Power Plant Engineering

FCS has special expertise in the operations and maintenance of steam and gas turbine-generators. We provide services to optimize plant capacity, reliability, and thermal performance based upon a cost-effective approach that maximizes return on investment.

FCS Plant Engineering Services


The FCS approach to successful completion of our clients' projects requires an intimate knowledge of the system design basis, controls, and operating sequences. As a result, our teams are ideally qualified to identify potential deficiencies in system process and mechanical design, controls, and operating philosophy.

Maintenance Services

As the fossil-fired power plant fleet in the U.S. gets older, issues of plant and equipment reliability and availability assume greater importance in their operational efficiency and profitability. Also, due to a highly competitive market where equipment manufacturers and engineering companies are aggressively pursuing market share, the cost of building new power plants is being relentlessly driven downward at the cost of equipment redundancy and robustness. Further, competitive pressures and the on-going deregulation in the electric utility industry are forcing utilities to outsource services such as plant engineering, equipment and system debottlenecking and optimization, and maintenance program development to improve plant reliability, availability, and efficiency.

As a result of these pressures, plant operators and management are finding out that they cannot always depend on the architect engineering companies or their in-house engineering departments to provide the plant engineering services they expect. At the same time, owners and investors of power plants are demanding higher revenues and profitability.

Newer plants are also likely to have certain systems or equipment that are potential constraints to increasing plant reliability and capacity. Simple, cost-effective modifications may result in significant improvements in reliability, availability, and capacity if properly analyzed and designed.


To meet the needs of new and operating fossil power plants in the areas of plant engineering and maintenance services, FCS provides a variety of services that are designed to satisfy the needs of our clients whether they operate conventional coal, oil, or gas-fired steam power plants or state-of-the-art combined cycle/cogeneration plants. FCS has successfully completed projects for design and evaluation of system upgrades, conceptual design and specification development for new power plants, and in assessing the condition of existing plant equipment and systems in order to justify capital expenditure for improving plant reliability and availability.

FCS can also help set up programs for managing plant configuration changes and documentation updating. We are totally committed to ensuring your success by providing cost-effective and innovative customized solutions to your needs.

FCS provides the following services in support of new and existing fossil power plants:


Maintenance Services

  • Maintenance audits and assessments
  • Predictive maintenance/condition monitoring program development
  • Preventive and corrective maintenance procedures
  • Spare parts review, recommendation, and optimization
  • Maintenance Management System (MMS) implementation
  • Equipment tagging and database development
  • Maintenance training program development and implementation

Plant Thermal Performance Services


Competition in today's utility environment has reached unprecedented levels. Government regulatory pressures, deregulation, together with an emerging force of Independent Power Producers have forced all producers of power to reexamine every aspect of their operations. No area of operation is more important than thermal performance. After all other aspects of plant operation and management have been optimized, the greatest single component of cost for most generating facilities is fuel cost. Optimizing thermal performance minimizes this cost. FCS is in a unique position to assist power producers in addressing this important issue.



FCS offers a range of plant engineering services that can identify areas for efficiency improvement, help power producers to realize those improvements, and then maintain the plant at peak efficiency. These services can be applied to many different types of plants including conventional Rankine cycle plants, Combined Cycle plants, and Simple Cycle Gas Turbine powered plants. One objective of these services is to make our clients independent in maintaining a program for monitoring and maintaining thermal performance.

The range of services that are offered includes the following:

Performance Audits

FCS visits the plant and over a period of several days does a survey of the plant cycle and components. In this survey, the plant is physically "walked down" to identify opportunities for performance improvement. Relevant plant engineering information such as acceptance tests, design data and performance testing/monitoring records, and procedures on major components is gathered for later analysis. Plant personnel are interviewed to identify concerns and problems that are relevant to the efficiency of the plant. This information is analyzed and a report is generated. This report, detailing findings, recommendations, and an implementation/action plan, is reviewed with appropriate plant management personnel. The objective of this review session is to assist plant management in finalizing (refining) an action plan that will result in improved plant performance.

Performance/Test Monitoring

An essential element of an effective program for the improvement and maintenance of plant thermal efficiency is performance testing. FCS can develop detailed procedures that are based upon recognized ASME Performance Test Codes and current industry practice. These procedures can be for high accuracy, infrequent testing, and for more frequent routine testing. Once procedures are developed, FCS can assist clients in actually performing the tests and developing performance test reports with analysis that will help to diagnose any problems that are identified. FCS can also recommend and help implement on-line performance monitoring systems.

Often, performance tests for new or refurbished equipment are included by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) under the scope of their contract. In these cases, FCS can act as the client's representative to review the OEM test procedure, monitor the conduct of the test, and provide an independent evalua-tion of the test results.

