SRI International and PPG Industries are integrating SRI’s proprietary Spectrally Tuned All-Polymer Technology for Inducing Cooling (STATIC) technology into a novel structure for use as a radiative cooling system that can provide supplemental cooling for power plant water during the daytime or nighttime. The two-layer polymer structure covers a pool holding power plant condenser discharge water. The cover prevents sunlight from penetrating it and warming the water, while allowing thermal energy to radiate to the sky, even during the day. The STATIC structure provides an insulating air gap to prevent conductive and convective heating, and both layers work in concert to reject solar energy. Specifically, the bottom layer acts as an emitter at the water temperature and radiates heat to the sky, while the top layer and key component, produced using STATIC technology, enables transmittance of the thermal radiation. The cooling power can achieve greater than 100 W/m2 without evaporation. All materials are inexpensive and amenable to scalable manufacturing techniques, which could lower the cost of the system.
If successful, SRI’s technology could provide power plant operators a low-cost way to supplement power plant cooling without consuming additional water resources.
The team’s supplemental dry-cooling technology can help power plants maintain energy efficiency when the use of water and wet-cooling systems is restricted.
The team’s system enables passive radiative cooling, eliminating the need for additional water or power inputs to cool power plant condenser water.
By applying low-cost manufacturing techniques, SRI estimates the structure could provide an economical means of supplemental cooling.