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Remote technology sees through ice, snow and hot air to monitor power plants
Date:9/10/2008

y to modeling and predicting power levelsare blocked from view. A small melt hole is the only observable clue for scientists to study.

"The research on this project is about how ice acts as an insulator and to determine how much energy is kept inside the lake because there's an ice layer over it," Salvaggio says. "The size of the melted hole is our only observable, so we have to be able to figure out from that what the power levels are."

Once a week, starting in November and running through April, a small plane will fly overhead in Midland taking images of the frozen lake. The scientists will use thermal infrared imagery to determine the temperature of the discharged hot water and passive microwave remote sensingwhich has a longer wavelength than infraredto determine the thickness of the insulating snow and ice layer and to estimate its insulating capacity.

Salvaggio, Arsenovic and Alex Long, a high-school intern from Bloomfield, N.Y., will use three different technologies to measure ice thickness on the ground to determine how accurately their airborne techniques are working. They will explore ultrasound; temperature profiles of ice, water and air at fine spatial increments; and, using a blue LED/photodiode combination, measure the loss in brightness from the LED through the ice, water and air at many different points throughout these layers.

Measuring Hot Air

Cooling towers take the place of lakes at power-generating facilities built in locations without easy access to bodies of water. These towers function as radiators to cool off condensers, using fans to create a mechanical draft pushing the warm air upward. Salvaggio and his team are trying to measure the temperature of the hot air released from the tower.

"This is a trickier problem because we're trying to see hot air, and you can't see hot air," Salvaggio notes.

Salvaggio and his team will infer power production based on surface temperat
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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