The water cost effect of hybrid-parallel condensing systems in the thermo-economical performance of solar tower plants Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2022

start page

  • 117801-1

end page

  • 117801-21


  • 202

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1359-4311

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5606


  • The importance of considering the water price in the analysis of the impact of dry versus hybrid condensing systems in the thermo economical performance of solar tower plants was demonstrated in this work. The dry condensing system consists of several induced-draft air-cooled condenser cells (ACCs) and the hybrid system consists of a parallel system where the condensing steam is split between the ACCs and a surface steam condenser where circulating water is cooled in a wet mechanical-draft cooling tower. The influence of the operating parameters of either the dry or wet cooling systems on the cooling load and fan power consumption were studied. Then, for a given condensing system (a system with a defined number of installed ACCs units and cooling tower units) and given the dry-air and wet-bulb air temperatures, the operating parameters were optimized to maximize the revenues of the power plant. This optimization depends on the water-to-electricity price ratio 𝑅, showing that at low ambient temperature when this ratio increases it is not profitable to turn on the cooling towers since the water cost is not counterbalanced by the higher cycle efficiency obtained with the lower condensation temperature. Finally, the annual operation and the LCOE and NPV of the CSP plant located in Dunhuang were analyzed for both dry and hybrid condensing systems with different number of ACCs and wet towers, showing that the most cost-effective configuration is the 16 ACCs with 3 wet cooling towers for water-to-electricity price ratio 𝑅 = 4 ($/m3)/($/kWhe) and 𝑅 = 5 ($/m3)/($/kWhe), but for 𝑅 = 10($/m3)/($/kWhe), the best option is with only 2 wet towers.


  • hybrid condensing system; water consumption; air-cooled condenser; wet cooling tower; concentrating solar energy