Why do power stations throw away heat?

I was asked online recently why is it that large (coal or gas) power stations have those big plumes of water vapour coming from their cooling towers. It seems like a big waste - why burn fuel if you’re just going to throw away all that heat?

In this video I explain why it’s necessary for thermal power stations to get rid of waste heat. This has implications for any any system that uses fuels to make mechanical energy or electricity.

About David T Kearns

I'm an independent professional working in energy, carbon, sustainability and machine learning