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Cooling Tower Design, Selection and Efficient Utilization
Prepared by: Vijay Bansal
Cooling Tower Design, Selection and Efficient Utilization
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Introduction and Objective Function of Cooling Tower Cooling Tower terminology Wet bulb temperature and it’s importance Thermodynamic wet bulb temperature Adiabatic wet bulb temperature Wet bulb depression Design wet bulb temperature of selected Indian cities Types of Cooling Towers Cooling Tower Theory Cooling Tower Design Capacity versus thermal capability of Cooling Towers Thermal performance assessment of Cooling Towers The Japanese Industrial standard JIS B 8609 Preventive maintenance schedule for Cooling Towers Water conservation by improving Cooling Tower efficiency Intelligent Cooling tower control system
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Cooling Tower Design, Selection and Efficient Utilization
1. INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE INTRODUCTION
Cooling Towers are heat exchangers that are used to dissipate large heat loads to the atmosphere. They are used in a variety of Industries, including process cooling, power generation and air conditioning plants. All Cooling towers that are used to remove heat from an Industrial process or chemical reaction are referred to as Industrial process cooling tower. Cooling towers used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) are referred to as comfort cooling towers. Cooling towers are classified as either wet towers or dry towers.
Cooling towers are more or less a neglected area of any utility system. However, there is good energy saving potential in Cooling Towers. Proper attention has to be provided from the design stage itself and during operation also. The energy saving potential varies from 5% to 10% of the actual energy consumption.
The main objective of this paper is to provide technical information about the Cooling towers. The most important part covered is to select the Cooling tower based on the right wet bulb temperature. The size and cost of any cooling tower depends upon the wet bulb temperature of the particular region. During commercial negotiation a vendor can offer low price for the Cooling tower by supplying the high design wet bulb temperature Cooling tower if technical person is not well acquaint of the effect of even 0.5 Deg C rise in WBT.
Cooling Tower Design, Selection and Efficient Utilization
The thrust on design, selection and energy conservation activities in Cooling towers has been covered in detail.
2. Function of Cooling Tower
A cooling tower primarily uses latent heat of vaporization (evaporation) to cool process water. Minor additional cooling is provided by the air because of its temperature increase. Principle of Cooling Tower The cooling towers operate on the principle of heat dissipation through partial evaporation of the circulating water.
It is a direct contact heat exchanger, generally used to dissipate the heat in circulating water. The heat is dissipated to the ambient air via a process of heat and mass transfer from the circulating water. The water thus cooled is circulated again through the process, heat exchanger or condenser. The heat is transferred to the water either in a condenser like refrigeration or air-conditioning system or chemical processes or heat exchangers in cooling process, generating sets, engines, furnaces etc. The water is an effective heat transfer medium and this is taken advantage of in cooling towers. The heat received by the circulating water from various kinds of process equipment is dissipated in the cooling tower for being re circulated. 2.1 Cooling Tower Terminology It is necessary to define the most common terms in the cooling tower operation. Range It is the difference in temperature between the inlet hot water and the cold water
Cooling Tower Design, Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 4
Heat Load The amount of heat to be removed from the circulating water in an hour. Circulating water It is the quantity of hot water entering the tower. For 40°C inlet and 35°C outlet. For 35°C water out let and 27°C wet bulb temperature. Blow Down Volume Due to continued evaporation of circulating water in the tower. the range is 5°C. Heat load is equal to the rate of water flow per hour multiplied by range. Make Up The amount of water required replacing the evaporation. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 5 . Approach The difference between the temperature of the cold water leaving the tower and the wet bulb temperature of the air entering the tower. drifting and blowing down volume. This is kept in check continuous bleed off a part of the basin water. Fills Cooling Tower Design. Drift Losses The water carried over and discharged to the atmosphere. the approach is 8°C. the concentration of dissolved solids in the water increases. leaving the tower. The quality of makeup water* should be within the range specified. Wet bulb Temperature This is the lowest temperature water can be cooled by evaporation. Wet bulb temperature* is an important parameter in the cooling tower selection and design.
dew point temperature. 3. ventilated surface.0 Wet Bulb Temperature and its importance on Cooling Tower Selection What is Wet bulb temperature? The wet-bulb temperature is a type of temperature measurement that reflects the physical properties of a system with a mixture of a gas and a vapor. the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature corresponds to unique values of relative humidity. which surrounds the fill and retains the water within the tower. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 6 . Wet-bulb temperature can have several technical meanings: • • • Thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature: the temperature a volume of air would have if cooled adiabatically to saturation at constant pressure by evaporation of water into it. These are placed within the tower to effect heat and mass transfer between the circulating water and the air flowing through the tower. The thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature is the minimum temperature which may be achieved by purely evaporative cooling of a water-wetted (or ice-covered). usually air and water vapor. The temperature read from a wet bulb thermometer Adiabatic wet-bulb temperature: the temperature a volume of air would have if cooled adiabatically to saturation and then compressed adiabatically to the original pressure in a moist-adiabatic process. Distribution system Begins with the inlet connection for distribution of circulating hot water within the tower to the points. The relationships between these values are illustrated in a psychrometric chart. and other properties. For a given parcel air at a known pressure and dry-bulb temperature. Casing It is a vertical enclosing sidewall. all latent heat being supplied by the volume of air. Cooling Tower Design. where it comes in contact with air.
