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how does an air cooled condenser work spx dry cooling

How Does an Air Cooled Condenser Work?

An Air Cooled Condenser, or ACC in short, is a direct dry cooling system where steam is condensed inside air-cooled finned tubes. The heat is removed by cool ambient air flowing outside the fin tubes. In thermal power plants (T), the steam from the turbine exhaust flows to the ACC where condensation occurs and then the condensate returns to the boiler (B) in a closed loop. Since the steam coming from the turbine is at a low pressure, the ACC works at a pressure close to vacuum, and non-condensable gases (G) are removed continuously by an air evacuation unit.

process how does an air cooled condenser work

ACCs work well in water scarce areas

Air Cooled Condensers are used for thermal power plants like Combined Cycle, Concentrated Solar Plants, Coal, Biomass, and Waste to Energy. Since these kinds of power plants equipped with ACCs do not require a large volume of cooling water, the power plants can easily be built in a region where water may not available, where water usage is restricted by local regulation, or where water usage is expensive.

Building blocks of an Air Cooled Condenser

An Air Cooled Condenser is made up of modules that are arranged in parallel rows. Each module contains a number of fin tube bundles. An axial flow forces the cooling air across the heat exchange area of the fin tubes.

a-frame how does an air cooled condenser work

Different types of air cooled condensers exist from the classic A-Frame to SPX Dry Cooling’s unique solutions like the BoxAir ACC®, Hexacool®, ModuleAir® and W-Style ACC®.

The typical set-up for an ACC installation includes:

  • the supporting structure
  • the steam ducting from the steam turbine interface
  • heat exchangers, finned tubes, fans, motors, gearboxes, and auxiliaries such as the condensate and drain pumps
  • condensate and duct drain tanks,
  • the air evacuation units
  • related piping works and instrumentation

Still curious about ACCs? Have a look at our Air Cooled Condensers!



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