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China plans first 1m kw air-cooling systems at plants
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China will be the first country to install million-kilowatt (kw) air-cooling systems in ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants, an official with the China Huadian Corp. said on Thursday.

China Huadian is a state-owned power generation company.

The cooling facilities, which were entirely domestically designed and built, will be part of the Huadian Lingwu power plant project, located in the northwestern coal-rich and arid Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

The project will have two ultra super-critical generating units of 1 million kw each, which will start up around 2011, said the official who asked not to be identified. No cost estimates were given.

Ultra super-critical thermal generation is a clean coal technology that relies on very high pressures and temperatures to achieve greater efficiency of fuel use. Because it is more efficient, there is less waste heat (the amount not converted to electricity), but still, almost half of the heat generated isn't converted.

Air-cooling saves huge amounts of water, a key consideration in such arid areas as Ningxia.

Using this cooling technique will save an estimated 70 percent of the water that would have been used in conventional water-cooled power units. In this case, it means 24 million tonnes of water annually, enough for the consumption of nearly 800,000 people for a year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2008)

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