Assessment of Evaporative Cooling Enhancement Methods for Air-Cooled Geothermal Power Plants: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Many binary-cycle geothermal power plants are air cooled because insufficient water is available to provide year-round water cooling. The performance of air-cooled geothermal plants is highly dependent on the dry bulb temperature of the air (much more so than fossil fuel plants that operate at higher boiler temperatures), and plant electric output can drop by 50% or more on hot summer days,compared to winter performance. This problem of reduced summer performance is exacerbated by the fact that electricity has a higher value in the summer. This paper describes a spreadsheet model that was developed to assess the cost and performance of four methods for using supplemental evaporative cooling to boost summer performance: 1) pre-cooling with spray nozzles, 2) pre-cooling with Muntersmedia, 3) a hybrid combination of nozzles and Munters media, and 4) direct deluge cooling of the air-cooled condenser tubes. Although all four options show significant benefit, deluge cooling has the potential to be the most economic. However, issues of scaling and corrosion would need to be addressed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2002
EventGeothermal Resources Council (GRC) Annual Meeting - Reno, Nevada.
Duration: 22 Sep 200225 Sep 2002


ConferenceGeothermal Resources Council (GRC) Annual Meeting
CityReno, Nevada.

Bibliographical note

Prepared for the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) Annual Meeting, 22-25 September 2002, Reno, Nevada.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-550-32394


  • air cooled condensers
  • evaporative cooling
  • geothermal
  • power plants


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