The Electric Power Research Institute has won a $3 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a new dry-cooling technology for thermoelectric power plants.
The new technology, which uses advanced phase change materials to improve heat transfer, is designed to significantly reduce fan power consumption and steam condensation temperatures. Existing dry-cooling systems use air instead of water to cool the steam exiting a turbine and can cut water consumption by more than 90 percent.
The nonprofit organization, funded by the electric utility industry, is teaming up with Drexel University, the University of Memphis, Evapco, WorleyParsons and Maulbetsch Consulting on the project. Their goal is to develop and manufacture a cost-effective, 50 kW indirect dry-cooling system with the potential for integration into existing power plants.
"Successful scale-up and demonstration of this technology will help determine if it could be a competitive water conserving option for the next generation in power plant cooling,” said Sean Bushart, director of EPRI's generation environmental sciences department.