An environmental and economic comparison of cooling system designs for steam-electric power plants
Author(s)Najjar, Kenneth F.; Shaw, John J.; Adams, E. Eric; Jirka, Gerhard H.; Harleman, Donald
The selection of waste heat rejection systems for steam-electric power plants involves a trade-off among environmental, energy and water conservation, and economic factors. This study compares four general types of cooling systems on the basis of these factors. The cooling systems chosen for study are: once-through systems including surface canals and submerged multiport diffusers; shallow closed cycle cooling ponds; mechanical and natural draft evaporative cooling towers; and mechanical draft dry towers. The cooling system comparison involves, first, an optimization of each cooling system and then a comparison among optimal systems. Comparison is made for an 800 MWe fossil unit and a 1200 MWe nuclear unit located at a hypothetical midwestern river site. A set of models has been developed to optimize the components of each cooling system based on the local meteorological and hydrological conditions at the site in accordance with a fixed demand, scalable plant concept. This concept allows one to compare the costs of producing the same net power from each plant/cooling system. Base case economic parameters were used to evaluate the optimum system for each of the four general cooling systems followed by a sensitivity study for each parameter. Comparison of energy and water consumption follows from the results of the performance model, while comparison of environmental impacts is mostly qualitative. Some quantitative modelling was performed for the environmental effects of thermal discharges from once-through systems, fogging from wet cooling towers and water consumption from the ponds, wet towers and once-through. The results of the optimization models of each of the systems are compared on the basis of: performance - discrete distributions of environmental conditions and transient simulation; economics - using base case scenarios and sensitivity values to arrive at costs expressed in terms of production costs, annualized costs and present value costs; energy and water consumption; and environmental effects. The once-through systems were found to be the least expensive of the four systems, the most energy efficient, but potentially the most environmentally damaging. On the other extreme, dry cooling towers are the most environmentally sound while being the most expensive and least energy efficient. Finally, the results of the economic optimization are compared with results from previous comparative studies.
Originally presented as a thesis (M.S.), M.I.T., Dept. of Civil Engineering, 1978, by Kenneth F. Najjar.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Steam power plants |x Cooling |x Environmental aspects., Steam power plants |x Cooling |x Economic aspects., Steam power plants |x Cooling |x Mathematical models., Waste heat.
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