By: Sarah Widder
Went to an interesting talk today about modeling power plant water use in a river basin in Texas. The talk discussed the trade-offs between open-loop cooling, closed-loop cooling, and dry cooling. Open loop withdraws the most water, which can be an issue is water scarce regions, but consumes very little of that water.
Closed loop cooling, such as with a cooling tower decreases the water withdrawal, but increases the water consumption and concentrates pollutants because of the use of evaporative cooling in cooling towers. Dry cooling uses no cooling water, but has a significant decrease in energy efficiency because of the much lower heat capacity of air.