Steam surface condensers are used in all steam cycle plants (nuclear, fossil and combined cycle) to condense the steam exhaust from the turbine ready for return to the boiler. The condenser generates a vacuum which increases the amount of energy extracted from the steam by the turbine. The condenser also serves as a low-pressure collection point for various vent and drain streams within the plant.
Depending on the type of plant and its location, the condenser may be either water-cooled or air-cooled. Although these two types perform the same function, the equipment involved is very different. Water-cooled condensers are relatively compact and can utilise a variety of water sources (sea water, river water etc.) to provide cooling. Air-cooled condensers are large structures which use fans to blow air over the heat transfer surface. Many modern plants use air-cooled condensers as water resources are usually limited by environmental controls.
Power Plant Engineering has extensive experience in the design, fabrication, operation and maintenance of steam surface condensers. Previous projects have included leak testing, advice on re-tubing, vacuum system analysis and turnaround inspections.