gives the state of the humid air. The temperature of an air sample that has passed over a large surface of liquid water in an insulated channel is the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature – it has become saturated by passing through a constant-pressure. the wet-bulb temperature is lower than the dry-bulb temperature. Combining the dry bulb and wet bulb temperature in a psychrometric diagram or Mollier chart. adiabatic saturation chamber. Increased efficiency of cooling towers 3." Lower wet-bulb temperatures in summer can translate to energy savings in airconditioned buildings due to: 1. Reduced dehumidification load for ventilation air 2. Cooling Tower Design. Other mechanisms may be at work in winter if there is validity to the notion of a "humid cold. and the dew point temperature is less than the wetbulb temperature. Meteorologist and others may use the term "isobaric wet-bulb temperature" to refer to the "thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature". For air that is less than saturated (100 percent relative humidity). ideal. Cooling of the human body through perspiration is inhibited as the wet-bulb temperature (and relative humidity) of the surrounding air increases in summer. all latent heat being supplied by the volume of air.1 Thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature (Adiabatic Saturation Temperature) The thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature is the temperature a volume of air would have if cooled adiabatically to saturation by evaporation of water into it. Lines of constant wet bulb temperatures run diagonally from the upper left to the lower right in the Psychrometric Chart. It is also called the "adiabatic saturation temperature". Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 7 .
Cooling Tower Design. The thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature is a thermodynamic property of a mixture of air and water vapor. The value indicated by a simple wet-bulb thermometer often provides an adequate approximation of the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature. For an accurate wet-bulb thermometer. "the wet-bulb temperature and the adiabatic saturation temperature are approximately equal for air-water vapor mixtures at atmospheric temperature and pressure. This is not necessarily true at temperatures and pressures that deviate significantly from ordinary atmospheric conditions. for other gas-vapor mixtures. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 8 .
ambient temperature is measured using an ordinary thermometer. Such an instrument is called a wet-bulb thermometer. the value reported by a wet-bulb thermometer differs slightly from the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature because: • • • The sock is not shielded so well from radiant heat exchange Air flow rate past the sock may be less than optimum And the temperature of the water supplied to the sock is not controlled At relative humidity below 100 percent. water evaporates from the bulb. To determine relative humidity. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 9 . The wet-bulb thermometer reports the thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature if: • • • The sock is shielded from radiant heat exchange with its surroundings Air flows past the sock quickly enough to prevent evaporated moisture from affecting evaporation from the sock The water supplied to the sock is at the same temperature as the thermodynamic wetbulb temperature of the air In usual practice. which cools the bulb below ambient temperature. Cooling Tower Design. Temperature read from a wet-bulb thermometer Wet-bulb temperature is measured using a thermometer that has its bulb wrapped in cloth— called a sock—that is kept wet with water via wicking action. better known in this context as a dry-bulb thermometer.
The precise relative humidity is determined by finding one's wet-bulb and dry-bulb temperatures on a psychrometric chart (or via complex calculation). Cooling Tower Design. A wet-bulb thermometer can also be used in combination with a globe thermometer (which is affected by the radiant temperature of the surroundings) in the calculation of the wet bulb globe temperature. Since the difference is so small. that the two temperatures are rarely different by more than a few tenths of a degree Celsius. the wet bulb is colder. As stated in another section. however. Such cooling may occur as air pressure reduces with altitude. 3. less relative humidity results in a greater difference between the dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 10 . Psychrometers are instruments which contain both wet-bulb and dry-bulb thermometers. Comparisons indicate. which gives accurate reading of dry bulb temperature. and the adiabatic version is always the smaller of the two for unsaturated air. At any given ambient temperature. Now-a-day’s digital meters are available in the market. As the value referred to as "thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature" is also achieved via an adiabatic process. meteorologists and others may use the term "isobaric wet-bulb temperature" to refer to the "thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature". Units may have these instruments to periodically evaluate the cooling tower performance. "The relationship between the isobaric and adiabatic processes is quite obscure.2 Adiabatic wet-bulb temperature The adiabatic wet-bulb temperature is the temperature a volume of air would have if cooled adiabatically to saturation and then compressed adiabatically to the original pressure in a moist-adiabatic process. some engineers and others may use the term "adiabatic wet-bulb temperature" to refer to the "thermodynamic wet-bulb temperature". it is usually neglected in practice. relative humidity and wet bulb temperature. as noted in the article on lifted condensation level.
The low point when no additional twirling reduces the temperature is called the wet bulb temperature.Twb The Wet Bulb temperature is the temperature of adiabatic saturation. Cooling tower selection and performance is based on: 1 Water flow rate 2. The evaporation is reduced when the air contains more water vapor. The wet bulb temperature is always lower than the dry bulb temperature but will be identical with 100% relative humidity (the air is at the saturation line). A psychrometer places a thin film of water on the bulb of a thermometer that is twirled in the air. and the temperature difference between the dry bulb and wet bulb. Wet Bulb Temperature . Cooling Tower Design. Wet Bulb temperature can be measured by using a thermometer with the bulb wrapped in wet muslin. The rate of evaporation from the wet bandage on the bulb. After about a minute. This is the temperature indicated by a moistened thermometer bulb exposed to the airflow. 3. Ambient wet bulb temperature is a condition measured by a device called a psychrometer. The adiabatic evaporation of water from the thermometer and the cooling effect is indicated by a "wet bulb temperature" lower than the "dry bulb temperature" in the air. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 11 .3 Wet-bulb depression The wet-bulb depression is the difference between the dry-bulb temperature and the wetbulb temperature. depends on the humidity of the air. Water inlet temperature 3. Ambient wet bulb temperature. Ambient wet bulb temperature and its affect on performance is the subject of this article. the thermometer will show a reduced temperature. Water outlet temperature 4.
