Elements or Components of Steam Condensing Plant [PDF]

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Last Updated on March 12, 2023 by Noaman Adenwala

Before discussing the components of a steam condensing plant let us first understand what is a steam condenser.

What is a Steam Condenser?

A steam condenser is a closed vessel where the heat exchange takes place. The gaseous substance condenses into a liquid substance and releases the latent heat to the atmosphere or cooling water which is circulated through the condenser.

Components of Condensing Plant:

A Condensing Plant consists of eight major elements, they are listed below:

  1. Condenser
  2. Air Extraction Pump
  3. Condensate Extraction Pump
  4. Cooling Water Circulating Pump
  5. Hot Well
  6. Cooling Tower
  7. Boiler Feed Pump
  8. Makeup Water Pump
steam condensing plant
Elements of a Steam Condensing Plant, Learn Mechanical


The condenser is nothing but a heat exchanger which is used to condensate the exhaust steam comes from the turbine. Within this vessel, steam loses heat as soon as it gets in touch with the cooling water (either directly or via small tubes). 

Generally inside of a condenser is maintained at negative vacuum pressure. As the steam comes from the turbine, it has low pressure to allow easier flow of steam into the condenser.

Air Extraction Pump:

The main function of the air-extraction fan is to maintain the vacuum pressure inside of the condenser. This pump is also called a dry pump.

The main objectives of this pump are as follows:

  • It helps to extract the air as well as any non-condensable gaseous substance, and maintain the vacuum.
  • It also prevents the air from blanketing over the condenser tubes otherwise heat transfer rate is decreased.
  • It also helps to reduce the quantity of oxygen in condensate to avoid corrosion.

Mostly, a centrifugal pump is used for this operation.

Condensate Extraction Pump:

Condensate extraction pump is used to remove the condensed steam i.e. water from the condenser, and supply to the hot well. Condensate Extraction Pump is a low-pressure pump. 

Cooling Water Circulating Pump:

Cooling water circulating pump helps to circulate the cooling water from cooling tower to condenser. Thus by using this pump the efficiency of the plant is increased.

Hot Well:

It is a tank which stores the condensate which comes from the condenser, and from here it is supplied to the boiler using a feedwater pump.

Cooling Tower:

A cooling tower is a heat rejection device or a heat exchanger in which water gets in contact with atmospheric air to reduce its (water) temperature. In this event, some portion of the water is vaporized and reduce the temperature of the water.

Boiler Feed Pump:

It is a pump which is used to supply the water from hot well to the boiler. 

Makeup Water Pump:

When the condensing plant comes into operation, it might face the deficiency of cooling water after some cycle as some portion of the water is vaporized, or carried out in the form of a droplet. To maintain the quantity of the cooling water in the process, makeup water needs to be added with the help of the makeup water pump, which delivers fresh water from a sump to the condensing plant.

According to Advantage Engineering, the maximum normal water makeup for a cooling tower system is 0.06 Gallons Per Minute / TON or about 2% of the nominal tower flow rate.

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