Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mathias, James


The focus of this project is the performance of an energy and exergy audit on a 173 MW pulverized coal fired, subcritical steam power plant unit in the Midwestern United States. Thermal efficiency is good for measuring the overall energy conversion capability of a process but it does not account for the entropy generation which occurs in real-world processes. This is where exergy analysis can be used to identify the greatest sources of loss due to the system’s irreversibilities, an unavoidable consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. The goal of this study is the calculation and mapping of energy and exergy cycle performance characteristics as well as the amounts of exergy destroyed throughout the process in the various components. With the magnitudes of the losses and their sources identified, mitigation options are compiled. The overall cycle energetic and exergetic efficiencies were found to be 32.8% and 33.7%, respectively. These values fall within the normal range expected for plants of this size and type. The largest source of exergy destruction in the cycle was found to be within the steam generator.




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