Performance Calculation Software

Much of the difficulty that many plant performance engineers have in developing and managing effective monitoring programs is the time required to reduce data and calculate test results to provide concise reporting to plant management that can be used to make decisions that will improve and maintain plant efficiency. FCS can develop software that reduces the time required for this important task. This software can be developed using commonly available and familiar software tools, such as Excel or Quattro spreadsheets or the Visual Basic and C programming languages. Extensive documentation is provided with the software to make it possible for plant personnel to understand the software and to make software modifications required when the plant and/or the performance testing procedures change.


Specific equipment problems can be analyzed by FCS performance experts with specific experience in operations, performance, and maintenance of a wide range of power plant equipment including steam turbines, gas turbines, boiler feed pumps, heat exchangers, fans, and compressors. Root cause analysis is stressed by FCS to assure that the cause of the problem, rather than just its effect, are identified and corrected to prevent recurrence of problems.


FCS can provide training for all personnel in the plant who can affect plant performance, from the plant management to the control room operators and maintenance personnel. FCS staff have developed and presented successful and effective training of this sort to thousands of people over the last 15 years. Typically, the training programs are from 3 to 5 days in duration and focus on how each member of the plant staff can improve plant performance. Past trainees have reported that training presented by FCS personnel has provided them with practical information that was immediately useful in improving plant performance.

Performance Monitoring Programs

While some clients may require assistance in only one or two of the areas described above, many clients have no effective program for monitoring and improving thermal performance. For such clients, addressing only one or two areas of thermal performance often results in little or no improvement in plant efficiency. This is because any effective program must address all relevant areas. The one area most frequently neglected is the plant personnel and organizational aspects of thermal performance. This is because many people fail to see that improving thermal performance is more than a hardware issue that is addressed by purchase of new test instrumentation and capital improvements in equipment.

FCS can develop a program that integrates the hardware issues with the people issues. The elements of an effective program typically include the following:

  • Form a group that cuts across organizational lines to involve all plant personnel who affect plant efficiency to develop and monitor an overall performance improvement/monitoring plan.
  • Develop a plan to improve and maintain plant thermal performance.
  • Training of the people who are responsible for implementing and maintaining that program.
  • Follow-up assessment to assure that the goals for the program are being met.

Develop test procedures and monitoring systems:

  • High accuracy testing that is done infrequently
  • Routine testing done with a frequency that ranges from monthly to quarterly
  • On-line system to provide plant operations and maintenance personnel with immediate feedback in real time on plant performance

Gas Turbine / Combined Cycle / Cogeneration Plant Support

The addition of gas turbine-based combined cycle power plants to supply new generating capacity continues to play a major role in the power industry. This technology is being adopted by all key players in the power industry because it offers high thermal efficiency, low emissions, low installed cost, flexibility in fuel selection, low operation and maintenance cost, short installation time, and high operating flexibility.

Combined cycle power plants use a combination of two thermodynamic cycles: the gas turbine cycle (Brayton cycle) and the steam turbine cycle (Rankine cycle). Cogeneration plants utilize the gas turbine cycle for power generation, and use steam produced in a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) for power or process purposes. Advancement in combined cycle technology is relatively recent and involves complex equipment and controls to meet stringent emissions requirements and performance standards. Most new combined cycle/ cogeneration plants utilize new technology and complex equipment, and also have strict contracts to satisfy. This requires even experienced plant personnel to be trained to operate the new equipment. Further, since these plants are often staffed at low levels, it is imperative that the entire staff be properly trained and qualified to ensure maximum utilization. Due to lack of formal training, more than one third of the non-utility power plants surveyed in 1994 reported additional costs from increasing staffing levels over those originally planned.

A successful approach to providing technical services and plant engineering support is to address the operational and maintenance aspects involving the integrated functioning of the two thermodynamic cycles in a combined cycle power plant. The staff must understand the interrelationships between the combined cycle plant components and systems to efficiently operate the plant.

The factors that improve the efficiency and/or output of only the gas turbine cycle or only the steam turbine cycle may not improve the efficiency/output of the combined cycle. Therefore, in order to optimize the functioning of the combined cycle power plant, the operator or engineer should possess knowledge of not only the individual characteristics of the combustion turbine, heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) and the steam turbine, but also the integrated functioning and thermodynamic tradeoffs incorporated in the combined cycle power plant. The staff should be able to explain the effect of operating parameters such as firing temperatures, compressor pressure ratios, ambient temperature and pressure conditions, turbine exhaust temperatures and their effect on gas turbine efficiency/power output, and the combined cycle efficiency/power output.


