On Aug. 14, 2003, the power grid failure that left the northeastern United States in darkness surprised a country unaccustomed to interrupted electricity.
Expectations of a plentiful energy supply in the United States contrast dramatically to the situation in some developing countries that limit public use of electricity to a few hours a day. Monitoring the amount of power produced by some of these countries is a U.S. national concern.
The U.S. Department of Energy is funding the development of technology that will aid in the remote observation of power plants to gauge the actual amount of energy produced. The DOE has awarded Rochester Institute of Technology a total of $1.4 million on two related projects to perfect the detection of observable "signatures" at power plants. The studies will focus on power plants that cool their condensers by extracting water from cooling lakes that have frozen and another more conventional method using fans in locations where a body of water is not readily accessible. Carl Salvaggio, associate professor in RIT's Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and two of his graduate students are solving these complex puzzles for the DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory.
Seeing through Ice and Snow: This winter, Salvaggio, graduate student May Arsenovic, and a team of research faculty and staff members will study the frozen cooling lake at a traditional gas-powered plant in Midland, Mich. It's the only cooling lake in the United States large enough to freeze because it was originally created for a nuclear facility never built.
Infrared sensors flown overhead can detect and "read" hot water plumes discharged into cooling lakes. Salvaggio's colleagues at the Savannah River National Laboratory already can predict a power plant's energy production by the turbulent underwater mixings of hot and cold water. But cover the lake with ice and the physical properties behind the thermal distributionke
|Contact: Susan Gawlowicz|
Rochester Institute of Technology