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November 16, 2016 0 Comments
Cooling towers dissipate heat from recirculating water used to cool chillers, air conditioners, or other process equipment to the ambient air. Heat is rejected to the environment from cooling towers through the process of evaporation. Therefore, by design, cooling towers use significant amounts of water.
The thermal efficiency and longevity of the cooling tower and equipment depend on the proper management of recirculated water. Water leaves a cooling tower system in one of four ways.
The sum of water that is lost from the tower must be replaced by make-up water:
Make-Up = Evaporation + Blowdown + Drift
A key parameter used to evaluate cooling tower operation is "cycle of concentration" (sometimes referred to as cycle or concentration ratio). This is determined by calculating the ratio of the concentration of dissolved solids in the blowdown water compared to the make-up water. Because dissolved solids enter the system in the make-up water and exit the system in the blowdown water, the cycles of concentration are also approximately equal to the ratio of volume of make-up to blowdown water.
From a water efficiency standpoint, you want to maximize cycles of concentration. This will minimize blowdown water quantity and reduce make-up water demand. However, this can only be done within the constraints of your make-up water and cooling tower water chemistry. Dissolved solids increase as cycles of concentration increase, which can cause scale and corrosion problems unless carefully controlled.
In addition to carefully controlling blowdown, other water efficiency opportunities arise from using alternate sources of make-up water. Water from other facility equipment can sometimes be recycled and reused for cooling tower make-up with little or no pre-treatment, including:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense at Work cooling towers best management practice.
Operation and Maintenance
To maintain water efficiency in operations and maintenance, federal agencies should:
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