Project Synopsis

Develop conceptual process design information for a challenging cooling water system in support of a fusion energy research program.

Project Summary


The client, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to perform conceptual process designs for the Material-Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX) cooling water system.  MPEX is an experimental plasma system designed to test and develop materials that will be used for parts and components that will be exposed to plasma in fusion energy devices.  MPEX includes a number of technical components that require active cooling.

Specific tasks for this project included:

  • Generation of a design basis that included pressure drop, heat load, heat flux, flow, and temperature requirements for the components.
  • Analysis of alternative cooling technologies for the complex geometries involved with the technical components, and recommendation of the technology to use for each component based on its unique heat load, geometry, heat flux, and required heat transfer coefficient.
  • Assessment of existing cooling tower and secondary closed loop cooling water system to determine their suitability for use with MPEX.
  • Provision of recommendations for water chemistry, design, operation, and maintenance requirements to minimize corrosion of the stainless steel and copper technical components and piping systems in a high purity water environment.
  • Arrangement of MPEX components into proposed cooling circuits.  The cooling system is divided into a medium pressure and a high pressure loop based on the characteristics of the technical components.  The cooling arrangement was shown on a system diagram that included the cooling tower, pumps, secondary closed loop sub-systems with associated technical components, and the instrumentation recommended for proper operation, monitoring, and diagnosis of system and individual component health.
  • Preparation of a summary report of the cooling technology recommendations and cooling water chemistry recommendations.
  • Preparation of the cooling water portion of the project conceptual design report, including discussion of the general approach to cooling the system and its components, the design basis, cooling technologies to be employed for the various components and their rationale, system diagram, and water chemistry requirements.

Industry Type

  • Nuclear Energy Research Facilities

Utilized Skills

  • Utilities systems design
  • Hydraulic and heat transfer modeling
  • Unique cooling system process alternatives evaluations
  • Research facility cooling water system process design

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