In a cooling facility, a cooling tower serves the purpose of dissipating excess heat from the liquid. The cooling system benefits from the evaporation process that transfers heat from the fluid (water or petrochemical) into the atmosphere with the aid of moving air. When planning to install a cooling tower for your plant, you will need to factor in various aspects such as the type of material, the application of the cooling tower, size, and safety considerations among others. This article examines some critical considerations for a cooling tower.
Cooling Requirements -- like any other investment, the choice of a cooling tower should be informed by capacity requirements. For instance, if you plan to run a small cooling plant, you may require a pre-assembled cooling tower. This type is cheap and does not require elaborate installation or integration efforts. It is sufficient for small-scale and medium enterprises. On the other hand, intensive and intricate cooling needs require site erected cooling towers, which are highly customized and specialized. This kind of cooling tower is perfect for large facilities such as oil refineries that have significant thermal rejection requirements.
Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers – These types of towers are becoming popular due to the ease of construction and low cost of installation and maintenance, hence a good consideration when planning for installation. You can optimize the mechanical draft tower by increasing the size of the fan. Also, consider maximizing the velocity of the fan to increase the cooling rate. Most cooling towers suffer from corrosion because of moist air. However, for the draft type tower, the fan pulls in dry air—and thus, significantly reduces the corrosion problem.
Corrosion – Cooling towers are predominantly made of metal, which when in contact with moist air can corrode quickly. In a cooling water system, particulates in the water can exacerbate the corrosion problem; hence, threatening the stability of the tower in the end. These particulates can increase either the alkalinity or acidity of the water. Therefore, it is prudent to consider the aspect of moisture before installation of a cooling tower. For example, high humidity regions should consider cooling towers made of less corrosive material.
Cooling and Electrical Components – All cooling components such as the fan, cylinders, and casing among others must be designed and tested to work seamlessly. Fans and their cylinders help regulate temperature in the tower by allowing the movement of air. In addition, valves control the flow of water in the cooling component. Therefore, the valves must be in good shape if the tower is to operate without any hitches. Electrical components such cables and motors must be neatly installed to prevent shorting of the tower's electrical components and eventual malfunctioning of the entire cooling system. In winter, the cooling tower should be winterized to control freezing of the fans and the associated costs of repair and replacement. Installation of immersion heaters is one way of ensuring that vital components do not freeze.