Optimization of Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant by Hybridization of Cooling System through Energy and Exergy Concept

Geothermal power plant loses large amounts of heat through heat rejection from the condenser.  Therefore, energy savings and subsequent improvement on the plant efficiency can be achieved by reducing this heat rejection from the condenser through reduction of both circulating water flow rate and cooling water temperature.  However, insufficient condenser cooling water may lead to a power limitation due to vacuum losses in the condenser.  Hence, there is a need to ensure optimum condenser pressure for best perfornance of a geothermal plant and improved efficiency of the geothermal cycle.  Operating the condenser at optimum vacuum presure is essential to ensure maximum efficiency, minimum exergy losses and operating cost of the plant.  This research proposal aims to study the effect of environmental conditions on power production.  The study will identify and assess methods for increasing efficiencies of a geothermal power plant to provide options for improving their economic and environmental pefromance.  It will focus on attaining an optimum condenser pressure in a geothermal power plant by varying the temperature of the cooling water entering the condenser.  Mathematical models of the plant subsystems will be developed based on mass, energy, entropy and exergy balances.  Codes for the models will be developed using Engineering Equation Solver software for simulation.  This will lead to obtaining the optimum condenser pressure for the plant.  The study is expected to contribute towards the development of a new concept of cooling system for not only geothermal power plants, but also other thermal power systems like Nuclear power plants.

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