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DOE selects additional project to enable near-zero water consumption of power plants

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World Coal,

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) selected one additional project to receive approximately US$1.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development under the second closing of funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002001.000001, ‘Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fuelled Power Plants’.

The selection of this project supports the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure and affordable water. This project directly supports the third goal of this challenge: reducing the freshwater use intensity associated with existing and new thermoelectric power generation.

The project will be supported by FE’s Water Management programme, which addresses the needs of the energy-water nexus through analyses and technology development. The project will help ensure that the nation has a fleet of fossil-fired power plants that provide stable power generation with operational flexibility, high efficiency, low emissions and even lower water demand.

The technology utilised in this project will minimise operational complexity and cost under cycling operating conditions; thereby enhancing the tolerance of fossil power generation in reduced water availability scenarios (for example, droughts). In particular, the project includes a thermal energy storage unit that will help reduce peak cooling loads to maintain plant output, efficiency and environmental performance during hot conditions – the most challenging times for cooling.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the project, focused on one FOA area of interest: Coal Power Plant Cooling Technology; Subtopic 2B: Advanced Dry Cooling.

The University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, will perform the project, titled ‘Advanced Dry-Cooling with Integrated Enhanced Air-Cooled Condenser and Daytime Load-Shifting Thermal Energy Storage for Improved Power-Plant Efficiency’. The team will carry out an engineering analysis and optimise the design of a pilot-scale, 10 – 100 MJ thermal energy storage unit linked to an air-cooled condenser and air-cooled heat exchanger dry-cooling system.

The technology will be field-tested in 1:275-scale dry-cooling modules at the Electric Power Research Institute’s Water Research and Conservation Centre at Southern Company’s Plant McDonough in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The team will design and optimise the air pre-cooler based on extended analysis and experimental data for a lab/pilot-scale unit. The university also plans to redesign the air-cooled condenser with novel enhanced fin surfaces.

DOE Funding: US$1 485 086; Non-DOE Funding: US$372 244; Total Value: US$1 857 330.

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