Numerical investigation of thermal discharge to coastal areas: a case study in South Italy
Coupled wave – 3D-hydrodynamics model runs are performed to investigate thermal discharge release to coastal areas by means of including nearshore effects of wave-current dynamics. The study area comprises the vicinity of a power plant at Cerano, in South Italy, where cooling industrial waters are released to the sea. The implemented model is calibrated by using temperature measurements and sensitivity analyses are carried out for various relevant drivers and input parameters. Afterwards, the effect of thermal discharge is investigated through distinct hypothetical scenarios for a combination of metocean conditions and operational features of the power plant (modifying water discharge and temperature at its outlet). The model results of this representative array of conditions are intercompared and evaluated on the basis of heat dispersion rate and areas of influence, providing with useful insights on the numerical simulation of the process and the potential effects for the specific coastal area.