Fossil Energy pp 527-595 | Cite as

Natural Gas Power



Natural gas is an important fossil fuel that has played an increasingly significant role in worldwide electric power generation since the 1980s. The key driver underlying the importance of natural gas as a vital enabler of modern living has been its relative advantage vis-à-vis other fossil fuels in terms of emissions and pollutants.


Steam Turbine Internal Combustion Engine Combine Cycle Heat Rejection Turbine Inlet Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Brayton cycle

The thermodynamic cycle describing the operation of a gas turbine. In a combined cycle, it is the topping cycle due to its relative position vis-à-vis Rankine cycle on a temperature–entropy surface.

Carnot cycle

Also known as the Carnot engine, it is the embodiment of the second law of thermodynamics in the form of a theoretical cycle comprising two isentropic and two isothermal processes. No heat engine operating in a thermodynamic cycle can be more efficient than the corresponding Carnot engine defined by the constant mean-effective heat addition and heat rejection temperatures.


See combined heat and power (CHP).

Combined cycle power plant

A fossil-fired power plant that combines two types of prime movers, usually one or more gas turbines and one or more steam turbines (STs), whose operation are governed by their respective thermodynamic cycles, i.e., Brayton and Rankine.

Combined heat and power (CHP)

The term used for fossil-fired power plants, which, in addition to their primary product, electric power delivered to the grid, also supply a secondary product in terms of useful thermal energy.


A mechanical device to facilitate controlled mixing and reaction of an oxidizer (in almost all cases air) and a fuel (in almost all cases a pure hydrocarbon or a mixture thereof in gaseous or liquid phase) to generate high-temperature gaseous product for expansion in a turbine and useful shaft work generation.


A mechanical device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its volume. There are different types of compressors, e.g., axial, radial, and reciprocating, which are suitable to different types of operating regimes.


Unless specified otherwise, the thermal efficiency of a power-generating system, which is the dimensionless ratio of generated kWh of electricity to the amount of energy required to generate it. It is the inverse of the heat rate with a suitable conversion factor.


Gases and solid particles (usually undesirable) released into the air as by-products of a combustion process (e.g., in the boiler of a fossil-fired power plant, gas turbine combustor, or other internal combustion engine) to create electric power or propel a vehicle.

Firing temperature

The temperature of the gas turbine combustor exhaust gas at the inlet to the first stage rotor, which is the starting point of useful shaft work generation.

Gas turbine

A prime mover or internal combustion engine comprising a compressor, combustor, and an expander connected via a common shaft, through which air is compressed, burned, and expanded to generate useful shaft work for electric power generation (or thrust in an aircraft jet engine).


A device that converts the mechanical shaft power generated by a prime mover into electrical power.

Global warming

The apparent increase in the average temperature of the earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-twentieth century and its projected continuation (per Wikipedia).

Greenhouse effect

The containment of heat from solar radiation striking the earth’s surface due to the earth’s atmospheric “greenhouse” gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range and are believed to be a primary cause of global warming.

Heat rate

Amount of energy required to generate 1 kWh of electricity. It is the inverse of the thermal efficiency with a suitable conversion factor.

Heating value

The thermal energy produced by completely burning a unit mass of fuel in a combustor to produce carbon dioxide and water. If the water is in a gaseous phase, the heating value is referred to as net or lower heating value (LHV). If the water is in a liquid phase, the heating value is referred to as gross or higher heating value (HHV).

Heat recovery steam generator (HRSG)

Also known as the heat recovery boiler (HRB), HRSG is a cross-flow tubular heat exchanger that recovers the exhaust heat from a prime mover (e.g., a gas turbine) and produces steam at high pressure and temperature that is used in a steam turbine (ST) for additional power generation. HRSG is the key equipment that “combines” gas and steam turbines in a combined cycle power plant.

Rankine cycle

The thermodynamic cycle describing the operation of a steam turbine. In a combined cycle, it is the bottoming cycle due to its relative position vis-à-vis Brayton cycle on a temperature-entropy surface.

Steam turbine

A prime mover or the power-generating part of an external combustion engine comprising one or more sections connected via a common shaft, through which steam flows, expands, and discharges to a condenser to generate useful shaft work for electric power generation or propulsion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GE Infrastructure-EnergySchenectadyUSA

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