Thursday/ one-of-a-kind ‘shipment’

Is this from Russia?* IMG_6059 sminquired the postman as he handed me a heavy package .. no, no – South Africa – I replied, recognizing the book I had shipped (that is, put on a ship) to Seattle when I was in South Africa in April.

It’s a one-of-a-kind book: about a heat transfer experiment that I had documented as a student (dare i say it? the year was 1983).

The experiment was about measuring heat transfer with a laboratory model set up to simulate the conditions found in a dry-cooled power stations.   At the time, South Africa’s electric utility was constructing the world’s largest dry-cooled power station.  The name of it is Matimba, and it has with six 665 MW turbo-generator units. Yes, it is coal-fired, but at least it is using way, way less water than a traditional power station with vast amounts of water that is evaporated to cool it down before it is heated up again in the boilers. (These cooling systems have lower efficiency and higher energy consumption, though – to drive cooling fans, compared to a typical wet, evaporative cooling tower).   

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Here’s the set up in the laboratory. Air is drawn in on the left, and flows over a set of finned cooling tubes filled with hot water. The pressure drop of the air, and the temperature drop of the water is then measured and recorded.
Here’s a blueprint of the Matimba power station, with the closed-circuit finned tubes that are used for cooling the circulating water.

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