The use of large, air-cooled condensers (ACC’s) for the cooling of turbine exhaust steam at steam/electric power plants is chosen more frequently as concerns over water conservation and water-related environmental issues become more prevalent. While dry cooling achieves significant reductions in plant water consumption, it does so at increased cost and reduced plant efficiency and output when compared to the more commonly used closed-cycle wet cooling systems. Maintaining full cooling capability under all operating conditions is crucial to the efficiency and economic viability of the plant. The effect of wind on ACC performance is the most significant challenge associated with ACC specification, design and performance. Extensive field measurements have been made on five utility-scale ACC’s to determine their operation and performance under varying wind conditions. The primary wind-related effects are shown to be hot air recirculation and degraded fan performance. The total effect on performance plus the relative importance of the two mechanisms are related to wind conditions and ACC configurations. Brief comparisons of field data to the results of CFD modeling are discussed.

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