International Scientific Journal


A thermal power plant (TPP) uses large amounts of fresh water, mostly for cooling purposes. Among different types of cooling systems, once-through cooling is the most water-intensive and has the greatest environmental impacts. From the view-point of the steam cycle efficiency, this type of cooling still provides the most efficient electricity production, and therefore is widely used. Water is withdrawn from nearby water bodies, absorbs heat from the steam in a condenser, and then discharged back to its original source at higher temperatures causing severe environmental impacts, including fish killing, disturbing ecosystems, and heating-up natural water bodies. The total installed capacity of almost 1100 MW on the right bank of the Danube in Serbia threatens the ecosystem of this large international river due to thermal pollution. This problem will be even more pronounced in the near future, due to an inevitable increase in production capacity for new 350 MW, currently under construction. Herein, analysis of the legal framework for the protection of water from thermal pollution as well as analysis of the actual situation on the site of the TPP "Kostolac" in Serbia are presented. Based on meteorological and hydrological parameters, configuration and operation parameters of the plant, the numerical simulation of the condenser was carried on. The temperature of the water leaving condenser and amount of heat discharged back to the river are obtained. According to those results, the analysis of the existing thermal pollution of the Danube River in the flow through Serbia is given by numerical simulation using software ANSYS CFX. Analysis of thermal discharge into the Danube for the five-year period has been carried out. The cooling water effluent causes a temperature increase in the area of the right bank of the Danube, and this thermal disturbance extends along the right river bank for kilometers. Note that the flow rate of the Danube is currently large enough to compensate this thermal disturbance, but for a smaller river and/or larger electricity production capacities, this influence would have even more significant consequences on the ecosystem, making those results even more useful for further analysis.
PAPER REVISED: 2018-05-09
PAPER ACCEPTED: 2018-05-11
CITATION EXPORT: view in browser or download as text file
THERMAL SCIENCE YEAR 2018, VOLUME 22, ISSUE Supplement 5, PAGES [S1323 - S1336]
  1. ***, Environmental Protection Agency, Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category, Federal Register Vol. 80, No. 212,
  2. Milutinović, B., et al., The Effect of Environmental Indicators on the Waste Treatment Scenarios Rank-ing, Facta Universitatis Series: Mechanical Engineering, 13 (2015), 2, pp. 155-167
  3. Mielke, E., et al., Water Consumption of Energy Resource Extraction, Processing, and Conversion, A Re-view of the Literature for Estimates of Water Intensity of Energy-Resource Extraction, Processing to Fuels, and Conversion to Electricity, Energy Technology Innovation Policy Discussion, Paper No. 2010-15, Bel-fer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, 2010
  4. Langford, T. E., Ecological Effects of Thermal Discharges, Elsevier Applied Science, New York, USA, pp. 1-6, 1990
  5. Bilge, A. N. et al., Energy Systems and Management, Springer Proceedings in Energy, Springer Interna-tional Publishing, Basel, Switzerland, 2015
  6. Laković, M., et al., Analysis of the Evaporative Towers Cooling System of a Coal-Fired Power Plant, Thermal Science, 16 (2012), Suppl. 2, pp S375-S385
  7. ***, Water in the energy sector - Reducing freshwater use in hydraulic fracturing and thermoelectric power plant cooling, GAO-15-545, United States Government Accountability Office Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering, Technology Assessment, Washington DC, 2015
  8. Raptis, C., et al., Global Thermal Pollution of Rivers from Thermoelectric Power Plants, Environ. Res. Lett., 11 (2016), ID 104011
  9. Madden, N., et al., Thermal Effluent from the Power Sector: an Analysis of Once-Through Cooling Sys-tem Impacts on Surface Water Temperature, Environment Research Letter, 8 (2013), ID 035006
  10. ***, Directive 2006/44/EC of the European Parliament, 2006
  11. Chao, Z., et al., Revealing Water Stress by the Thermal Power Industry in China Based on a High Spatial Resolution Water Withdrawal and Consumption Inventory, Environ. Sci. Technol., 50 (2016), 4, pp 1642-1652
  12. Caissie, D., The Thermal Regime of Rivers: A Review, Freshwater Biology, 51 (2006), 8, pp. 1389-1406
  13. ***, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Low Dissolved Oxygen in Water Causes, Impact on Aquatic Life - An Overview, Water Quality/Impaired Waters 3.24, 2009
  14. ***,
  15. ***,
  16. ***,, Energy & Industry group, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Manage-ment, TU Delft, Delft, The Netherlands
  17. ***, International Commission for The Protection of The Danube River, Convention on Cooperation for the Protection and Sustainable use of the Danube River (Danube River Protection Convention) 1994,
  18. Zweimueller, I., Temperature Increase in the Austrian Danube - Causes and Consequences, Geophysical Research Abstracts, 9 (2007), ID 11359
  19. Bonacci, O., et al., Analysis of the Water Temperature Regime of the Danube and its Tributaries in Cro-atia, Hydrol. Process., 22 (2008), 7, pp. 1014-1021
  20. ***, (in Serbian)
  21. Laković, M., et al.: Coal-Fired Power Plant Power Output Variation due to Local Weather Conditions, Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, 34 (2012), 23, pp. 2164-2177
  22. Laković, M., et al., Impact of the Cold-End Operating Conditions on Energy Efficiency of the Steam Power Plants, Thermal Science, 14 (2010), Suppl., pp. S53-S66
  23. El-Wakil, M. M., Power Plant Technology, McGraw-Hill Company Inc., London, 1980
  24. Westin, J., et al., Experiments and Unsteady CFD Calculations of Thermal Mixing in a T-Junction, CFD4NRS, Garching, Germany, 2006
  25. Cai, J., Watanabe, T., Numerical Simulation of Thermal Stratification in Cold Legs by Using Open-FOAM, Progress in Nuclear Science and Technology, 12 (2011), 2, pp. 107-113
  26. Bogdanović-Jovanović, J., et al., Numerical Simulations of Fluid Flow in the Intersection of the Power Plant Waste Heat Discharge Channel and the River, Proceedings, Power Plants 2016, Zlatibor, Serbia, ID E2016-051
  27. Frezinger, J. H., Perić, M., Computational Methods for Fluid Dynamics, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2002
  28. Wilkox, D. C., Turbulence Modeling for CFD, DCW Industries, Inc., La Canada Flintrige, Cal., USA, 1994.

© 2019 Society of Thermal Engineers of Serbia. Published by the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International licence