Abstract

Compression equipment used for industrial applications are typically comprised of multi-stage intercooled compressor stages. The presence of large volume intercoolers between individual stages adds a layer of complexity currently not present in publicly available surge models both in terms of system behavior and recovery analysis. In this work a compressible, temporal, and spatial model is developed in which the conservation equations are solved numerically for each of the system components, i.e. pipes, plenums and heat exchangers, valves, and individual compressor stages. The model can identify the onset of instability on an individual stage basis as well as the switching that can occur between the controlling stages of the instability onset when the operating conditions change, e.g. changes in inlet conditions, intercooler fouling or cooling tower performance reduction, and speed or guide vane changes. The model is therefore used both as a stage stacking model during the compressor stable operation as well as a model of the transient behavior of the system past the stable operation. An inertial model of the compressor drive train is also incorporated to analyze the effects of power transients, e.g. emergency shut down (ESD), on the system behavior. In this article details of the developed model are provided. Several test cases are presented. The model is then used to demonstrate the proper sizing of a vent valve of a base load compressor to meet the required system response specification in a surge event. The developed model represents an improvement over available transient system models in terms of predicting the post stable behavior of multi-stage intercooled compressors.

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