There is an urgent interest today in controlling the environmental pollution that is a by-product of electric power generation. Thermal pollution—the rejection of waste heat into rivers and coastal waters used to cool both fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants—is a form of ecological disruption that can be reduced through the use of air-cooled condensing systems. Moreover, plants making use of this method need not be located adjacent to large bodies of water, requiring in many cases that wide swaths be cut through forests to accommodate overhead transmission lines—such plants can be located nearer load areas. The technology for building air-cooled condensing systems is now available and is thoroughly reviewed in this book. It is mainly economic considerations that have prevented their coming into wider use; it has been the belief that the benefits of these systems could be obtained only by paying the price of high capital costs and increased fuel consumption.
One of the most important aspects of this book is that it demonstrates that this need not be the case. The author does not treat air-cooled condensers piecemeal, as isolated units meant to be simply plugged into power plants designed along traditional lines. Instead, he examines power plants from a systems planning point of view, and air-cooled equipment is included from the outset of design as an integral component of the system. As a result, he suggests that such plants—properly designed for a specific sector of the power generation spectrum (the so-called midrange and cycling sectors) with power cycle arrangements carefully assessed, and with plant optimization procedures in effect—can offer overall economies.
The book is included in the series Monographs in Modern Electrical Technology, edited by Alexander Kusko.