In this study, the importance of power/water cogeneration plants as alternative and cost effective means of providing both water and power simultaneously has been discussed. It is generally believed that power/water cogeneration plants have the potential to drastically reduce the unit costs of freshwater and power. Consequently, a number of thermodynamic and thermo-economic investigations on power/water cogeneration plants have been discussed by many authors. While progress has been made in terms of thermodynamic design and efficiencies, the contribution of this study was to explore, investigate analyze and identify other substantial benefits that can be accrued by critically examining the operating performances and practices in installed capacity of power/water cogeneration plants. Since most of the operational practices are generally under the control of “utility management” in various plants, the discussions in this study will be helpful to plant operators, supervisors and utility managers.
It has been shown that potential for improving operating efficiencies exist in power/water cogeneration plants results in significant improvements in the production costs. The focus of the presented analysis was to establish reasonable efficiency frontiers for comparing the performance of power/water cogeneration plants with reference statistics. In this way, a given power/water cogeneration plant can be analyzed in order to evaluate and compare power generating and water production operating efficiencies. To this end, a case study of an existing power/water cogeneration plant has revealed that changing the way a plant is operated results in positioning plant operations towards best practice. This may lead to the realization of potential savings, and improvements in operating performances. The overall effects of positioning power/water production cogeneration towards best practice lies in the overall reduction of the unit costs of water and electricity.
However, this potential is subject to bulk local and/or regional power and water regulatory market valuations.