Multi-criteria evaluation of power plants based on water use, thermodynamic and economic criteria

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Electricity generation is an important sector for today’s society and economy. With vast amounts of water spent in electricity production processes and water scarcity predicted to significantly rise in the near future, the necessity to evaluate water use in power plants arises. Steam cooling processes in thermoelectric power plants are the main source of water use in electricity production. Even if other fluids, such as air, can be used for cooling purposes, water is associated with less costs and higher efficiencies. This study evaluates the performance of two types of power plants: a natural gas combined cycle power plant and a integrated solar combined cycle power plant. Special focus is made on the cooling system used in the plants and its characteristics, such as water use, related costs and plant fuel requirements. Three different cooling systems are studied for each of the power plants: wet, dry and hybrid cooling. Wet cooling uses water as the cooling fluid and dry cooling uses air circulated by a fan to condense the steam. Hybrid cooling is a combination of the previous two methods based on the ambient conditions, considering the efficiency loss experienced by dry cooling systems in dry, warm weather. To carry out this project the power plants are simulated using the software EbsilonProfessional and the plants are evaluated using exergy-based methods, i.e., exergetic, economic and exergoeconomic analyses. The results are used to compare the three different cooling options, as well as the water and fuel requirements of the different types of power plants.
Cooling systems, Thermodynamics, Water conservation, Conservation of natural resources, Power Plant
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