Selection and Efficient Utilization . nearly 70% of the year. 2.000 hours per year . In other words. by example. as and when available. the tower will produce its stated capacity. Wet bulb temperature essentially measures how much water vapor the atmosphere can hold at current weather conditions.67°F water for 6.. Most cooling towers are capacity rated at a "standard" wet bulb temperature of 78°F. A lower wet bulb temperature means the air is drier and can hold more water vapor than it can at a higher wet bulb temperature. the highest or the design wet bulb temperature your geographical area will encounter must be used. 4. The measured wet bulb temperature is a function of relative humidity and ambient air temperature. a tower rated to produce 135 tons of cooling will produce 135 tons of cooling at a 78°F wet bulb temperature. when air temperatures and humidity are highest.000 hours a year will have a wet bulb of 60°F or lower meaning that a cooling tower cell designed for a 78°F wet bulb will be able to make 65° . Perform to required specification. Historically this can expect less than 1 hour per year that the conditions exceed a 78°F wet bulb. 6.. More compact Weigh less Consume least power Page 12 Cooling Tower Design. For example: Dry Bulb Temperature 50°F 60°F 70°F 85°F 90°F Relative Humidity 40% 50% 35% 55% 60% Resultant Wet Bulb Temperature 40°F 50°F 55°F 73°F 78°F When selecting a cooling tower cell. Highest wet bulb temperatures occur during the summer. the tower cell capacity decreases. The cooling tower design has changed over the years to incorporate new materials. That means on the days when the wet bulb temperature is 78°F. At a higher wet bulb temperature. 3. Again. in a place the design wet bulb temperature is 78°F. 1. Typically.
0 27. With the introduction of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics the above benefits are achieved in the Counter flow. a table showing design wet bulb temperature of some Indian cities is tabulated below.0 78.3 28.3 28.9 Cooling Tower Design.3 25.3 28.0 84. 3.9 28. Longer lasting.6 28.5 81.0 75. withstand corrosion and have good finish looks. Bottle shape FRP. induced Draft Cooling Towers Every location has a unique design (worst case) wet bulb temperature that is published by organizations such as ASHRAE. 5.3 26.2 25. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 13 .0 Degree C 28.1 27.0 81.0 83.4 Design Wet Bulb Temperature of selected Indian Cities.0 83.0 83.6 28.3 28.0 79.0 83. For ready reference.0 83.0 83.0 78. City Ahmedabad Allahabad Banglore Bhubaneshwar Bombay Calcutta Cochin Coimbatore Dehradun Durgapur Goa Hyderabad Jamshedpur Kakinada Degree F 82.2 23.
0 83.7 28.2 27.0 80.0 82. Kanpur Lucknow Madras Madurai Manglore Mysore Nagpur Nellore New Delhi Patna Ranchi Rourkela Salem Trichy Trivandrum Vijaywada Vishakapatnam 81.0 78.9 Cooling Tower Design.0 83.0 81.5 81.6 84.0 80. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 14 .0 82.8 27.5 27.3 25.7 27.2 28.8 28.0 80.8 27.0 27.4 81.6 26.0 82.0 82.0 27.2 27.2 28.3 26.0 28.0 81.0 83.3 27.
• Adjust the water flow. Higher wet bulb temperatures occur in the summer when higher ambient and relative humidity occurs. They represent a relatively inexpensive and dependable means of removing low-grade heat from cooling water. • Due to improper water flow What can we do to improve our tower performance? • Add tower cell capacity. Figure 1: Closed Loop Cooling Tower System The make-up water source is used to replenish water lost to evaporation. • Check for proper air flow. What does it mean when a cooling tower water temperature is higher than the normal 5° . The water exits the cooling tower and is sent back to the exchangers or to other units for further cooling. Cooling Tower Design. • Check for the efficiency losses described above.7°F above the current wet bulb temperature? Cooling tower may have lost efficiency • Due to scale build up on the tower heat exchange surfaces. Cooling towers are a very important part of many plants. • Due to loss of airflow across the heat exchange surfaces. Initial system design and proper system maintenance is critical to be certain your cooling tower cell is providing proper cooling. Cooling tower performance is related to ambient wet bulb conditions. Hot water from heat exchangers is sent to the cooling tower. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 15 . • Replace the heat exchange surfaces with new clean fill.
Cooling Tower Design. Mechanical draft cooling towers are much more widely used.000 gal/min. Usually these types of towers are only used by utility power stations. This helps maximize heat transfer between the two. which help increase the contact time between the water and the air. Due to the tremendous size of these towers (500 ft high and 400 ft in diameter at the base) they are generally used for water flow rates above 200. The water falls downward over fill surfaces. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 16 .0 Types of Cooling Towers Cooling towers fall into two main sub-divisions: Natural draft and Mechanical draft Natural draft designs use very large concrete chimneys to introduce air through the media. These towers utilize large fans to force air through circulated water. 4.
Types of Mechanical Draft Towers Figure 2: Mechanical Draft Counterflow Tower Figure 3: Mechanical Draft Crossflow Tower Mechanical draft towers offer control of cooling rates in their fan diameter and speed of operation. These towers often contain several areas (each with their own fan) called cells. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 17 . Cooling Tower Design.
