GeoSteamNet: 2. Steam Flow Simulation in a Pipeline of Geothermal Power Plant


Mahendra P. Verma and Victor Arellano G.

Key Words:

ActiveX control, SteamTablesGrid, fluid flow, pipeline, MoodyChart, Newton-Raphson Method


Stanford Geothermal Workshop







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A computer program is developed to simulate steam flow in a pipeline as a part of “GeoSteamNet: a computer package for the simulation of steam flow in a geothermal power plant network”. The fluid movement is governed by the following basic principles: the conservation of mass, the linear momentum principle (Newton’s second law or Navier Stokes equations) and the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics defines the direction of a spontaneous process, which is indirectly validated in the algorithm as steam flows from high to low pressure and heat flows from high to low temperature. The nonlinear equations are solved with the Newton-Raphson method.

A comparative study on the variation of temperature, pressure and heat loss in a pipeline of length 1000 m, inner diameter 0.3 m and thickness 0.005 m is presented. Three cases are discussed: a) no conduction-convection heat loss, b) an insulation of 0.05 m thickness on the pipeline and c) maximum heat loss (i.e. no insulation). The change in pressure is same in the three cases whereas there is appreciable temperature drop even in the case a. Similarly, there is 36% density change in the case b, which is a restriction to use the Bernoulli’s equation for steam flow simulation.

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