This paper presents an assessment of heat injection as a means of improving natural draft cooling tower performance. The concept involves injecting heat into the cooling tower exit air/vapor stream immediately above the drift eliminators in order to increase the difference between the density of the exit air/vapor stream and the ambient air. The density difference between the air/vapor in the cooling tower stack and the ambient air is the engine that drives airflow through the cooling tower. The enhancement of the airflow through the cooling tower (the natural draft) results in more evaporation and thus lowers the circulating water temperature. Because the heat is injected above the drift eliminators, it does not heat the circulating water. To evaluate the cooling tower performance improvement as a function of heat injection rate, a thermal/aerodynamic computer model of Entergy’s White Bluff 1 & 2 and Independence 1 & 2 (approximately 840 MW each) natural draft cooling towers was developed. The computer model demonstrated that very substantial reductions in cold water temperature (up to 7°F) are obtainable by the injection of heat. This paper also discusses a number of possible heat sources. Sources of heat covered include extraction steam, auxiliary steam, boiler blow-down, and waste heat from a combustion turbine. The latter source of heat would create a combined cycle unit with the combination taking place in the condensing part of the cycle (bottom of the cycle) instead of the steam portion of the cycle (top of the cycle).

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