” method, by its nature, cannot be sensitive to detail design changes, so cannot be used for optimizing the tradeoffs between cost and performance.  The “bottom-up” method used in PEACE can account for changes in design details, even of the secondary components, such as pipes.  By finding both the cost and performance impact of each design change, the user may quickly optimize design details, such as pipe sizes, pump selections or HRSG specifications.

Why separate programs for combined cycles and conventional steam plants?

We are sometimes asked why we have separate programs for combined cycles and for conventional steam plants.  After all, both types of plant can be modeled by a single fully-flexible program, such as THERMOFLEX.

The answer is that application-specific programs provide both plant models as well as component models; whereas a fully-flexible program provides component models only, leaving the plant model to be defined by the user.  GT PRO and STEAM PRO incorporate a logical design philosophy, respectively, for combined cycles, and for conventional steam cycle plants.  GT MASTER and STEAM MASTER incorporate detailed equipment modeling calculations and control logic for each of these plant types.

When you are designing a plant (the design phase in our "PRO" programs) there are certain inputs that a reasonable person can assume, which differ between a combined cycle and a conventional steam plant.  By knowing what type of plant you are designing, we can help you to create an efficient plant design, by applying well proven logic to automatically derive secondary inputs to suit your primary inputs and selections.  We can help you by cross-checking and validating your inputs.  Thus GT PRO and STEAM PRO are designed to supply a logical framework that guides the user, in an organized way, through the plant design process.  An equivalent methodology is very difficult to provide in a fully-flexible program, which can be used to design both combined cycles and conventional steam plants.  The fully-flexible programs, by their nature, end up leaving the user to his or her own devices.

Why different programs for design and for off-design?

When simulating a fixed plant, the types of inputs to describe its operation are its physical hardware and its control actions triggered by various parameters reaching their set-points.  Those types of inputs and the philosophy of organizing and checking them are very different from the inputs used for creating a design.  This is why our GT MASTER and STEAM MASTER simulation programs are separate from our GT PRO and STEAM PRO design programs.  A fully-flexible program that handles both design and off-design has a more complex structure and a larger set of inputs.

To appreciate the need to differentiate between design and off-design and between a combined cycle and a steam plant, it may be useful to note that each of GT PRO, GT MASTER, STEAM PRO and STEAM MASTER have between several thousand user-adjustable inputs.  Had one Application-Specific program covered both plant types and both design and off-design, at an equal level of detail and flexibility, it would have had more than 10,000 inputs, posing numerous challenges, both for its developer and for its users!