Condensers are used in power plants to recycle exhaust steam for thermoelectric heating, but they also are relied on to maximize turbine efficiency by maintaining a proper vacuum. Effective leak detection is needed to ensure that vacuum leaks do not occur.
Ninety percent of the power plants in the United States are fueled by coal, nuclear materials, natural gas and oil. These thermoelectric plants use the different types of fuel to boil water and create steam that turns the turbines to generate the electricity. Once the steam has passed through the turbine, it must be cooled back into water for reuse by the condenser. The exhaust steam from the turbine is condensed back into water by transferring the heat to the condenser coolant, typically cold water. A common condenser is the surface condenser, which also is called a water-cooled, shell-and-tube heat exchanger.