5.0 Cooling Tower Theory Heat is transferred from water drops to the surrounding air by the transfer of sensible and latent heat. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 18 . Figure 4: Water Drop with Interfacial Film This movement of heat can be modeled with a relation known as the Merkel Equation: (1) where: KaV/L = tower characteristic K = mass transfer coefficient (lb water/h ft2) a = contact area/tower volume V = active cooling volume/plan area L = water rate (lb/h ft2) T1 = hot water temperature (0F or 0C) T2 = cold water temperature (0F or 0C) T = bulk water temperature (0F or 0C) hw = enthalpy of air-water vapor mixture at bulk water temperature (J/kg dry air or Btu/lb dry air) Cooling Tower Design.
Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 19 . ha = enthalpy of air-water vapor mixture at wet bulb temperature (J/kg dry air or Btu/lb dry air) Thermodynamics also dictate that the heat removed from the water must be equal to the heat absorbed by the surrounding air: (2) (3) where: L/G = liquid to gas mass flow ratio (lb/lb or kg/kg) T1 = hot water temperature (0F or 0C) T2 = cold water temperature (0F or 0C) h2 = enthalpy of air-water vapor mixture at exhaust wet-bulb temperature (same units as above) h1 = enthalpy of air-water vapor mixture at inlet wet-bulb temperature (same units as above) The tower characteristic value can be calculated by solving Equation 1 with the Chebyshev numerical method: (4) Cooling Tower Design.
one can find the tower characteristic. Increases in hot and cold water temperatures 3. Increase in the length of line CD. Increases in range and approach areas The increased heat load causes the hot water temperature to increase considerably faster than does the cold-water temperature. Figure 5: Graphical Representation of Tower Characteristic The following represents a key to Figure 5: C' = Entering air enthalpy at wet-bulb temperature. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 20 . Although the area ABCD should remain Cooling Tower Design. Twb BC = Initial enthalpy driving force CD = Air operating line with slope L/G DEF = Projecting the exiting air point onto the water operating line and then onto the temperature axis shows the outlet air web-bulb temperature. and a CD line shift to the right 2. An increase in heat load would have the following effects on the diagram in Figure 5: 1. by finding the area between ABCD in Figure 5. As shown by Equation 1.
Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 21 . A change in wet bulb temperature (due to atmospheric conditions) will not change the tower characteristic (KaV/L) 2. Only a change in the L/G ratio will change KaV/L Cooling Tower Design. 6. It is important to recall three key points in cooling tower design: 1. A change in the cooling range will not change KaV/L 3. Figure 6: Graph of Adjusted Hot Water Temperatures The area ABCD is expected to change with a change in L/G. constant. To account for this decrease. an "adjusted hot water temperature" is used in cooling tower design. it actually decreases about 2% for every 10 0F increase in hot water temperature above 100 0F. designers typically use charts found in the Cooling Tower Institute Blue Book to estimate KaV/L for given design conditions. this is key in the design of cooling towers.0 Cooling Tower Design Although KaV/L can be calculated.
the cooling water would still be exiting 10 0F above this temperature (85 0F) due to the tower design. if the wet bulb temperature dropped to 75 0F. For example. but can often be assumed to be -0. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 22 . the plant engineer can see that the proposed tower will be capable of cooling the water to a temperature that is 10 0F above the wet-bulb temperature. Cooling Tower Design. in the cooling tower represented by Figure 7. so will the available cooling water temperature. Figure 7: A Typical Set of Tower Characteristic Curves The straight line shown in Figure 7 is a plot of L/G vs KaV/L at a constant airflow. From this graph. Figure 7 represents a typical graph supplied by a manufacturer to the purchasing company. As the wet bulb temperature decreases. The slope of this line is dependent on the tower packing. Cooling towers are designed according to the highest geographic wet bulb temperatures. This temperature will dictate the minimum performance available by the tower.60. This is another key point in cooling tower design.
Cooling range 2. fogging abatement. during the hottest months). 2. and the inlet and outlet water temperatures for the tower. 3. Plant engineer reviews bids and makes a selection Design Considerations Once a tower characteristic has been established between the plant engineer and the manufacturer. Plant engineer defines the cooling water flowrate. utilize the cold water temperature. Mass flow rate of water 4. The required tower size will be a function of: 1. Steps for Cooling tower design in industry 1. the manufacturer must design a tower that matches this value. pump horsepower. Manufacturer designs the tower to be able to meet these criteria on a "worst case scenario" (ie. make-up water source. Tower height In short. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 23 . and hot water temperature to find the water concentration in gal/min ft2. Air velocity through tower or individual tower cell 6. nomographs such as the one shown on page 12-15 of Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook 6th Ed. The tower area can then be calculated by dividing the water circulated by the water concentration. Cooling Tower Design. and drift eliminators. wet bulb temperature. Approach to wet bulb temperature 3. Web bulb temperature 5. General rules are usually used to determine tower height depending on the necessary time of contact: Approach to Wet Bulb (0F) 15-20 10-15 5-10 Cooling Range (0F) 25-35 25-35 25-35 Tower Height (ft) 15-20 25-30 35-40 Other design characteristics to consider are fan horsepower. The tower characteristic curves and the estimate are given to the plant engineer.
