Energy resource conservation in new large power plants Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2j62s862p

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  • This thesis evaluates new, large power generating plants of the various types expected to be practicable in the time span of the next 50 years. By using thermodynamic principles, the plants are evaluated on the basis of conservation of energy; the basic assumption is that the best policy is the one that conserves available resources. On this basis and excluding other factors such as environmental or social acceptance, the leading candidate is the plant that makes the most efficient use of all resources to produce a unit of beneficial energy. This thesis emphasizes those resources that will be in abundant supply during the next 50 years. Resources used in this comparison are solar energy, coal, nuclear fission, and possible use of organic wastes. Three applications of energy are studied: work energy, thermal energy, and hydrogen production. The first law energy trajectory technique was found to be the soundest means of evaluating power producing plants. Simply defined, an energy trajectory is the energy system from the resource energy in nature through the use of energy by man. The energy-trajectory efficiency is determined by the energy beneficially used divided by the resource energy required to produce the end-use energy. Each energy trajectory is further broken down into handling or processing steps, called nodes; nodal efficiencies are gathered from the literature. A power plant is only one node of a trajectory. From a total of 90 energy trajectories studied, the most efficient plants from an energy conservation standpoint were found to be: For work energy applications, coal and nuclear thermal-cycle electric plants; For thermal energy applications, coal and organic waste plants (for example straw) fired directly; For hydrogen production, coal and organic waste plants utilizing an open cycle process. It was further concluded that the energy trajectories which include hydrogen or other synthetic fuels are not as efficient as alternate, more direct, energy trajectories. Solar energy was found to be competitive only for thermal applications and then only when little or no energy storage is required. The technique used in this thesis provides an adequate basis of evaluation if the policy for large power conversion systems is to conserve energy resources. In addition, the technique could be modified to compare energy trajectories that are weighted for preferred resource use.
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