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Optimizing Cooling Tower Performance- Refrigeration Systems, Chemical Plants, and Power Plants all Have A Resource Quietly Awaiting Exploitation-Cold Water!!
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Cooling towers, because of their seeming simplicity, are usually orphans of the facilities operation. We are all aware that cooling towers are the step-children of the chemical process plant, electric power generating station, and refrigeration system. While engineers are pretty well convinced of the importance of their sophisticated equipment, and rightly so, they take the cooling towers and the cold water returning from them for granted. Design Conditions are specified for the particular requirements before a cooling tower is purchased. This relates to the volume of circulatlng water, hot water temperature on the tower, cold water temperature discharge, and wet bulb temperature (consisting of ambient temperature and relative humidity). After the tower is put on the line and the cold water temperature or volume becomes inadequate, engineers look to solutions other than the obvious. While all cooling towers are purchased to function at 100% of capability in accordance with the required Design Conditions, in actual on-stream employment, the level of operation many times is lower, downwards to as much as 50% due to a variety of reasons: 1. The present service needed is now greater than the original requirements which the tower was purchased for. 2. "Slippage" due to usage and perhaps deficient maintenance has reduced the performance of the tower over years of operation. 3. The installation could have been originally undersized due to the low bidder syndrome (1). 4. New plant expansion needs additional water volume and possibly colder temperatures off the tower.
Burger, R. (1990). Optimizing Cooling Tower Performance- Refrigeration Systems, Chemical Plants, and Power Plants all Have A Resource Quietly Awaiting Exploitation-Cold Water!!. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.eslwin.tamu.edu). Available electronically from