(5) (6) (7) 6. Evaporation Loss = 0. If less water is needed due to temperature changes (ie. drift (water entrained in discharge vapor). The water in the base of the tower should be maintained between 60 and 70 0F by adjusting air volume if necessary. in the hope that the cooling towers will perform without trouble.1 Capacity versus Thermal Capability of Cooling Towers Do our cooling towers ever work properly? Mostly never. the plant engineer should maintain the design water flow rate and heat load in each cell of the cooling tower.1 and 0. one or more cells should be turned off to maintain the design flow in the other cells. Capacity versus capability Cooling Tower Design. We analyze poor performance at what consequences and the solutions we have to solve. even though engineers often over specify the design capacity and/or the entering wet-bulb temperature. Operation Considerations Water Make-up Water losses include evaporation. and blow down (water released to discard solids). Usual practice is to run the fans at half speed or turn them off during colder months to maintain this temperature range. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 24 . the water is colder).00085 * water flow rate(T1-T2) Blow down Loss = Evaporation Loss/(cycles-1) where cycles is the ratio of solids in the circulating water to the solids in the make-up water Total Losses = Drift Losses + Evaporation Losses + Blow down Losses Cold Weather Operation Even during cold weather months. Drift losses are estimated to be between 0. We pay for 100% but do you get 100%? What can you do to be sure that the towers you purchased perform according to the specifications.2% of water supply.
Capacity: The design capacity.WBT = approach With these data.CWT = range CWT . calculated from the heat exchange processes. For example. given in the following forumla: HWT: Hot water entering temperature CWT: Cold water leaving temperature WBT: Design entering wet bulb temperature FLOW: The assigned water flow for transferring the heat load. but perhaps 7 degrees. it needs a heat exchange surface of 100%. it might be understood that the tower does not reject the full heat load. The cold-water temperature will not reach the design parameter. but the heat load will still be rejected to the ambient air. The capability is the percentage of the design water flow to handle the applied heat load. This is a false conception. If the heat exchange surface is only 75%. but it will not reach the CWT at the given WBT. The CWT will approximately be 40% higher than the design criteria requested. if a tower is designed for a range of 5 degrees and an approach of 5 degrees. under 100% heat load on the tower. with his typical references for heat transfer. In practical terms: with how much water over the tower do we have the designed range and approach? It is the quantity of water. The tower always transfers the heat load given. If the tower is under designed. the cooling tower manufacturer calculates the size of the cooling tower required. given for a test conducted under the test codes. Capability: This implicates the tower's ability to handle the heat load to its original design parameters. then the approach will not reach 5 degrees. Cooling Tower Design. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 25 . HWT .
Test A and Test B. An example. one will have to do a little more than to wave a sling thermometer in the vicinity of the tower.2 Thermal performance assessment of Cooling Tower: If a mechanical device is under designed for its duty. Capacity versus capability Cooling Tower Design. Some testing methods do allow performance tests at conditions that vary from the design conditions. but proving a capacity shortage is more difficult. Checking a tower on its design conditions will be a long wait until the operating temperatures. To test a tower accurately. 6. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 26 . flow and wet bulb temperature do match the design parameters. the table below gives a set of design conditions for a cooling tower and two sets of test conditions. High accuracy testing equipment is required to get close to 100% accuracy in the test results. take the flow rate from a pump curve and take the temperatures with an average household thermometer. For a cooling tower it may be suspected that the performance is not what it should be. you will have immediate feedback if the device is not reaching its intended performance.
Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 27 . Test B results would generally be judged a pass.000. we still see this situation quite regularly. Test A is the set of figures from a careful run test. Initial cost: All things being equal. and thus contribute to a less efficient operation of the total plant. Effects of an undersized cooling tower: A cooling tower can under perform for various reasons: • • • • Wrong selection of the type of tower Poor manufacturing and installation Poor maintenance Optimistic load ratings These can have the following effects: 1. Consider the cost difference on that tower when it delivers only 70% or less in capability! It is a cause of concern that despite the existence of a number of different thermal test standards for cooling towers. These errors may not seem to be significant.0% and for Test B 96. Test B however. the real shortfall of 14% in capability in the example above is worth some $US4. A less efficient plant equates to a longer running time. In a competitive situation when bidding for a project. causing higher energy costs. more than a ten percent difference. their impact however on the test result is. Running costs: Towers that are undersized will produce higher water temperatures than specified. and errors of 0. Results for the tests give a capability mark for Test A of 86. When one considers the price tag for a tower like this of about $US30. gives results where a mistake of 4% has been made in the water flow calculations. a small price difference can win or lose a job. 2.5%.000. a cooling tower that is providing only 80% capability can be expected to be around 20% cheaper in its original cost compared to a 100% tower.1 °C have been made in the temperature readings for the hot and cold water and for the wet bulb reading. for it has a capability of 95%. Cooling Tower Design.
Please consider the following: If a manufacturer quotes a particular sized cooling tower to a set of design conditions. 3. this is not always the case and some manufacturers are overrating their towers as much as 40%. 2. even if all of the above conditions apply. loss of production. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 28 . 4. 3. Insist on a test on site carried out by the manufacturer. Acquire a cooling tower of which the manufacturer claims the tower is tested in accordance with the Chinese Standard GB7190. 1. air conditioning temperatures that are higher than design can cause problems with computer operational malfunctions. Plant life: Add to the above the reduced life that can be expected from a plant because of the additional stresses caused by higher operational temperatures. How to protect from undersized cooling towers: Which protective measures could you make to ensure that the installation performs satisfactorily? Most buyers of cooling towers will try to avoid buying a malfunctioning tower using the criteria below. Cooling Tower Design. Acquire cooling towers from a member of the Cooling Tower Institute (CTI) or buy cooling towers that carry their logo sticker or printed logo on technical bulletins. Unfortunately. and the benefit of the lower initial cost of an undersized cooling tower quickly diminishes. it could be assumed that the manufacturer is guaranteeing that the tower will perform to those conditions. Acquire a cooling tower of which the manufacturer claims the tower is tested in accordance with the Japanese Standard JIS B 8609. the tower's capability cannot be guaranteed. 4. Do business with manufacturers or representatives who state that they guarantee the tower's capacity. Critical plant operations: For critical conditions such as computer rooms. or a downgraded product can be the result of high water temperature. Unfortunately.1 5. In industrial applications.
