Rivers Act as “Horizontal Cooling Towers” for Thermoelectric Power Plants

Rivers Act as “Horizontal Cooling Towers” for Thermoelectric Power Plants

Apr 30, 2013

Running two computer models in tandem, UNH scientists have detailed for the first time how thermoelectric power plants interact with climate, hydrology, and aquatic ecosystems throughout the northeastern U.S. and show how rivers serve as “horizontal cooling towers” that provide an important ecosystem service to the regional electricity sector — but at a cost to the environment.

Lead authors of the study Robert Stewart, of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), and Wilfred Wollheim, of the department of natural resources and environment and EOS, worked with colleagues from the City College of New York (CCNY) to conduct the analysis.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Earth System Modeling Program and NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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