FCS offers a wide range of services aimed at helping our clients achieve maximum profitability from plant operation. These services include:

  • Performance Optimization Reviews
  • Operability/Maintainability Plant Engineering Analysis
  • Plant-specific operation, maintenance, and test documentation
  • Generic and plant-specific training
  • On-the-Job Training (OJT) manuals, training guides, and program implementation

  • Assessments of training needs, functional analyses, and staffing studies
  • Interactive and multi-media based training program development Equipment Failure Analysis (EFA) and reliability/availability improvement
  • Plant/Equipment efficiency and acceptance testing
  • Development of test protocols and automated spreadsheets
  • Computer Aided Design and Drafting services

FCS has developed site-specific System Descriptions, Operating Procedures, Alarm Response Procedures, and performance based On-the-Job Training Programs for gas turbine and combined cycle power plants. Our staff also have experience with gas turbine/combined cycle power plant equipment and controls from all major suppliers including General Electric, Westinghouse, ABB, and Siemens. Our capabilities include developing training and qualification programs for all disciplines and jobs at these plants. FCS has the experience to support all of your training and technical support needs. Our personnel have the knowledge and skills to relate to the needs of plant personnel and are committed to excellence in supporting your needs.

Gas and Steam Turbine Generator Services

Power producers are under unprecedented pressure from government regulation, deregulation, and competition to operate their plants with maximum efficiency and availability. This is a daunting task, given the complexity of power generation facilities. There is no piece of equipment in most plants more complex than the steam or gas turbine-generator. Turbine-generators in most plants are large and complex pieces of machinery that are supported by many subsystems such as lube oil, steam seal, fuel forwarding, and so on. Safe and effective operation of the turbine-generator requires that the plant staff have good understanding of the machine and its subsystems for both operations and maintenance. Understanding the complex turbine-generator system can be even more difficult considering the voluminous and often generic documentation supplied by most turbine-generator manufacturers. Sifting through this mass of information to distill the points that are relevant and important to the operation and maintenance of any given turbine-generator set is a difficult and time-consuming task.


FCS has extensive experience with both steam and gas turbine-generators from nearly all major manufacturers including GE, Westinghouse, ABB, and Seimens. Our experience covers maintenance, operations, controls, and thermal performance. We can assist clients in developing programs that can help assure high availability of the turbine-generator with maximum efficiency. Specific examples of our services are:

FCS has taught power plant personnel from hundreds of plants worldwide in the operations and maintenance of their turbine-generators. FCS training provides both the theory and plant-specific information that enables operators not only to perform routine operations but also to respond to abnormal situations, such as water induction in steam turbines. Specific training that can be done includes:

  • Operations - Typically a one-week course for operators that covers the operation of the turbine-generator, including the manufacturer's Starting and Loading Instructions (SALI), and all of its supporting subsystems. Maintenance - Typically a one-week course that addresses both routine and major maintenance that is done in major outages.
  • Controls - Typically a 3-5 day course for operators that covers the controls for the turbine. Topics such as regulation and its interaction with the load limit are covered as well as routine operations. Older MHC, newer analog and digital EHC systems, and advanced PLC- or DCS-based turbine control systems can be covered.
  • Performance - Typically a 2-4 day course that covers the theory required to understand turbine performance as well as practical guidance on both routine performance monitoring and rigorous ASME code testing. Diagnosis of performance-related problems is emphasized.

FCS has extensive experience in turbine-generator thermal performance. This experience includes routine performance monitoring, full-scale ASME code testing, diagnostics, and troubleshooting. Specific services offered include:

  • Performance Audits - FCS can review the current performance of the turbine-generator through the examination of test records, actual operating data, and interviews with plant staff. Rudimentary testing may be performed depending upon the data and instrumentation that is available. The results of this audit are a report detailing the findings and providing recommendations with a tentative action plan for their implementation.
  • Test Procedures - FCS can develop detailed, specific test procedures. These procedures can cover both rigorous tests that meet ASME code requirements or more routine testing that might be done as often as monthly. The test procedure provides not only for the installation of instrumentation and taking data, it also provides detailed, step-by-step calculations for test results and a format for the presentation of test results that can provide management with a concise summary of the information needed to make decisions on issues such as capital expenditures for performance improvement. Typically the procedures include an uncertainty analysis that provides both performance engineers and management with guidance for the quality of the test results.
  • Testing - FCS can perform the testing of steam and gas turbine-generators. Where test procedures already exist, FCS will make use of them. Where no test procedures exist, FCS can develop and then implement those procedures. Detailed test reports that provide both the detail and a concise summary as well as a diagnostic analysis give plant personnel an excellent snapshot of the condition of the turbine.
  • Post-Outage Testing - FCS can set up testing before and after outages to help measure the effectiveness of an outage. This is often an important issue in validating decisions to replace components such as seals. FCS provides a detailed before and after report that focuses on the details of performance that can help determine the effect of such work.

