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Theoretical Design of Thermosyphon for Process Heat Transfer From NGNP to Hydrogen Plant

[+] Author Affiliations
Piyush Sabharwall, Fred Gunnerson

University of Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID

Mike Patterson

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. HTR2008-58199, pp. 733-738; 6 pages
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology
  • Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Volume 1
  • Washington, DC, USA, September 28–October 1, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4854-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3834-1
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) will most likely produce electricity and process heat, with both being considered for hydrogen production. To capture nuclear process heat, and transport it to a distant industrial facility requires a high temperature system of heat exchangers, pumps and/or compressors. The heat transfer system is particularly challenging not only due to the elevated temperatures (up to ∼ 1300K) and industrial scale power transport (≥50 MW), but also due to a potentially large separation distance between the nuclear and industrial plants (100+m) dictated by safety and licensing mandates. The work reported here is the preliminary analysis of two-phase thermosyphon heat transfer performance with alkali metals. A thermosyphon is a device for transporting heat from one point to another with quite extraordinary properties. In contrast to single-phased forced convective heat transfer via ‘pumping a fluid’, a thermosyphon (also called a wickless heat pipe) transfers heat through the vaporization / condensing process. The condensate is further returned to the hot source by gravity, i.e. without any requirement of pumps or compressors. With this mode of heat transfer, the thermosyphon has the capability to transport heat at high rates over appreciable distances, virtually isothermally and without any requirement for external pumping devices. Two-phase heat transfer by a thermosyphon has the advantage of high enthalpy transport that includes the sensible heat of the liquid, the latent heat of vaporization, and vapor superheat. In contrast, single-phase forced convection transports only the sensible heat of the fluid. Additionally, vapor-phase velocities within a thermosyphon are much greater than single-phase liquid velocities within a forced convective loop. Thermosyphon performance can be limited by the sonic limit (choking) of vapor flow and/or by condensate entrainment. Proper thermosyphon requires analysis of both.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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