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Comprehensive Reduction of Thermal Resistance in Air Cooled Condensers

[+] Author Affiliations
Ahmad Saleh, Jayanta Kapat

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Paper No. POWER2015-49363, pp. V001T04A002; 9 pages
  • ASME 2015 Power Conference collocated with the ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • ASME 2015 Power Conference
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5660-4
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Restriction on water consumption is becoming an increasing problem for the power generation industry. As an alternative both to once-through cooling and to surface condenser/wet-cooling tower combination, utility companies and equipment manufacturers are considering, and even implementing, air-cooled condenser (ACC). However, the industry is quite reluctant to switch over to ACC for three important reasons: (a) lower power output, (b) higher capital cost, and (c) larger physical foot-print, all because of the same reason — it is not as efficient to transfer heat from condensing steam to air as it is to transfer to water. In other words, overall thermal resistance from condensing steam to the ambient air is significantly higher than to cooling water.

To get a clear and full understanding of the heat transfer process occur in air-cooling condenser, Detailed mathematical equations were derived to model the heat transfer process through the fined-tubes of the ACC. The total thermal resistance model was analyzed and investigated to identify the design components with highest affect in the process.

The paper proposes a viable cooling system based on novel heat pipe technology which addresses these problems. This technology employs boiling as the means to store and transfer heat energy. A detailed mathematical set of equations was derived to model the heat pipe thermal resistance. A comparison of the heat transfer performances of the ACC technology and the proposed method is presented.

The proposed cooling system suggests a solution for each of the three components of the thermal resistance, the super-hydrophobic coating of the steam ducts internal surfaces increased the condensing heat transfer rate by an order of magnitude, the proposed design of the heat pipes improved the external heat transfer, and the installation mechanism improves the fin efficiency by eliminating the contact resistance between steam duct and the heat pipe.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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