New Technology Will Increase Power Plant Efficiency and Preserve Cooling Water Temperatures

Virginia Beach, August 12—A patent-pending technology developed by Vince Marshall, Chief Energy Engineer for Cherokee Energy, will significantly increase power plant efficiency and simultaneously reduce thermal pollution, he says. Marshall’s patent relies on a highly efficient technology to cool the steam, then collect and recycle the waste heat back into the power plant instead of releasing it into a river or lake.

The process will keep power plants online during peak demand times when operations frequently cease due to environmental and regulatory constraints. Going offline at such times can cost electric utilities millions of dollars. The advanced vapor compression process achieves more efficient energy production and lower pollution levels.

“My process uses a technology we call regenerative cooling. It captures waste heat that is currently being dumped into rivers from power plants. We then elevate the heat and recycle it right back into the same plant it came out of. Any plant equipped with this technology would use less fuel for the same electrical output. It also reduces stress on aquatic life and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.” Further, under Marshall’s design, power plants would no longer need to be located adjacent to water bodies, but could instead be placed wherever utility companies need power.

“This process uses cutting edge technology from several industries and applies it to power plants,” says Marshall, a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), who also holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and served 11 years active duty as a U.S. Navy Shipboard Engineer operating fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. “It addresses the multiple and often conflicting needs of commercial power plants to keep energy flowing during times when hot weather and environmental constraints require them to scale back energy production or go offline altogether.”

Modern power plants are constrained by the fact they require a plentiful source of cool water to reduce the temperature of steam, a by-product of electricity production. During periods of drought or extraordinary heat, the water source a power plant depends on is often scarce, or too warm to perform a cooling function.

“This technology is similar to the regenerative braking used in hybrid vehicles,” says Marshall. “In a hybrid vehicle, when you slow down, kinetic energy is captured and stored instead of being thrown away as heat. The captured energy is then used to help power the vehicle, using less fuel. Regenerative cooling applies a proven principle from other industries—vapor compression—and uses it for something it’s never been used for—cooling a power plant.”

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