Metal foam heat exchanger for dry cooling

Metal foams fall at final hurdle. The use of metal foams to enhance heat exchange and dry cooling for power generation application did not deliver to its performance expectations. Although foams showed a 75% improvement in heat transfer over conventional systems used for air cooling, this comes at a cost of very much increased pressure drop. It was found that even at quite low air flows, the pressure drop is several times higher. Since parasitic power consumption (to provide the cooling air flow) is a significant consideration for air large cooled heat exchangers, this trade-off is so unfavourable to metal foam systems that they become unsuitable for these applications. As a result of this project was terminated at the appropriate stage-gate.

Organisation 
Australian National Low Emissions Coal Research & Development (ANLEC R&D)
Topics 
Energy efficiency

Metal foams fall at final hurdle. The use of metal foams to enhance heat exchange and dry cooling for power generation application did not deliver to its performance expectations. Although foams showed a 75% improvement in heat transfer over conventional systems used for air cooling, this comes at a cost of very much increased pressure drop. It was found that even at quite low air flows, the pressure drop is several times higher. Since parasitic power consumption (to provide the cooling air flow) is a significant consideration for air large cooled heat exchangers, this trade-off is so unfavourable to metal foam systems that they become unsuitable for these applications. As a result of this project was terminated at the appropriate stage-gate.

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