EPRI receives $3M award for advanced power plant cooling research

The U.S. Department of Energy has presented a $3-million award to the Electric Power Research Institute in an effort to develop a novel dry-cooling technology for thermoelectric power plants.

PALO ALTO, CA, June 17, 2015 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has presented a $3-million award to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in an effort to develop a novel dry-cooling technology for thermoelectric power plants. This endeavor ultimately aims to produce a more cost-effective option for reducing water at these sites.

This new cooling technology has the potential to significantly reduce fan power consumption and steam condensation temperatures compared to current dry-cooling systems. EPRI is teaming with Drexel University, University of Memphis, Evapco, WorleyParsons, Maulbetsch Consulting, and its utility advisors to develop, manufacture and demonstrate a 50-kW indirect technology that would use advanced phase-change materials to improve heat transfer.

The proposed design is anticipated to be compact and optimized for various geographic and weather conditions and would have the potential for integration into existing power plants. "Successful scale-up and demonstration of this technology will help determine if it could be a competitive water-conserving option for the next generation in power plant cooling," said Sean Bushart, director, generation environmental sciences at EPRI.

DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is funding the project under its Advanced Research In Dry cooling (ARID) program. The EPRI project is one of 14, totaling $30 million to support development of transformative new power plant cooling technologies that can cost-effectively and efficiently reject waste heat with minimal water evaporation. ARPA-E project teams will work to design kilowatt-scale testing prototypes to help ensure the technologies can be scaled up to megawatt-cooling capacity without significant performance loss.

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