1 covers thermal performance requirements and other matters pertaining to cooling towers. a worldwide organization headquartered in the USA. drift and electrical power. As with the Japanese standard discussed above. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 29 . In JIS B 8609. sound. there is no requirement. However. A number of manufacturers are member of the Cooling Tower Institute. to use the actual capacity found from testing in the published rating for that tower. More than any other organization. Some problems are: Cooling Tower Design. which is a very small machine. Some cooling tower manufacturers proclaim that their towers are tested in accordance with JIS B 8609. Being a member of the CTI allows the member to use the CTI logo with member printed beneath on letterheads and promotional information. There is nothing to prevent the principles outlined in the standard from being used for larger towers. This is an approximate water flow rate of 11 l/s. by promoting the truthful rating of them. Different to the Japanese standard is that this Chinese standard also covers a form of certification of the cooling tower's thermal performance. JIS B 8609 .Performance Tests of Mechanical Draft Cooling Tower It covers thermal performance. the CTI has played a part in elevating the status of cooling towers. compulsory or voluntary. this standard has a number of problems with its approach to thermal performance testing. JIS B 8609 is a code for laboratory practice and is not suitable for field-testing cooling towers. The use of the CTI logo in such a way does not provide any guarantee of performance of the manufacturer's range of products.3 The Japanese Industrial Standard. the Chinese standard. This standard states that it is for use with cooling towers of capacity of 233 kW or less at standard design conditions. 6. it just proves they are a member. GB 7190. once rated the performance of the tower.
The test tolerance of 10% is too high. If it is critical that a tower provides the performance that is specified (and shouldn't all installations be considered as such?). too much for a mission critical cooling tower. the only certification scheme of merit in existence is the one conducted by the CTI. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 30 . and usually favor the manufacturer. To overcome the problems caused by undersized cooling towers. Therefore. As discussed and shown before. Errors in the (handling of) measurement devices are not the only problem. At this point of time. 2. some consultants demand a site test on the cooling tower to verify its capability. even specifying a site test with all the best intentions will not necessarily ensure that the end result is a tower delivering the performance required. Independent cooling tower thermal performance testing A well conducted site test true to the test codes involves the measurement of quantities Cooling Tower Design. Small differences in the measured quantities can lead to large difference in the result. making the end result dubious. These are: 1. manufacturer’s tests might not be the most reliable. there are two ways to ensure receipt of a right sized tower. with the test to be carried out by an independent testing authority that possesses the necessary skills and high quality instrumentation. The required instrument precision is low. seemingly small measurement tolerances can lead to large errors in the final calculated capability of the cooling tower. there are other tricks of the trade that can be used to bias a test result in the favour of the tower manufacturer. Specify a test to a competent standard such as the CTI Test Code ATC-I05. As it might not be in the best interest of the manufacturer to be very critical on the performance of its own products. In such circumstances. errors are common. Most manufacturers would do a test using minimal equipment of dubious quality. Purchase a cooling tower that has certified thermal performance.
It is essential to the interests of all parties. 2. Wind speed and direction. Such a license is only granted after rigorous examination by CTI of the applicant. 1. Hot and cold water temperatures 3. To ensure confidence. particularly for larger towers where a large number of instruments are used in gathering of information. Instrumentation is of paramount importance and. The aim of the examination is to assure quality in the conduct of the test. These quantities are specified to be within certain limits of the design conditions. However. the reporting of results and the complete independence of the licensee without the possibility of any conflict of interest. should be calibrated to an acceptable standard. of course. for larger towers and for towers on critical installations. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 31 . Entering air wet bulb temperatures 4. the CTI has a scheme where it licenses testing agencies to conduct thermal performance testing under their auspices. the test price can be justified when compared with the initial cost of the tower and the impact on the life cycle costs of the overall plant that an undersized tower can cause. they are rated at steady state conditions. the test codes stipulate the maximum rate of change that the various measured quantities can vary over the test period. that confidence exists in the ability of the tester to conduct the test and interpret the accumulated data. We do not promote that every cooling tower needs to be tested. Logging of test measurements should preferably be automatic. Water flow rate. Fan motor electrical characteristics 5. While it is impossible to obtain a steady state condition on site. Cooling Tower Design. Because water cooling towers rely on both heat and mass transfer to affect the cooling function.
the various products offered should be compared on size of the tower. It is generally believed that they do not deliver the performance they are rated at. the wet surface and the motor power ratings instead of only tower’s price. Should the tower still be deficient. In the competitive process of bidding. then further upgrading and retesting is to be carried out. either by specifying a site test conducted by an independent and experienced testing agency. design conditions are specified which are higher than required. offer underrated towers in order to win the project. This "solution" may be contributing to the perpetuation of the original problem. Should a test prove that the tower is deficient in its capability by more than 5% then. Conclusion Cooling towers have a poor reputation. It is not surprising that where such specifications are invoked. the tower manufacturer should be required to upgrade the tower and retest at their own expense. or by the purchase of a tower with certified thermal ratings. Cooling Tower Design. It is possible to demand and obtain cooling towers that have 100% capability. To overcome the possibility of a low performing tower. One could also invite a professional independent institute to support the purchase process. the chance of an undersized cooling tower being installed considerably diminishes. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 32 . This already expels in an early stage those manufacturers who. as part of contractual obligations. willingly or not.
