Power plant condensers
Worldwidely most electric power is produced by steam-driven power plants, which produce about 86% of all electric generation and nearlly all the power plants including coal, nuclear, geothermal, solar thermal and natural gas power plants have surface condensers cooled by water circulating through tubes. Its main functions are to condense the exhaust steam from the turbine and to maintain a low back pressure on the exhaust side of the steam turbine. In order to enhance the performance of the plants, it is necessary to increase the heat transfer between the steam and the coolant flowing in the condenser. Previous studies have shown that surface wetting modification with dropwise condensation leads to one order of magnitude higher performance compared to filmwise condensation due to its efficient water removal characteristics. Recently, researchers have focused on the ultra-low adhesion superhydrophobic surfaces with coalescence induced droplet jumping. This surfaces have been shown to further enhance heat transfer by up to 30% when compared to dropwise condensation.
MEL studies condensation heat transfer of various hydrophobic and superhydrophobic surfaces, and develops advanced surfaces for enhancing condenser performance.