An air cooled condenser (ACC) is a direct dry cooling system where steam is condensed inside air-cooled finned tubes. The cool ambient air flow outside the finned tubes is what removes heat and defines the functionality of an ACC. In thermal power plants (T), the steam from the turbine exhaust flows into the ACC where condensation occurs. 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 a vacuum, and non-condensable gases (G) are removed continuously by an air evacuation unit.
Air cooled condensers are used for thermal power plants like combined cycle, concentrated solar, coal, biomass, and waste to energy. Since these kinds of power plants, which are 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 be available, or where its use is restricted or expensive.
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.
The typical set-up for an ACC installation includes:
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