Smear Bolts with grease to facilitate easy opening the next time. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 33 . Every Six Months: 1. 4. Monthly: 1. 5. Fan Motor current normal in all three phases. 7. and remove from sump. Clean sprinklers / nozzles if choked. 2. 2. 4. etc. Clean inlet water filter. 3. Check fills if clogged due to Algae. Clean inlet wire mesh to remove entrained matter. Inlet / outlet temperature of water normal. Vibrations are normal / Noise normal. Weekly: 1. Check structural / FRP casing and Basin damage and rep. 2. 3.0 Preventive Maintenance schedule for Cooling Towers Daily: Check if 1. Grease all bearings of motors. Check and tighten all bolts. Cooling Tower Design. Water distribution proper. flush out and remove any sediment. 4. 3. 6. Clean from outside with soap and water. sediment / salts. Check growth of algae etc. Drain Tank.
Check fills if damaged and replace. the solubility limit of the dissolved minerals would soon be reached. The remaining heat is removed by evaporation of a small percentage of the re-circulated water. R) * (Temperature differential across tower. Clean blades of foreign matter. The purpose of a cooling tower is to conserve water. 2. The evaporation rate is determined by the following equation: Evaporation (E) = (0. Check run out on fan motor shaft 4. that is. The bleed or blow down rate is adjusted to control the concentration of dissolved minerals to Cooling Tower Design. If these were to occur without restriction. mineral scale that is frequently found in heat exchangers. a percentage of the cooling water is discharged to drain. reduce energy consumption. such as by implementing water recycling and reuse strategies. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 34 . 8. dissolved minerals (most commonly calcium and magnesium salts) precipitate as an insoluble scale or sludge. The industry must respond by seeking out more efficient ways to use water.0 Water Conservation by Improving Cooling Tower Efficiency Though an abundant supply of freshwater has been taken for granted in many parts of the world. especially for power generation. or deposited in the sump. To prevent the tower from over concentrating minerals. it comes into contact with air that is pushed or pulled through the fill by mechanical draft fans. and control cost. When the solubility limit is reached. It fulfills its purpose by rejecting heat to the atmosphere by convective and evaporative heat transfer. Some of the waste heat is transferred from the warmer water to the cooler air by convection. Replace bearings of sprinkler assembly after 2 years and fill with grease. Grease all bearings of sprinklers. in the tower fill. it doesn’t contain any of the mineral solids that are dissolved in the cooling water. 3. 5. This is the off-white. dT) The water that is evaporated from the tower is pure. As water cascades through the cooling tower. especially for critical equipment like cooling towers. 6. Water is a valuable resource and commodity that needs to be efficiently managed to minimize waste. Evaporation has the effect of concentrating these dissolved minerals in the remaining tower water.0085) * (Recirculation rate. however. its availability is certainly becoming less.
Cycles of concentration are also estimated by the ratio of the specific conductance of the cooling water and the makeup water: Cycles of concentration (C) = MU / B Cooling Tower Design. The water that is lost by evaporation and bleed must be replaced by fresh makeup to maintain a constant system volume. One indicator of cooling tower efficiency is cycles of concentration. or concentration ratio. A typical power plant evaporative cooling system must add makeup water to balance out evaporation and cooling tower blow down. This is the ratio of the makeup rate to the bleed rate. assuming the uncontrolled losses are negligible. MU/B. This limit is commonly set and controlled by specific conductance (micro mhos/cm) or total dissolved solids (mg/l) measurements. just below their solubility limit. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 35 . but it may also come from treated wastewater or recycled water supplies (Figure 7): Makeup (MU) = Evaporation (E) + Bleed (B) + Uncontrolled losses Water-balancing act. Makeup is typically obtained from potable water sources.
windage. As we approach higher cycles. From these relationships. Conversely. Operating the cooling tower at maximum cycles of concentration reduces the amount of water sent to drain and thereby decreases the freshwater makeup demand. the incremental gains decrease. From a practical view. Overall. however. This is a reasonable goal for most cooling towers and would further suggest that cooling towers operating below 10 cycles of concentration are less than 100% efficient as measured by makeup consumption and wastewater generation (see table). Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 36 . Cooling Tower Design. reducing the bleed causes the cycles to increase. increased minerals in the water can degrade tower performance over a period of time. the amount of bleed required to maintain a specific cycle of concentration is determined by: B = E / (C – 1) If E is held constant. However. increasing the bleed causes the cycles to decrease. Cooling tower basics. higher cycles of concentration translate into greater efficiency as measured by a decrease in freshwater consumption and wastewater discharge (Figure 8). leaks. The diminishing returns curve (Figure 8) indicates that major gains in water conservation can be achieved by increasing the cycles from two to three. and other uncontrolled losses limit the cycles to a maximum of about 10. Increasing the cycles of concentration or cooling tower water dissolved mineral content will decrease the cooling tower blow down and thereby decrease makeup water requirements.
These include pH adjustment. Achieving more than 10 cycles would be difficult while deriving a reasonable return on investment. Towers operating at six to eight cycles are acceptable for most applications. unless zero discharge is the ultimate goal. The table data assume that 10 cycles of concentration represent 100% cooling tower efficiency for comparison purposes. chemical scale inhibitors. These figures suggest that cooling towers that operate at fewer than five cycles of concentration (less than 90% efficient) are not achieving their full potential and would benefit from retrofits that would reduce freshwater consumption and decrease waste. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 37 . Cooling tower efficiency is determined by cycles of concentration. Towers in the 9.to 10-cycles range have reached their peak. and pretreatment of the tower makeup. Strategies for Improving Performance Cooling tower cycles can be maximized in a variety of ways. Cooling Tower Design.
