Experimental investigation of air-cooled condensers
Kunke, Taylor Steven
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Air-cooled condensers (ACCs) offer an alternative heat rejection method for thermal power plants, reducing the required water withdrawal for conventional wet-cooled plants. However, ACCs suffer from lower efficiencies and higher capital costs compared to once-through and evaporative condensers. A heat exchanger representative of ACC geometry was manufactured and tested in a wind tunnel to quantify the thermal-hydraulic performance of an ACC at representative operating conditions. Autonomously fluttering reeds (AFRs) are installed on the air-side of these condensers and their performance is measured. The experiments showed an average of 25% enhancement in heat transfer coefficient, with a 40% increase in pressure drop due to the installation of the AFRs. The data were incorporated into a Rankine cycle power plant model, which predicted a ~0.4% cycle efficiency increase based on tradeoffs between increased fan power and lower turbine outlet pressure due to AFR enhancement.