In China, coal-fired power plants are the main supplier of electricity, as well as the largest consumer of coal and water resources and the biggest emitter of SOx, NOx, and greenhouse gases (GHGs). Therefore, it is important to establish a scientific, reasonable, and feasible comprehensive evaluation system for coal-fired power plants to guide them in achieving multi-optimisation of their thermal, environmental, and economic performance. This paper proposes a novel comprehensive evaluation method, which is based on a combination of the grey relational analysis (GRA) and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), to assess the multi-objective performance of power plants. Unlike the traditional evaluation method that uses coal consumption as a basic indicator, the proposed evaluation method also takes water consumption and pollutant emissions as indicators. On the basis of the proposed evaluation method, a case study on typical 600Â MW coal-fired power plants is carried out to determine the relevancy rules among factors including the coal consumption, water consumption, pollutant, and GHG emissions of power plants. This research offers new ideas and methods for the comprehensive performance evaluation of complex energy utilisation systems, and is beneficial to the synthesised consideration of resources, economy, and environment factors in system optimising and policy making.Multi-objective evaluation Improved grey relational analysis Coal-fired power plant
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