On-Demand Sweating-Boosted Air Cooled Heat-Pipe Condensers


Reference #: 01198

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for On-Demand Sweating-Boosted Air Cooled Heat-Pipe Condensers



AS part of initiates for the development of a green economy, the U.S. federal government requires 2% annual reduction of water use for industrial, domestic, commercial, and agricultural applications, which imposes challenges to power industries that accounted for 41% of total freshwater withdrawals and consumed approximately 143,000 million gallons freshwater per day in 2005. Air cooled condensers (ACC) can drastically reduce water use, but have up to 10% power production penalty. Air is also a poor heat transfer fluid compared to water used in water cooled condensers (WCC). Against this background, it has become necessary to develop highly efficient and compact heat pipe-cored condensers with durable dropwise condensation. This reduces the size and hence footprint and capital cost of ACC, thereby drastically enhancing air cooling rate and reducing the need for water as a coolant to lessonly 33% than that of the-state-of-the-practice cooling tower technology.


Invention Description:

The subject invention is a highly efficient, cost effective condenser that reduces the need for large volumes of coolant water through bio-mimicry of the primary mechanism of heat dissipation in mammals during physical exercise. To meet the cooling objectives of the technology, three key heat transfer processes were optimized. A number of structural innovations like water cooling loops were introduced to improve system robustness and stabilize turbine backpressure in extreme temperature conditions.


Potential Applications:

1.       This dry cooling technology is a cost-effective and energy-efficient solution to replace current water cooling tower for power plants without sacrificing electricity generation efficiency.

2.1.       Can be used to significantly improve HAVC and refrigerator efficiency by reducing the largest thermal resistance from the air side.

2.       Could be one of the most suitable solutions to retrofit the popular “Once-through cooling (OTC)” since they share similar architecture.

3.       Can be used to significantly improve HAVC and refrigerator efficiency by reducing the largest thermal resistance from the air side.

3.4.       Can be used for thermal management of high power devices.


Advantages and Benefits:

1.       Achieves significantly high overall heat transfer coefficient (HTC) and hence enables a drastic reduction of the ACC footprint (~ 52%) and potential capital cost (up to 67%). The water use is only 33% that of cooling tower technology.

2.       Significantly reduces the exhaust pressure of steam turbine and hence effectively manages the power production penalty compared to current ACC.

2.3.       Can achieve similar cooling performance compared to that of single-phase cooling plates without using complicated and costly liquid loops.


Components have been built and tested. Their performances exceed designed values. More importantly, chemically and mechanically robust coatings have been developed and tested to enable the efficient sweating cooling in the airside for long term operations in real working environment. The next step is to build a lab-scale prototype to demonstrate the concept.


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Chen Li
Jamil Khan
Xinyu Huang
Tanvir Farouk
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