Retrofitting the combined-cycle producing electric power and desalted seawater to include district cooling in GCC

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Recent installed power plants (PP) in Qatar and other Gulf Co-operation Countries (GCC) are using combined cycle (CC). The CC cycle consists of gas turbine (GT), heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), and steam turbine (ST). In these plants, GTs produce electric power (EP) and its exhaust hot gasses operate the HRSG to generate steam. The steam is supplied to ST that generates more EP, and its extracted (or discharged) steam is directed to thermally operated desalting plant (DP), e.g. multi stage flash (MSF) or multi-effect thermal vapor compression (ME-TVC) producing desalted seawater (DW). A plant producing both EP and DW is called co-generation power desalting plant (CPDP). The used ST type is either extraction condensing steam turbine or back-pressure steam turbine. The MSF or ME-TVC consumes about 280 MJ/m3 thermal energy, besides pumping energy of 4 kWh/m3 for MSF or 2 kWh/m3 for ME-TVC systems. Because of high consumed energy, the MSF and ME-TVC systems have to be substituted by the much more energy-efficient seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalting system, which consumes 4–5 kWh/m3 only as pumping energy. Replacement of the MSF (or ME-TVC) with the SWRO system will ban the use of steam extracted (discharged) to the DP; the plants produce only EP, and become single-purpose PP. This reduces the plant overall efficiency unless major retrofitting is done by adding low pressure (LP) ST and condenser to expand the steam that was supplied to the DP in the turbine to produce more work. In this paper, it is suggested that the CPDP widely used in the GCC to become a tri-generation plant producing EP, DW (by SWRO), and chilled water for district cooling (DC). An analysis is presented for the newly suggested configuration. It showed that a reference plant can be fitted with SWRO to replace the DP of MSF or ME-TVC and gives almost the same DW production capacity for the identical consumed EP by the MSF units. The process heat that was supplied to the thermal desalting units would be utilized for DC system using an absorption cooling unit(s). Comparisons of absorption cooling with the EP driven mechanical vapor compression refrigeration; and SWRO with the MSF desalting systems are illustrated in this article. The benefits of using DC in the GCC are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2015



  • Co-generation power plant
  • District cooling
  • Seawater reverse osmosis
  • Tri-generation power plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering

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