Current cooling tower technology is inefficient in terms of both energy consumption and costs. In thermal power plants, steam is used to generate electricity. By maximizing cooling capacity, less steam is required to produce a given amount of electricity, thus lowering power plant fuel requirements and reducing operating costs. Normally, the only means to increase cooling capacity is to increase the size of the Cooling Tower by adding cells. However, this in turn adds operating costs in the form of increased electricity and requires significant capital investment. Due to these constraints, it is often the case that the cooling towers are under-sized, and thus generate far from optimum supply water temperature. Therefore, most power plants inherently do not operate at optimum efficiency, particularly in the warmer summer months when cooling water temperature is highest. Additionally, most cooling towers use a significant amount of electricity by relying on large motors to generate airflow used to cool the circulating water. This is because the flow of water required to condense steam is significantly high, and the pressure of the water must be sufficiently high enough to circulate this high water flow through the plant’s condenser and up to the top of the cooling tower, which is normally an elevation of 30 feet or higher. Motors, often operating in excess of 1000 HP, are used to drive multiple pumps, which flow the cooling water from the cooling tower basin through the plant, and back, to the top of the cooling tower.
GCT technology is significantly beneficial to a power plant´s ability to produce maximum electricity at minimum fuel usage, directly reducing carbon footprint. In addition to establishing a lower cost of operation in the peak power usage periods of summer months, power plants will also be able to export more power to the grid. This in turn will give plants more pricing power in unregulated markets and reduce consumer pricing in regulated markets. The net result is an increase in plants’ profits through reduced costs and increased output capability, while costs to the consumer will decrease. The most significant benefit, however, may be the technology’s contribution to sustainable energy policy and minimizing the impact on the environment as less fossil fuels may be used to produce the same amount of electricity prior to implementing the GCT.