The highly increasing competitiveness among the different centralized electricity generation technologies and the increasing concern on environmental issues, force all the available generation technologies to improve their efficiencies, reducing the primary energy consumption.
Most of the existing fossil power plants are based both in the Rankine Cycle technology or in the Combined Cycle technology. Both of them share the target of optimizing the total electrical output by increasing the efficiency of the steam turbine. Such efficiency basically is determined by the degree of vacuum you are able to reach in the condensing section. A properly designed vacuum surface condenser is of vital importance to obtain a high efficiency.
In a similiar way and in order to increase the thermal efficiency of the cycle, it is recommended to preheat the boiler feed water through efficient feed water heaters.
Recent trends point to the de-centralized energy generation as one of the key solutions to improve the overall energy efficiency of a country or region. Technologies such as Combined Heat and Power, CHP or co-generation, are widely used by many industries to satisfy their needs of electricity and heat in a very efficient way. District Heating is more and more used to provide heating and cool to municipalities and at the same time to produce electricity to be used by the community or to be sold to the network. The key element to determine the efficiency of these plants is the ability to recover the exhaust heat coming from the main driving equipment: gas turbines or combustion engines. The availability of efficient recovery systems are of vital importance to reach a high overall efficiency.