Cooling team lands $2.5M in DOE help

Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab researchers have landed a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop ways to radically reduce the amount of water used to cool heating plants.

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Stony Brook mechanical engineering prof Jon Longtin

While the ultimate goal is zero net water dissipation into the atmosphere, getting there will also enable next-generation power plants to operate in deserts or other arid conditions. Such technology would also appease environmentalists who have long protested the water temperature changes and sea-life deaths attributed to current water intakes.

The local team, led by Stony Brook mechanical engineering professor Jon Longtin, is focusing on technology that condenses water vapor from combustion byproducts and recycles it for internal use. The technology is suited for coal, natural gas or combined-cycle power plants, Longtin said.

For their part, Brookhaven staffers said the project gives them the opportunity to explore thermal-fluid solutions, including loop-heat pipes and composite material heat transfer.

The $2.5 million is the fourth grant in six months, for a total of almost $6 million, from DOE’s Advanced Research in Dry cooling program, which is known as ARID.