University of Colorado Researchers Aim at Thermoelectric Power Plants

August 26, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

A team at the University of Colorado Boulder has received a $3 million federal grant to develop technology to create low-cost supplemental cooling of thermoelectric power plants, according to the university.

Cooling is a complicated issue in thermoelectric power generation. Less than half of the energy produced by such facilities is used for power generation. The majority must be carried away by cooling systems. There are two approaches to this: Wet and dry. The majority of facilities use wet approaches because they are more efficient.

The University of Colorado research is aimed at developing cold storage modules and the RadiCold system that uses infrared thermal emission. The goal is to cool inexpensively and with lower amounts of water.

Reducing the amount of energy that in essence is wasted in thermoelectric power generation is a well known challenge. Last year, the Department of Energy released a report on the topic entitled  “The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities.”

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