The use of air-cooled steam condensers (ACSCs) is preferred in the chemical and power industry due to their ability to adhere to stringent environmental and water use regulations. ACSC performance is, however, highly dependent on the prevailing wind conditions. Research has shown that the presence of wind reduces the performance of ACSCs. It has been found that cross-winds (wind perpendicular to the longest side of the ACSC) cause distorted inlet flow conditions, particularly at the upstream peripheral fans near the symmetry plane of the ACSC. These fans are subjected to what is referred to as “two-dimensional” wind conditions, which are characterized by flow separation on the upstream edge of the fan inlets. Experimental investigations into inlet flow distortion have simulated these conditions by varying the fan platform height. Low platform heights resulted in higher levels of inlet flow distortion, as also found to exist with high cross-wind velocities. The similarity between platform height and cross-wind velocity is investigated in this study by conducting experimental and numerical investigations into the effect of distorted inlet flow conditions on the performance of various fan configurations (representative of configurations used in the South-African power industry). A correlation between system volumetric effectiveness, platform height, and cross-wind velocity is derived which provides a means to compare platform height and cross-wind velocity effects.

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