Performance benchmark of thermal production plants

Performance challenges

To use fully and further develop an existing production plant, you need to know key plant data in detail, such as:

  • Energy efficiency: As fuel costs are important to all plants, energy efficiency is a vital competitive factor
  • Production flexibility: In future, flexibility in terms of producing heat or power according to demand becomes increasingly important to plant earnings
  • Fuel flexibility: Not only does the capability of changing and mixing fuels affect fuel costs it also helps increase plant performance
  • Production capacity: In short, the higher the production the better – e.g. in terms of increased turnover in high-price periods and increased earnings on energy markets
  • Lifetime: It is important to know the residual lifetime for each critical plant component if the lifetime of the entire plant is to be exploited intelligently. Knowing this also helps ensuring availability and planning plant maintenance outages.



Based on our specialist knowledge on the operation of power plants, we provide clarity of all required plant data.

Benefits of a performance benchmark

To utilize production plants efficiently it is vital to know the actual capacity of the plant; including its maximum production. Moreover, you need to know where and if investments in maintenance and conversion are profitable. This overview is given through a performance benchmark.

The performance benchmark provides plant owners with:

  • A precise assessment of plant operational efficiency such as energy efficiency, flexibility, capacity.
  • A precise assessment of plant maintenance state such as turbine degradations, boiler corrosion or component residual lifetime
  • A financial assessment of revising operational strategi and the cost-benefits of plant component investments.

Performance benchmark procedure

We take on the role as project management during the entire process. Of course, the customer’s knowledge, requirements and resources are embraced.

A typical process comprises the following steps:

  1. Balancing customer expectations as to desired performance focus element
  2. Overview of previous operation data and problems experienced
  3. Completion of test operation to clarify specific challenges
  4. Conclusion, recommendations and documentation of analyses performed.

Customer case no. 1

The plant is a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant for which an assessment of the efficiency has been performed. The purpose was to identify the most profitable elements to be either upgraded or renovated.


Based on operation analyses and thermodynamic models (see figure 1), Added Values recommended to work on heat surface corrosion, improve the combustion and implement by-pass operation. These approaches were later performed and led to short payback periods.

Customer case no. 2

The plant is a coal-fired combined heat and power plant. The purpose of the project was to analyse the possibilities for lowering the technical minimum load. Added Values’ performance benchmark focuses primarily on the technical minimum.

The conclusion is that through several relatively low-cost regulation concepts, monitoring and combustion, the technical minimum load will be reduced significantly. The figure below depicts the steps which have already been realized.


The benefits include reduced power market losses in low-price periods and a payback time less than 24 months.