The gas-fired Ballylumford Power Station is located in Northern Ireland, approximately 25km north east of Belfast, providing around 9% of Ireland’s demand. The station discharges cooling water into a 10km long coastal inlet called Larne Lough.
Hydroplan was asked to model the thermal plume’s dissipation in the lough during very low tide to aid a marine ecology assessment. A site survey was conducted during the lowest tide cycle so that 2D &3D computer models could be constructed and calibrated to the recorded sea temperatures, tide levels and station discharges.
The 2D model used the SMS (Surface-Water Modelling System) program that accurately predicted the thermal plume’s distribution and dissipation over two full tide cycles. Wind speed, direction, base water and air temperature were incorporated into the model. The Ansys 3D model was used to model the near-field thermal distribution through the station’s discharge manifold.