3 IntroductionCooling Tower = boxed shaped collection of multilayered wooden slats called the ‘fill’Air from the atmosphere (so it is ‘free’) enters from the bottom of the cooling tower and flows upwardWarm water (typically about 120oF) flows in the top of the cooling tower thru a water distribution header (to break the water into droplets) and cooler water exits the tower at the bottom
4 IntroductionHot water transfers heat to cooler air as it passes thru the cooling tower (counter current flow is typical)Sensible heat (temp change but stays same phase) accounts for approx. 15% of the heat transfer in a cooling tower.Evaporation (latent heat : phase change) of the liquid water to water vapor accounts for approx. 85% of the heat transfer in a cooling tower.
5 IntroductionWhen the liquid water changes to vapor, it takes heat energy with it, leaving behind cooler liquid water.Evaporation removes approximately 1000 BTU’s for every lb of liquid water that evaporates.
6 Basic Components of a Cooling Tower Water Distribution System: warm process water is sprayed or allowed to fall into the cooling tower and onto the fillFan: used to push of pull the air into or out of the cooling towerWater Basin: located at the base of the cooling tower. Water is collected in the basin and then this cooler water is pumped back to be used again (say in heat exchangers)Make Up Water: Liquid water is added to the cooling water system to account for water lost to evaporation.
7 Atmospheric Cooling Tower (Natural Draft) Use natural forces (wind) to move air through cooling tower.Air flows in through the sides, and out the top.Drift eliminators (top) prevent liquid water from being blown or sucked out of the cooling tower.
8 Cooling Tower Classification Classified by direction of air flowcrossflow (airflow is horizontal to the fill )counterflow (airflow is vertical to the fill)And, how the air flow is producedNatural draft (atmospheric, etc)Mechanically (forced draft or induced draft produced by fans)
10 Induced Draft Cooling Towers Fans located at the top of the cooling towerLifts air out of the cooling tower, preventing recirculationProbably the most common type used in chemical plants and refineries
11 Forced Draft Cooling Tower Fans used to create a draftAir forced in the bottom, and flows out the topTypically solid sides
12 Cooling Tower SystemIn a chemical plant the water is used to remove heat from a process fluid (oil stream, etc.). This is how the water gets ‘hot’ and then needs to be cooled off in the cooling tower.Always want the water to enter the ‘bottom’ of the heat exchanger and leave out the ‘top’ of the heat exchanger so any vapors can get out.
14 DefinitionsApproach Temperature = T cool water out of cooling tower- T wet bulb of air inTypically 5 to 15oFRange = T warm water into cooling tower- T cool water out of cooling towerTypically 10 to 30o FHTU (height of transfer unit) typically 2 to 3 ft in a cooling tower
15 Factors that affect Cooling Tower Operations Relative Humidity of air (want low RH)Temperature of air (want low air temperature)Wind VelocityWater Contamination
16 Water ContaminationWater dissolves many things (especially hot water!)When the hot water returns from the heat exchangers to the cooling tower, it is full of suspended solids.As this hot water evaporates in the cooling tower, the solids are deposited which results in scale formation.
17 Problems Faced by Operators Scale formation - suspended solids form depositsCorrosion - electrochemical reactions with metal surfacesFouling - due to silt, debris, algae plug heat exchanger tubesWood (on the fill) decay - fungi
18 Water Composition Control Suspended solids levels checked by operators (ppm)Measured values compared to make-up (new) water concentrationsProblem controlled by “blowdown” (i.e., old water replaced with new water)Note: 100 ppm = 100 lbs. suspended solids in 1,000,000 lb waterOften this work is ‘outsourced’ to another water specialist company such as Nalco and Betz
19 Water Composition Control (Solutions) Scale formationremove scale forming solids with softening agentsprevent scale forming materials by addition of chemicalsget scale to precipitate out so it can be removed
20 Water Composition Control (Solutions) Corrosionadd chemical inhibitors to form a thin film that protects the metal)Foulinguse filtering devices to remove silt, debris, algae, etc.use dispersants (prevents solids from settling out) along with filtering devicesWood decay on the filluse biocides (often chlorine or bromine)
21 Water Testing (by Operators) pH of watertotal dissolved solids (TDS)inhibitor concentrationchlorine or bromine concentrationprecipitant concentrationfilter and screen checksair temperature and humidity
22 References“Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering”, by McCabe, Smith, and Harriot, 6thed., McGraw Hill, New York, NY, 2001.“The Process Technology Handbook”, by Charles E. Thomas, UHAI Publishing, Berne, NY, 1997.