How will this work? Well currently, power plants are operating at about 40% efficiency while the remainder of the energy is converted to low-grade waste heat that must be removed to maintain the plant’s efficiency. Most power plants use water from nearby rivers, lakes, or the ocean for cooling. The water may pass directly through tubes inside the plant's steam condenser, and then be returned, warmer, to the original source, or it may be cooled by allowing some evaporation in a cooling tower so as to carry off the heat in water vapor. You know that smoke you see rising out of power plant towers? That’s not smoke at all—it’s evaporated water.
And in areas with limited water or under drought conditions, dry-cooling systems use air to remove heat from the plant's condenser so as to condense the steam inside. However, present dry-cooling technology reduces the power plant's efficiency and requires costly equipment.
Manglik explains, “Just look at Lake Mead, it has been losing water for over a decade and is currently at about 40% capacity. With water supplies becoming increasingly strained in many areas, especially in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, economical dry-cooling approaches that do not reduce the efficiency of power plans are critically needed. Innovative methods are needed to allow cooling below the daytime ambient air temperature and improve heat exchange between air and the plant's recirculating condenser water will provide the keys to ensuring the continued efficiency of power generation while decreasing the burden on water supplies.”