This paper demonstrates the use of a combined software package including IPSEpro and MATLAB in the optimisation of a modern thermal cycle. A 900 MW power plant unit (operating at ultra-supercritical conditions) was considered as the study object. The Nelder-Mead simplex-based, direct search method was used to increase power plant efficiency and to find the optimal thermal cycle configuration. As the literature reveals, the Nelder-Mead approach is very sensitive to the simplex size and to the choice of method coefficients, i.e., reflection, expansion and contraction. When these coefficients are improperly chosen, the finding of the optimal solution cannot be guaranteed, particularly in such complex systems as thermal cycles. Hence, the main goal of the present work was to demonstrate the capability of an integrated software package including IPSEpro, MATLAB and MS Excel in the optimisation process of a complex thermal cycle, as well as to examine the effectiveness of the most popular sets of Nelder-Mead coefficients previously proposed by other researchers. For the investigation purposes, the bleed and outlet pressures from the turbines were considered as decision variables, and the power plant efficiency was used as an objective function.
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