A combined-cycle power plant is composed of gas turbines, steam turbines, and heat recovery steam generators.

In this type of plant, the electricity is generated by gas and steam turbines combined in one cycle. Then, it is transferred from one turbine to another.

The ambient variables affect the gas turbine performance while the vacuum is collected from and affects the steam turbine.

This example aims to model the energy generated as a function of exhaust vacuum and ambient variables and use that model to improve the plant's performance.

- Application type.
- Data set.
- Neural network.
- Training strategy.
- Model selection.
- Testing analysis.
- Model deployment.
- Tutorial Video.

This example is solved with Neural Designer. To follow it step by step, you can use the free trial.

This is an approximation project since the variable to be predicted is continuous (energy production).

The primary goal here is to model energy production as a function of environmental and control variables.

The data set contains three concepts:

- Data source.
- Variables.
- Instances.

The data file combined_cycle_power_plant.csv contains 9568 samples with 5 variables collected from a combined cycle power plant over six years when the power plant was set to work with a full load. The measurements were taken every second.

The variables, or features, are the following:

**temperature**, in degrees Celsius.**exhaust_vacuum**, in cm Hg.**ambient_pressure**, in millibar.**relative_humidity**, in percentage.**energy**, in MW, net hourly electrical energy output.

The instances are divided into training, selection, and testing subsets. They represent 60%, 20%, and 20% of the original instances, respectively, and are split at random.

Calculating the data distributions helps us to check for the correctness of the available information and detect anomalies. The following chart shows the histogram for the variable energy_output.

As we can see, there are more scenarios where the energy produced is small than where it is big.

It is also interesting to look for dependencies between a single input and single target variables. To do that, we can plot an inputs-targets correlations chart.

The highest correlation is the yield for the temperature (in general, the more temperature, the less energy production).

Next, we plot a scatter chart for the energy output and the exhaust vacuum.

As we can see, the energy output is highly correlated with the exhaust vacuum. In general, the more exhaust vacuum, the less energy production.

The second step is to build a neural network that represents the approximation function. For approximation problems, it is usually composed by:

- Scaling layer.
- Perceptron layers.
- Unscaling layer.

The neural network has 4 inputs (temperature, exhaust vacuum, ambient pressure, and relative humidity) and 1 output (energy output).

The scaling layer contains the statistics of the inputs. As all inputs have normal distributions, we use the mean and standard deviation scaling method.

We use 2 perceptron layers here:

- The first perceptron layer has 4 inputs, 3 neurons, and a hyperbolic tangent activation function.
- The second perceptron layer has 3 inputs, 1 neuron, and a linear activation function.

The unscaling layer contains the statistics of the outputs. As the output has a normal distribution, we use the mean and standard deviation unscaling method.

The next graph represents the neural network for this example.

The fourth step is to select an appropriate training strategy. It is composed of two things:

- A loss index.
- An optimization algorithm.

The loss index defines what the neural network will learn. It is composed of an error term and a regularization term.

The error term chosen is the normalized squared error. A normalization coefficient divides the squared error between the outputs from the neural network and the targets in the data set. If the normalized squared error has a value of 1, then the neural network predicts the data 'in the mean', while a value of zero means a perfect prediction of the data. This error term does not have any parameters to set.

The regularization term is the L2 regularization. It is applied to control the complexity of the neural network by reducing the value of the parameters. We use a weak weight for this regularization term.

The optimization algorithm is in charge of searching for the neural network parameters that minimize the loss index. Here we chose the quasi-Newton method as optimization algorithm.

The following chart shows how the training (blue) and selection (orange) errors decrease with the epochs during the training process.
The final values are **training error = 0.057 NSE** and **selection error = 0.067 NSE**, respectively.

Model selection algorithms are used to improve the generalization performance of the neural network.

As the selection error that we have achieved is minimal (0.067 NSE), this algorithm is unnecessary.

The purpose of the testing analysis is to validate the generalization capabilities of the neural network. We use the testing instances in the data set, which have never been used before.

A standard testing method in approximation applications is to perform a linear regression analysis between the predicted and the real energy output values.

For a perfect fit, the correlation coefficient R2 would be 1.
As we have **R2 = 0.968**, the neural network is predicting very well the testing data.

In the model deployment phase, the neural network is used to predict outputs for inputs that it has never seen.

We can calculate the neural network outputs for a given set of inputs:

- temperature: 19 degrees Celsius.
- exhaust_vacuum: 54 cm Hg.
- ambient_pressure: 1013 millibar.
- relative_humidity: 73 %.
**energy_output**: 452 MW.

Directional outputs plot the neural network outputs through some reference points.

The next list shows the reference point for the plots.

Next, we define a reference point and see how the energy production varies with the exhaust vacuum around that point.

- temperature: 19 Celsius degrees.
- exhaust_vacuum: 54 cm Hg.
- ambient_pressure: 1013 millibar.
- relative_humidity: 73 %.

As we can see, reducing the exhaust vacuum increases energy output.

The mathematical expression represented by the predictive model is listed next:

scaled_temperature = (temperature-19.6512)/7.45247; scaled_exhaust_vacuum = 2*(exhaust_vacuum-25.36)/(81.56-25.36)-1; scaled_ambient_pressure = (ambient_pressure-1013.26)/5.93878; scaled_relative_humidity = (relative_humidity-73.309)/14.6003; y_1_1 = tanh(-0.158471 + (scaled_temperature*0.200864) + (scaled_exhaust_vacuum*0.73313) + (scaled_ambient_pressure*-0.19189) + (scaled_relative_humidity*0.0133642)); y_1_2 = tanh(-0.290828 + (scaled_temperature*-0.020375) + (scaled_exhaust_vacuum*-0.263848) + (scaled_ambient_pressure*-0.227397)+ (scaled_relative_humidity*0.337468)); y_1_3 = tanh(0.574054 + (scaled_temperature*0.572764) + (scaled_exhaust_vacuum*-0.0264721) + (scaled_ambient_pressure*0.109944)+ (scaled_relative_humidity*0.00934301)); scaled_energy_output = (0.162012+ (y_1_1*-0.382654) + (y_1_2*-0.126065) + (y_1_3*-0.748958)); energy_output = (0.5*(scaled_energy_output+1.0)*(495.76-420.26)+420.26);

You can watch the step-by-step tutorial video below to help you complete this Machine Learning example for free using the easy-to-use machine learning software Neural Designer.

- Pinar Tufekci, Prediction of full load electrical power output of a baseload operated combined cycle power plant using machine learning methods, International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems, Volume 60, September 2014, Pages 126-140, ISSN 0142-0615.
- Heysem Kaya, Pinar Tufekci, Fikret S. Gurgen: Local and Global Learning Methods for Predicting Power of a Combined Gas & Steam Turbine, Proceedings of the International Conference on Emerging Trends in Computer and Electronics Engineering ICETCEE 2012, pp. 13-18 (Mar. 2012, Dubai).