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First Thermal and Fluids Engineering Summer Conference

ISSN: 2379-1748
ISBN: 978-1-56700-430-4

AIR-COOLED POWER PLANT CONDENSERS AT WATER-COOLED PERFORMANCE LEVELS − IS IT POSSIBLE?

DOI: 10.1615/TFESC1.fnd.013069
pages 867-873

Alexander S. Rattner
Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA; Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 16802

John G. Bustamante
Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

Srinivas Garimella
Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory, The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA


KEY WORDS: Energy, Water, Nexus, Air-Cooled Condensers, Power plant

Abstract

Dry air-cooled condensers (ACCs) represent a promising minimal water consumption power-plant cooling technology compared with conventional once-through liquid and evaporative approaches. However, due to the poor thermal transport properties of air, current ACCs have high capital costs and yield a 5 - 10% reduction in plant-level efficiency relative to wet cooling. ACCs have therefore been highlighted as critical targets for enhanced heat transfer engineering, but the potential for plant-level gains has not been critically assessed. In this study, a model of a representative air-cooled condenser system is employed to explore the potential to approach wet-cooled plant performance levels through techniques that reduce the air-side thermal resistance, and by raising the air mass flow rate. This ACC unit model is coupled to a representative baseload steam-cycle power plant model. It is found that water-cooled power-plant efficiency levels can be approached by using enhanced ACCs with significantly increased air flow rates (+68%), reduced air-side thermal resistances (-66%), and airside pressure losses near conventional levels (+24%). Emerging heat-transfer enhancement technologies are evaluated for the potential to meet these performance objectives. Results from this investigation provide guidance for the adoption of ACCs, and identify promising pathways for air-side enhancement.

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