Research Center Dedicated to Power Plant Water Use Opens

The Electric Power Research Institute and several partners—including the Southern Research Institute, Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power, and Southern Research—are testing a new technology that could reduce the amount of water needed for power plant cooling. The work is taking place at the new Water Research Center (WRC) at Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Ga.—a novel facility dedicated to developing and testing technologies to reduce power plant water withdrawals and consumption.

4. Testing the water. The newly opened Water Research Center at Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Ga., will develop and test technologies to reduce power plant water withdrawals and consumption. This image shows Johnson Controls’ thermosyphon cooler, which is the first project to become operational at the center. Courtesy: Georgia Power

The partners are evaluating a new thermosyphon cooler technology developed by Johnson Controls (Figure 4). According to the Wisconsin-based firm, the technology transfers heat to the environment without evaporative water loss by using an air-cooled refrigerant that pre-cools water before it enters the cooling tower. The thermosyphon cooler also reduces the amount of water that must be cooled by evaporation in the cooling tower, thus reducing water consumption. The year-long testing at the WRC will document the technology’s water-saving potential and energy consumption characteristics, developers say.

The WRC will have seven distinct focus areas: moisture recovery; cooling tower and advanced cooling systems; zero liquid discharge; low-volume wastewater treatment; solid landfill water management; carbon technology water issues; and water modeling, monitoring, and best management practices.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.