Accidental overfeed conditions (low pH) make the cooling water very corrosive to system metals. And. The Langelier. Proven effective in lab tests and in the field.5. PH Adjustment Traditionally. The problem with using acid to increase cycles is one of control. and feeding of concentrated sulfuric acid creates additional environmental. and organic corrosion inhibitors. Ryznar. These chemicals are generally phosphonates (organically bound phosphate compounds). total dissolved solids. health. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 38 . despite the precipitation of hardness salts. damage caused by acid corrosion cannot be reversed and is very expensive to repair. total alkalinity. and ter-). polymers (mono-. and temperature to maintain water chemistry at the neutral point of the index (neither scaling nor corrosive). nonadherent sludge that is removed by routine bleed. Sufficient acid is injected into the makeup to maintain the total alkalinity of the cooling water in the range of 50 to 100 ppm or at a level that will maintain the pH within the range of 6. Other chemical programs push through the calcium solubility limit by claiming to maintain clean heat transfer surfaces at even higher cycles. high-alkalinity makeup water utilized pH adjustment with sulfuric acid to maximize cycles of concentration. pH. which are chemically conditioned into a fluid. or Practical scaling index is used as an additional control measure to correlate the calcium hardness. Unlike scale deposition. co-. cooling water additives are usually limited to keeping calcium and magnesium salts soluble up to a Langelier Index value of about +2. Operating the cooling tower at pH levels above 8. In addition.5 creates an environment that passivates steel and minimizes corrosion of galvanized steel and copper.5. cooling towers operating on high-hardness. Chemical Scale Inhibitors Various chemical additives and formulations are marketed that enhance the solubility of calcium and magnesium salts while at the same time controlling corrosion to within acceptable rates. transporting. These products are used alone or in combination with supplemental acid feed to maximize tower cycles. One part of 66° Baume acid is required to neutralize one part of alkalinity.8 to 7. Cooling Tower Design. and safety issues. reducing the M alkalinity removes the natural passivating effect that carbonate and bicarbonate alkalinity have on steel. the handling. which can be removed by chemical or mechanical cleaning.
640 gpd at 3. Nevertheless. and energy. the return on investment for improving cooling tower efficiency is typically less than one year. waste disposal costs. This reduces the makeup requirement by 18. As a simple example. the calcium hardness in the cooling tower should be maintained within the range of 350 to 400 ppm on a non-acid treatment program.336 gpd at eight cycles. health. the cycles of concentration are restricted to 3.000-ton load operating at 3. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 39 . As a general rule of thumb. Pretreatment of Cooling Tower Makeup The primary limiting factor for cycles of concentration is calcium hardness. This is equivalent to 75% to 85% water efficiency. Water of any desired hardness can be obtained by the controlled blending of softened water with untreated raw or recycled water. Cooling Tower Design. Increasing the cycles to eight has the effect of decreasing the makeup demand to 50. minimizes waste generation.5 cycles of concentration with a 12F temperature drop across the tower has a makeup demand of 61. chemical treatment dosages. decreases chemical treatment requirements.0. in addition to the environmental. or reverse osmosis. and safety improvements. Potential cost savings vary from plant to plant. Benefits of Increasing Concentration Cycles Maximizing cooling tower cycles offers many benefits in that it reduces water consumption. Notwithstanding the benefits of a sound chemical treatment program.5 to 4. chemical treatment consumption and disposal requirements are proportionately reduced. a cooling tower handling a 1. If the makeup water contains.4%. depending on the cost for raw water. The wastewater produced by the cooling tower decreases from 17. if the cooling tower cycles are limited to fewer than five. Reducing the calcium hardness to 50 ppm allows the tower to run at seven to eight cycles. sodium ion exchange (water softener). And by using less water. say. and lowers overall operating costs. which is equivalent to over 96% water efficiency.775 gallons per day (gpd). significant water savings can be realized by improving the quality of the tower makeup.400 gpd. 100 ppm calcium hardness. Hardness reduction or removal can be accomplished by lime softening.5 cycles to 6. Low-hardness makeup is often available from recycled and reused plant wastewater such as spent rinse water and steam condensate. which is equivalent to a 64% decrease.
The system also controls acid feed via pH monitoring. The C22 features four SPDT relays and is rated NEMA 4X for rugged environments. and a Model CS10 conductivity sensor. The system consists of ECD’s Model 22 Controller. Selection and Efficient Utilization Page 40 .0 Intelligent Cooling Tower System Electro-Chemical Devices’ new plug-and-play Model 2122 Cooling Tower Control System (CTCS) is designed to apply the various chemicals used to prevent corrosion. More details about this instrument is available on ( www.ecdi. 9. and that triggers a process alarm if the acid feed or blow down cycle proceeds longer than the operator’s predetermined cycle time.com) Cooling Tower Design. An optional digital input card can be added to monitor no-flow conditions for extra safety. and the inhibitor via a user-selected time basis. a Model PHS10 pH sensor. and fouling in water-based wet cooling towers. Model 2122 CTCS features a unique timer-based overfeed function that locks out the blow down cycle or the acid/base feed function. blow down via conductivity. scaling.
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