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Keeping Your Power Plant Cool

By Luc De Backer |

General guidelines for selecting the appropriate power-plant cooling system are presented here The main purpose of a power plant is to convert a source of energy into electric power. Most power plants rely on heat as the energy source (thermal power plants). Thermal power plants burn fossil fuel (coal, oil or natural gas) or use nuclear fission, and are based on the principle of heat engines. An engine is a thermodynamic cycle that produces a net power output by supplying heat from a high temperature reservoir (heat source), and rejecting heat to a low temperature reservoir (heat sink). The heat sink is a fundamental element of any thermodynamic cycle in an electrical-power-generating plant. The point of interaction between the plant cycle and the heat sink is usually the main condenser. The critical phase in the power plant energy-conversion process is the conversion from heat into mechanical energy by means of the heat engine. A fundamental efficiency expression for this conversion is the Carnot (ideal) efficiency, given by Equation (1):     (1)     Where T1 is the temperature (in Kelvin) of the heat source and T2 is the temperature (in Kelvin) of the heat sink. The heat source temperature T1 is governed by…
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