I know this depends on some factors, and I can only think of these: the inlet steam's temperature and pressure. If there are more factors then please do tell me.

What is the maximum figure in liters for water that is needed per kWh of electricity generated by solar CSP? Figures on the internet go from a mere 4 liters to 70 liters for every kWh generated? What's right and what's wrong?

Note: I am only considering water for steam, NOT for cooling.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ If it is recirculated, which is common, then what does it matter? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    May 4 at 14:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As SM said, the water in the turbine loop is recycled through condensers and carefully conditioned. A quick search shows some of the water consumption comes from washing the mirrors, not the actual steam loop. $\endgroup$
    – BobT
    May 4 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ normal saturated steam enthalpy is fairly constant at normal temps and pressures (1200 btu/lb in freedom units). Then it's just conversions and and an estimate for efficiency. $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    May 5 at 1:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Steam turbines do not consume any steam, steam passes through is condensed and goes back to the boiler for reuse. Condensing may use cooling towers which produce steam columns/clouds ; This is NOT the water that was steam , $\endgroup$ Jun 3 at 20:52

You are right, it takes 3 to 4.2 tons of steam to generate one MWh of electricity with a steam generator with typical pressures and temperatures. Meaning 3 to 4 liters as you noted per kWh.

However, it takes 15 to 20 times more to cool the plant in the cooling tower.

This is the Quora link from a power plant expert


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