Air pollution can have detrimental effects on gas turbine performance leading to blade fouling, which reduces power output and requires frequent cleanings. This issue is a fairly well-known phenomenon in the power industry. However, site selection for gas turbine installation on the basis of air quality is rarely part of the decision-making process, mainly due to lack of geographical options especially in an urban environment or perhaps due to a simple assumption that air quality at a local micro-level has no impact on the performance of the engine. In this paper, we perform a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study on an area surrounding a combined heat and power (CHP) facility to assess the impact of local wind distribution on air quality and the performance of a gas turbine engine. Several aerodynamic properties are suggested as possible indicators of air quality and/or high airborne particulate concentration. These indicators are then compared to data collected at various points in and around the site. The results suggest that through post-processing of a simplified CFD simulation analyzing the adjacent terrain, a continuous map of field variables can be obtained and help designers locate future CHP or gas turbine power plants in regions of lower particulate concentrations. This, in turn, would greatly increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the proposed power plant.

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