The use of a capacitive Thermal Storage Reservoir (TSR) initially filled with cold water as part of a dry cooling system for a central power station is attractive economically if the reservoir can be designed to operate in an approximate “plug-flow” mode—discharging cold water to the condenser and filling with hot water from the cooling tower. Such a system would avoid the loss of station capacity associated with dry cooling at high dry-bulb temperatures, and the economic penalties due to such losses when they are coincident with electrical demand peaks (as is common in the United States). The initial employment of this concept is most likely to occur in solar-powered thermal electric power stations in arid climates in view of the likely low thermal efficiency and limited cooling water access of such plants. Buoyant flow stratification hinders attaining this goal since it can cause “short circuiting” of the TSR. For adequate flow control, a long narrow reservoir configuration is desirable. In investigating the behavior of such a TSR experimentally, it was found over the range of cases examined that injection of water into a long narrow reservoir which is initially at a different temperature always results in a stratified flow superimposed upon the gross plug flow of the TSR, and it was found that acceptable performance could be obtained inexpensively by placing flow-constricting barriers at regular intervals along the reservoir length. Experimental investigation of barrier design and spacing has permitted definition of a practical prototype TSR design which provides approximately 87 percent of the thermal capacity of a plug flow TSR.

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