Cooling Towers

This article will explore why tanks are used in cooling systems, why they might not be used in cooling systems, and finally considerations to be evaluated in determining if tanks are needed in any particular central plant cooling system. Part 2 will review specific application details for using tanks and also for tankless systems and system conversions.

The 2020 AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR event, was held February 3-5, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Supported by event co-sponsors, ASHRAE and AHRI, along with 31 other major industry organizations, and more than 1,900 exhibiting companies, AHR Expo is the industry’s largest global marketplace to network, share best practices and learn about innovative solutions from all over the world. With more than 200 free seminars, the education program featured new product and technology presentations, professional certifications, and education sessions focused on general industry-wide topics, engineering, industry trends, and topics tailored to attract the OEMs, engineers, contractors, facility operators, architects and other HVACR industry professionals from more than 160 countries.
This article examines challenges with phosphorous-based programs, key factors to controlling cooling water chemistry and the advantages of phosphorous- and zinc-free cooling water treatment technology.
When a cooling tower supporting the HVAC system at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln was nearing its expected end of life, the management of the 362-bed hospital in the South Bronx saw an opportunity. The year before, the neighboring community had experienced outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, and even though the hospital’s cooling towers played no role in those outbreaks, the chance to increase protections against possible future exposures of the bacteria that cause the disease was an important consideration.
For decades, evaporative cooling has been the principal means to regulate the temperature of buildings. And with more than 50% of total building water usage dedicated to heat transfer, there are major opportunities for water savings.
Cooling towers can use several power transmission technologies, including a gear drive, belt drive, direct drive, and electronically commutated (EC) drive. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The proper selection strikes an appropriate balance of initial cost versus operating costs.
How often do you think about your cooling tower or the fill that provides the cooling engine for your process? Unfortunately, if you’re like many plant operators, your cooling tower is but one piece of equipment in your large facility, and its ranking on your priority list is probably lower than many other expensive and more intricate pieces of equipment in your plant.
Cooling tower customers want product innovations that can give them a greater amount of cooling for the energy used. In this age of shrinking operational budgets, they also seek ways to reduce installation and maintenance costs. These customer needs cut across industry lines, whether for light industrial or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, or for power and process cooling operations.
Cooling towers may contain a variety of combustible material, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fill, fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) casing, fan stacks, fan decks, fan blades, and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polypropylene nozzles, as well as wood and fiberglass structural components. Functioning cooling towers may also contain dry areas that could catch on fire when water flow is temporarily suspended during maintenance, or repairs involving electrical work or welding. In addition, fire damage in cooling towers can extend to the tower’s adjacent cells and to nearby buildings or equipment.
Gearboxes are used as speed reducers to slow the rotational speed from the incoming motor to the outgoing fan of a cooling tower. Companies operating high-capacity production plants, such as those in the chemical process and power industries, require cooling towers with large amounts of heat rejection capacity. Without gearbox technology, cooling tower motors would be massive to directly handle the torque required by the fan. Something so large and heavy would be too expensive and impractical.
The demand for advanced computing power rises year after year, but the more powerful the system, the more heat it generates. As data centers grow, they place higher demands on cooling equipment. Packing as much kilowatt and computer usage into as small a space as possible is key to reducing the cost and size of the facility. In doing this, data centers increase the power density of their systems, drawing more power, and generating more heat per unit area.