Since the mid-1990’s, Thermoflow has described this family of products as “Application Specific”. We now call them “Dedicated Expert Systems”: “Dedicated” because each program is uniquely focused on a specific plant category. “Expert Systems” aptly describes the enormous knowledge base that has been built into each program since the mid-1990’s, and the incorporation of many procedures and applications to facilitate design, optimization, and simulation of specialized plant features, such as desalination, gasification, and carbon capture; as well as complex operational aspects, such as daily chilled water storage cycles, and annual operating cycles.
This family includes seven specialized programs:
GT PRO®, GT MASTER®, and PDETM are dedicated to gas turbine-based power and cogeneration plants. GT PRO is a design creation program, which generates cycle heat balance as well as physical design of major equipment and BOP. GT MASTER is a simulation program, which predicts plant performance as a function of its physical equipment, control set-points, loads, and ambient conditions. PDE is a compact expert program, with a simplified interface, and built-in logic to select and create the overall scheme for gas turbine power and cogeneration plants based on the user’s electricity and heat demands, site parameters, and constraints.
STEAM PRO® & STEAM MASTER® are dedicated to conventional steam power and cogeneration plants. STEAM PRO is a design creation program, which generates cycle heat balance as well as physical design of major equipment and BOP. STEAM MASTER is a simulation program, which predicts plant performance as a function of its physical equipment, control set-points, loads, and ambient conditions.
RE-MASTERTM is dedicated to repowering existing conventional steam plants by incorporating gas turbines. It creates the design for new equipment needed to convert an existing conventional steam power plant to combined cycle, then proceeds to simulate performance of the repowered plant at off-design.
NOVO PROTM is dedicated to modeling and optimizing renewable energy systems. It allows the user to define various combinations of renewable energy sources, storage systems, and backup thermal power; then estimates their capital cost, simulates their annual operating cycle, and overall economics.
Thermoflow’s four major expert programs, GT PRO, GT MASTER, STEAM PRO, and STEAM MASTER provide an astonishing wealth of detail, yet are deceptively simple to use. All inputs have reasonable defaults or can be automatically generated by the powerful built-in logic to suit the user’s application and main selections. Non-critical inputs are tucked away into secondary tabs, readily accessible to those who want them, but unneeded and unnoticed by the casual user. Experienced engineers who choose to delve into details never cease to be amazed by their depth. Many new users, without training or even reading instructions manuals, can produce professional plant designs within a few hours of first 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 the vast built-in knowledge base — the fruit of 200,000 hours of advanced talent, invested over thirty years of diligent development.
Users of Thermoflow's four major expert programs (GT PRO, GT MASTER, STEAM PRO, and STEAM MASTER) who have licensed the PEACE (Plant Engineering And Construction Estimator) module get instant equipment, BOP, and overall plant preliminary designs, as well as comprehensive cost and labor estimates for each plant they create. The detailed cost estimate break-down created by PEACE may be exported to Excel to serve as a starting point for a final estimate. The PEACE module creates and formats the receiving Excel workbook, placing each cost category on its own worksheet, and breaks down many estimated costs into a quantity and a cost per unit of this quantity. The formulas tallying up the hundreds of cost items are also installed automatically into the Excel workbook. This facilitates editing costs or quantities and building up a final cost estimate as the user receives final quotes from vendors and design details from engineers.
The PEACE module is also used automatically, without an additional license requirement, within both PDE and NOVO PRO; providing preliminary cost estimates and economic evaluation for users of these programs.
The cost estimates generated by PEACE are “bottom-up”, adding the costs of hundreds 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; all of which can be automatically created by the expert software. These models have been extensively calibrated by actual equipment data. This cost estimation 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 standard 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, and therefore its impact on economic parameters like ROI or NPV, the user may quickly optimize major equipment and BOP components.