Comparision of dry and wet cooling: An applied research on a solar thermal power plant

Timur, Eray
The present study evaluates the use of air cooled heat exchangers for an organic Rankine cycle (ORC) as part of a solar thermal power system that can produce 10-30 kWe. Overall thermal efficiency of the system under investigation relies heavily on (i) available solar thermal energy, (ii) performance of the cooling system, and (iii) power consumption due to pumps and fans within the system. For locations with good solar potential but limited water resources, it is crucial to evaluate wet cooling towers to avoid or reduce water consumption. Performance of dry cooling alternatives is limited by the dry bulb temperature rather than the wet bulb temperature, requiring more fan power to achieve the same cooling capacity. In this study, assessment of wet and dry cooling units is performed by integrating them into a small scale power plant model that uses environmental conditions (i.e. solar irradiation, ambient dry and wet bulb temperatures) as the inputs. Critical parameters include net produced power and operational costs for both wet and dry cooling units through a representative year using conditions at northern Cyprus. It is found that dry cooling unit is capable of saving water about 17 ton/MWh while it produces 6% less per annum compared to the wet cooling alternative for the representative annual weather data. Overall, dry cooling is shown to be a good solution for low altitude-humid regions, where thermal performance appears to be comparable to wet cooling while significant savings in water consumption is achieved.


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Citation Formats
E. Timur, “Comparision of dry and wet cooling: An applied research on a solar thermal power plant,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2013.