Plant Cooling Water Systems

Thermoelectric power plants provide approximately 90% of the electricity in the United States. Whether nuclear, coal, natural gas or oil based, they all generate electricity through the continuous rotation of turbines using steam that is created from boiling water. The energy for boiling the water comes from the burning of fuels or through nuclear reactions. The steam, once it has passed through a turbine, is cooled back into water for recycling for the continued production of electricity. Efficient electricity generation is promoted by cooling the steam with colder water.

Cenk_Endustri_Field_Erected_Industrial_Cooling_Tower_croppedTypes of Cooling Systems in Thermoelectric Power Generation Plants – There are two main types of cooling systems employed inside power plants – Once-Through Systems, and Wet-Recirculating /Closed Loop Systems. Once-Through systems use rivers, lakes or oceans as their cooling-water source, circulating the water through pipes to absorb heat from the steam in condensers, and then disposing of the warmer water.

A Closed-Loop Recirculating System, instead of disposing of the cooling water after one-pass, reuses it in a second cycle.Cooling towers are used to expose the once-circulated cooling water to ambient air which causes some of the water to evaporate. The remaining water is sent back to the condenser inside the plant.

Recirculating systems account for almost 60% of cooling systems in power plants in the United States.

Solutions with Steel Pipe – Large diameter steel pipes have been used for many decades both in North America and worldwide to construct recirculating water pipeline systems, above-grade cooling lines, risers to cooling towers, make-up water pipelines as well as discharge pipelines in nuclear and other types of power plants. Today, Northwest Pipe continues its long tradition of service to the power generation industry by offering a larger selection of product options than any alternative product. This enables customers to meet the most demanding design criteria economically and efficiently.

Steel water pipe has a superior performance history compared to other products, such as prestressed concrete cylinder pipes (PCCP) which have prematurely failed nationwide. Due to steel pipe’s superior strength and high working pressures, you never have to worry valuable production time will be interrupted by catastrophic failures of your system. Partnering with Northwest Pipe ensures a safe, long-lasting pipeline to supply your water needs. We work with Owners and Engineers to recommend a pressure class design ideally suited for the job’s specific application requirements in diameters up to 156 inches.   

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