This paper focuses on the optimization of a Solar-Enhanced Natural-Draft Dry-Cooling Tower (SENDDCT), originally designed by the Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence (QGECE), as the air-cooled condenser of a geothermal power plant. The conventional method of heat transfer augmentation through fin-assisted area extension is compared with a metal foam-wrapped tube bundle. Both lead to heat-transfer enhancement, albeit at the expense of a higher pressure drop when compared to the bare tube bundle as our reference case. An optimal design is obtained through the use of a simplified analytical model and existing correlations by maximizing the heat transfer rate with a minimum pressure drop goal as the constraint. Sensitivity analysis was conducted to investigate the effect of sunroof diameter, as well as tube bundle layouts and tube spacing, on the overall performance of the system. Aiming to minimize the flow and thermal resistances for a SENDDCT, an optimum design is presented for an existing tower to be equipped with solar panels to afterheat the air leaving the heat exchanger bundles, which are arranged vertically around the tower skirt. Finally, correlations are proposed to predict the total pressure drop and heat transfer of the extended surfaces considered here.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited