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Cooling Tower

Presented By
Dr. Muhammad Bilal Khan Niazi
Chemical Engineering Deptt.
School of Chemical & Materials Engineering (SCME)
National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST)
Cooling Towers
A cooling tower is a heat rejection
device which extracts waste heat to
the atmosphere through the cooling of
a water stream to a lower temperature
Principle of Operation for
Cooling Towers
• The principle of operation of cooling
towers is very similar to that of the
evaporative type of condensers, in which
the warm water gets cooled by means of
• Water evaporates as a result of the hot
water droplet coming in contact with the
air (which is being pumped out by means
of a fan). This evaporating water also
absorbs the latent heat from the water
surrounding it. By losing latent heat, the
water is cooled.
• Dependable source for removal of low
grade heats
• Comparatively inexpensive
• Low maintance cost
Types of Cooling Towers
According to the method adopted to
circulate the air
• Natural Draft
• Mechanical Draft
Natural Draft Cooling Towers
• The air is circulated inside the cooling
tower by natural convection. The
natural draft cooling towers are
further classified as:
1. Natural draft cooling towers spray
2. Natural draft cooling towers splash
deck type
• The entire system is housed inside a
box-shaped structure which also
accommodates spray headers, spray
nozzles, and louvers.
• The louvers (usually made of steel) are
placed on the sides to enhance natural
circulation of air inside the cooling
• Usually these types of cooling towers
are located outside the building, so
that the air can pass freely through
the tower
• This type of cooling tower is very similar
to that of the spray type.
• Instead of a spray header, a water box is
used. The water box has small holes at
the bottom.
• It also contains decking inside the tower.
The hot water from the condenser enters
into the water box and splashes via holes
in the water box on the decking.
• The main objective of the decking is to
increase the surface area of contact of air
with the warm water. This type of cooling
tower is 20-30% more effective than the
spray type
Natural Draft Cooling Towers
Use very large concrete chimneys
to introduce air through the
 Used for water circulation rates
above 45,000 cum/h (Normally for
power plants, where condenser
water requirements are high)
Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
• The mechanical draft cooling towers are
very much similar to that of the natural
draft cooling towers.
• As the name indicates, air is circulated
inside the tower mechanically instead
of natural circulation. Propeller fans or
centrifugal fans may be used.
 Water falls downwards over fill
surfaces, which help increase of contact
time between water and air (increases
heat transfer)
Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
Advantages of mechanical draft
cooling towers over natural draft
cooling towers
• For the same capacity used, the
mechanical draft cooling towers are much
smaller than the natural draft cooling
towers. This is because of the increase in
cooling capacity due to increase in volume
of the air being forced out by fan.
• Capacity control is possible in mechanical
draft cooling tower. By controlling the
speed of the fan, the volume of air can be
controlled, which in turn controls the
Advantages of mechanical draft
cooling towers over natural draft
cooling towers
• The natural draft cooling towers can be
located only in open space. As they do
not depend upon the atmospheric air,
the mechanical draft cooling towers
shall be located even inside the
Disadvantages of using
mechanical draft cooling towers:

• More power is required to run the

• Increased running cost due to increase
in maintenance of the fans, motors and
its associated controls,
Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
Counter flow induced draft
 Counter flow forced draft
 Cross flow induced draft
Counter Flow Induced Draft
 Hot water enters at the top, while the
air is introduced at the bottom and
exits at the top
 Here both forced and induced draft
fans are used
Counter Flow Induced Draft
Counter Flow Induced Draft
Cross Flow Induced Draft
Hot water enters at the top and
passes over the fill
 Air is introduced at the side, either on
one side (single flow tower) OR
opposite sides (double flow tower)
Cross Flow Induced Draft
Cross Flow Induced Draft
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Counter Cross
The air is vertically The air flows horizontally
upwards, counter current and the water falling
with the hot water falling downwards meets the air
down-wards. The coldest at different temperatures.
water comes in contact Therefore the heat
with the coolest and most transfer is not always
dry air, optimizing the heat optimized
transfer and obtaining the
maximum performance
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Counter Cross
The tower area required is The area required is larger
comparatively much due to its constructional
smaller. The air water con- features like larger plenum
tact is more due to the chamber. Also the
efficiency and arrangement and material
arrangement of the fill of the pack is different and
pack. The plenum requires a higher area
chamber area for hot air in
this tower is smaller.
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Air Flow
Counter Cross
Since the air-water contact Since the air-water contact
time is higher, the quantity time is lesser, more air is
of air required is lesser required to effect heat
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Counter Cross
The problem of Since the air intake area
recirculation is much less extends from the bottom
in this case as the air to the deck level, the
intake is at the bottom of flume discharge is very
the tower and the close to the air intake area
discharge is at a much at the top. This creates a
higher level. Further the significant reduction in
side walls of the tower are performance
closed till the top of the
air intake area
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Power Consumption & Pumping Head
Counter Cross
The fan Power The fan power
consumption is low as consumption is higher as
the required air quantities the airflow required is
comparatively lower. The higher. The pumping head
pumping head is also is also higher since the
lower as the inlet header distribution is located at
is located below the fan the fan deck level
deck area
Comparison between Counter Flow VS
Cross Flow Cooling Tower
Counter Cross
Maintenance for counter Maintenance for cross
flow towers is much easier flow towers is time
than cross flow towers. consuming and usually
The simplicity of structure requires more skilled
and comfortable sizing technicians on the job as
allow for quick and the movement of material
exhaustive maintenance is more difficult
Counter Flow Forced Draft
• Air blown through tower by centrifugal fan
at air inlet
• Advantages: suited for high air resistance
• Disadvantages: recirculation due to high
air-entry and low air-exit velocities
Counter Flow Forced Draft
Counter Flow Forced Draft
Essential Parts of Cooling Tower
Frame and casing
 Fill
 Cold water basin
 Drift eliminators
 Air inlet
 Louvers
 Nozzles and Fans
basic components:
1-Frame and casing:
Most towers have structural
frames that support the exterior
enclosures (casings), motors, fans,
and other components. With
some smaller designs, such as
some glass fiber units, the casing
may essentially be the frame.
Most towers employ fills (made of
plastic or wood) to facilitate heat
transfer by maximizing water and air
contact. Fill can either be splash or
film type.
With splash fill, water falls over
successive layers of horizontal splash
bars, continuously breaking into
smaller droplets, while also wetting
the fill surface. Plastic splash fill
promotes better heat transfer than
the wood splash fill.
Film fill consists of thin, closely spaced
plastic surfaces over which the water
spreads, forming a thin film in contact
with the air. These surfaces may be
flat, corrugated, honeycombed, or
other patterns. The film type of fill is
the more efficient and provides same
heat transfer in a smaller volume than
the splash fill.
These provide the water sprays to wet
the fill. Uniform water distribution at
the top of the fill is essential to achieve
proper wetting of the entire fill surface.
Nozzles can either be fixed in place and
have either round or square spray
patterns or can be part of a rotating
assembly as found in some circular
cross-section towers.
The fan is directly driven, axial flow
type fans are specially designed to
ensure AEROFOIL Section throughout
the blade length, this ensure energy
saving and generates maximum air flow
at minimum pitch angle of blades in the
cooling towers. Fans are electronically
balanced made of light weight
Aluminum casting. Fans are durable,
corrosion resistant and low noise
delivering high flow.
 Fans: Both axial (propeller type) & centrifugal
fans are used
 Axial fans are used in induced draft cooling
 Both axial & centrifugal fans used in forced
draft towers
 Purpose: To move a specified quantity of air
through the system, overcoming the system
resistance, which is defined as the pressure loss
 Work done by the fan: air flow x pressure loss
Motor and gear reducer


The motor is totally

weatherproof in IP:55
construction, suitable for
heated and humid
atmosphere. Special low RPM
totally enclosed motor of
vertical, flange type with
enlarged threaded shaft and
sealed top is supplied with the
cooling tower.
Drift eliminators:
These capture water droplets
entrapped in the air stream that
otherwise would be lost to the
Cold water basin:
The cold water
Generally, basin,towers
cross-flow located at or
have the
of louversthe cooled
is to water
equalize airthat
into thedown through
fill and retainthe
basin usually
tower. Many hascounter
a sump or
towerfor the cold
designs dowater
discharge connection. In many
require louvers.
tower designs, the cold water basin
is beneath the entire fill.
Material of Construction
 Wood--- frame, casing, louvers, fill, and cold
water basin (or concrete)
 Galvanised steel, various grades of stainless
steel, glass fibre and concrete, aluminium and
various types of plastics for some
 Large towers are made of concrete
 Plastics are widely used for fills, including
PVC, polypropylene and other polymers
 Plastics also find wide use in nozzle materials
Performance of Cooling Tower

Cooling towers are rated in terms of approach and

where the approach is the difference in temperature
between the cooled-water temperature and the
entering-air wet bulb - twb - temperature
The range is the temperature difference between the
water inlet and exit states
Performance of Cooling Tower
 Range = (water in – water out temperature)

 Approach = (water out – WBT)

 Effectiveness = Range/(Range + Approach)

 Cooling capacity: Heat rejected in kcal/h =

Cooling Tower Efficiency
The cooling tower efficiency can be expressed as

μ = (ti - to) 100 / (ti - twb) (1)

μ = cooling tower efficiency - common range between
70 - 75%
ti = inlet temperature of water to the tower (oC, oF)
to = outlet temperature of water from the tower (oC,

twb = wet bulb temperature of air (oC, oF)

The temperature difference between inlet and outlet

water (ti - to) is normally in the range 10 - 15 oF.
Factors Affecting Performance
of Cooling towers
Capacity utilization or Amount of water
•Determined by the process it is serving
•Determined by heat load

 Wet Bulb temperature: design range is

specified at certain WBT

 The closer the approach to the WBT, the

more expensive the cooling tower due to
increased size
 Wet Bulb Temperature: WBT of air
entering the cooling tower determines
operating temperature levels
throughout the plant, process or

 Approach & Flow:

Approach is dependent on WBT of air
entering the cooling tower
 Water circulation rate is directly
proportional to the heat load
Range, Flow, Heat Load
Range is a direct function of the quantity
of water circulated and the heat load
 Increasing the range as a result of added
heat requires an increase in tower size
 If the hot water temp is constant and the
range is specified with a lower cold water
temp, then the tower size required for
such applications would increase
Approach And Wet Bulb
Design WBT is determined by the
geographical location.
Higher WBT, smaller the tower
required to give a specified approach
to the wet bulb at a constant range
and flow rate
Fill Media Effects
Function: Heat exchange between air
and water is influenced by surface
area of heat exchange, time of heat
exchange and turbulence in water
effecting thoroughness of intermixing
Cooling Water Treatment
 For controlling suspended solids, algae
growth, etc.
 For large Cooling towers (especially power
plants), water treatment is the key area for
energy conservation

 Drift Loss: Should be less than 0.02% of the

circulation rate
 With technological development,
incorporation of efficient designs of drift
eliminators enables to specify to as low as
0.003 to 0.001%
Energy Saving Opportunities
 Replace splash bars with self
extinguishing PVC cellular film fill
 Install new nozzles to obtain a more
uniform water pattern
Installing FRP blades in place of metallic
Incorporation of thermostatic controls
for fan operation
Evaluate the efficiency of CT pumps on a
periodic basis