FCS can provide clients with assistance in turbine-generator maintenance. These maintenance services range from pre-outage planning to on-site diagnostics for specific problems. Specific services include:

  • Maintenance Procedures - Maintenance outages often fail to produce the desired results because there is no detailed written guidance to ensure consistency in the maintenance tasks performed. FCS can develop detailed maintenance procedures for both specific components (such as coupling assembly and disassembly) and more global procedures covering complex, multi-component assemblies (such as an entire turbine section) and systems (such as a seal oil system). These procedures detail the tools, consumables, spares and documentation required before the job begins as well as a detailed step-by-step procedure for disassembly, inspection, and re-assembly. Hold points for inspection are spelled out to help assure that the job is done right. Custom forms for recording and reporting the results of inspections are included. These forms can be provided electronically as spreadsheet-like forms for entry directly into a computer. One result of effective maintenance procedures is information required for the planning of future maintenance.
  • Pre-Outage Inspection - Experienced FCS personnel can perform an in-service inspection of the turbine-generator. This inspection includes a walkdown of the unit, performing routine tests such as valve testing and lube oil pump autostart tests, and examination of operating records. The result of this inspection is a detailed report that provides specific recommendations for maintenance and testing that should be performed during an outage.
  • Pre-Outage Planning - Failure to adequately plan for outages can result in unplanned delays and cost overruns. The key to a successful outage is effective planning. FCS can help in this planning by reviewing records from past outages, manufacturers' recommendations, and industry experience. That plan can be converted to a CPM (Critical Path Method) network and Gantt chart that are the foundation of a planned outage. Once the outage begins, FCS can help monitor the progress of the outage and keep the plan up to date, taking into account unplanned work that may be necessitated by unexpected damage discovered during the outage.
  • Maintenance Management - FCS can assist in the management of turbine-generator outages.

Plant Engineering Technical Documentation

Plant staff require accurate, up-to-date operations and maintenance documentation to carry out their day-to-day job functions. Often, this documentation is also used for initial staff training. For most plants, much of this documentation was supplied when the plant was new; however, many plants have failed to update this documentation to reflect plant changes and additions. Therefore, original documentation is often incomplete and inadequate to meet the training and plant reference requirements of the current plant staff.

FCS specializes in updating and developing plant-specific documentation. We deliver updated training in an organized and consistent format, allowing it to be used effectively in training and for day-to-day plant reference. FCS can also offer this documentation using an electronic performance (documentation) support system, on your computer network or stand-alone system, including enhancements such as hypertext links between text and graphics. A computerized performance support system ensures the information is easy to use, readily accessible, and easily updatable.


FCS offers the following services in the area of plant documentation:

Plant Drawings

FCS has experienced power plant engineers who can field validate P&IDs, electrical one-line drawings, and analog and digital control logic drawings. Once validated, these drawings can be produced on a CAD system. A significant advantage to CAD drawings is that they are easily revised; this allows plant drawings to be easily updated when needed.

Plant Data Book Upgrades

FCS can update existing system design data and descriptions through field walkdowns, incorporation of updated engineering and vendor information, and by contacting vendors directly for needed information.

Tag-Out and Lock-Out Procedures

OSHA 29CFR1910.269 requires that power generation plants have in place procedures for isolating plant equipment that could cause a hazard if energy were unexpectedly released. These procedures are in compliance with the OSHA requirements, safe and complete.

System Descriptions

FCS can update or develop plant system descriptions for plant personnel to use in learning the plant through formal or self-study training, and serve as a plant "encyclopedia" or reference source for all personnel. FCS provides detailed controls descriptions, color flow diagrams, and complete training descriptions of the equipment. The training effectiveness of the system descriptions is enhanced with equipment photographs, component graphics, and integration of plant fundamentals (as appropriate).

Operating Procedures

Operating procedures can be developed that incorporate manufacturers' recommendations, plant management operating plans, and approved industry practices. These procedures can be used for training plant personnel and for use in plant operations

FCS operating procedures are concise and cover both normal and abnormal operations, including procedures for responding to major plant alarms.

Time saving operations check-lists, such as power supply and valve lists, can be incorporated that detail both the equipment to be checked, its location, and position for startup. FCS can also provide administrative guidelines for keeping these procedures accurate and up-to-date.

An on-the-job training package can also be provided using the system descriptions and operating procedures to guide the operators in training.

Maintenance Procedures

Maintenance procedures can be developed for critical equipment requiring specialized knowledge and training. FCS-developed maintenance procedures are designed for use in training the personnel who perform maintenance, plan the work, and who do the work. In addition, these procedures provide complete and consistent documentation of the critical maintenance done in the plant. Maintenance procedures can also be used as a specification when work, contracted out, is performed by roving maintenance crews, as well as to help train all plant personnel in work that is performed infrequently. These procedures can also be provided in an electronic database format for easy access to the information..

Ready to get started? Contact us today!