An important measure of condenser performance in a steam power cycle is the overall cost penalty associated with operating a fouled or leaking condenser. Two main difficulties exist in obtaining this measure. Firstly, the condenser does not operate in isolation, but interacts with the system as a whole, thus it is difficult to identify the costs due only to the condenser malperformance. Secondly, satisfactory measurements of the condenser operating conditions are difficult to obtain in practice.
An exergy approach is presented, where it is possible to avoid the first difficulty above with some modest assumptions. By measuring the exergy destruction within the condenser and applying a simple correction, the incremental cost of the condenser's irreversabilities may be inferred. When this cost is compared with that of a newly commissioned condenser operating under the same conditions, the method proves to be similar in accuracy to more traditional types of condenser costing.