Improve Cooling Tower Efficiency Through Proper Water Management

Here at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we are all about efficiency. Industrial Cooling towers require a lot of energy to work and most industries that utilize them are always looking for ways to improve energy efficiency. While many techniques can be implemented to improve tower efficiency, proper water management is perhaps one of the most vital components. Because industrial cooling towers rely so much on the effective mitigation of heat through the evaporation of water, it should come as no surprise that improving water recycling and quality can have a drastic impact on the overall efficiency of the tower itself. In today’s post, we are going to focus specifically on how improving the water supply of a cooling tower can lead to major energy savings.

Save Water, Save Money, Improve Efficiency

At their core, industrial cooling towers are all designed to conserve as much water as possible. Because a cooling tower relies heavily on convective and evaporative heat transfer, it makes sense that water would be at a premium. The small amount of water this is evaporated from the tower is clean, meaning that it does not contain any of the mineral or chemical concentrations found in most of the recycled water. However, it is important to realize that this recycled water needs to be as clean as possible in order to ensure that it is being utilized as effectively as possible. In the industry, this is known as increasing the cycles of concentration. Below we have listed a few ways to improve the water quality of industrial cooling towers.

  • pH Adjustment: One of the first things that need to be considered when trying to improve the water quality of an industrial cooling tower si the pH level of the water itself. If the pH balance of the water becomes too low (acidic) it can damage the components of the tower and cause a wide range of issues that require expensive repair work. Because of this, water used in cooling tower applications should be kept at around 8.5 on the pH scale. This will ensure that the water does not corrode any of the parts of the cooling tower.
  • Scale Inhibitors: As we have stated in previous blogs, scale buildup is one of the leading causes of tower inefficiency.  As scale buildup coats the surfaces of the cooling tower, it reduces the effectiveness of the fill media and heat transfer surfaces to effectively mitigate heat. To address this issue, we suggest the use of chemical scale inhibitors. These chemicals are added to water used in the cooling tower and typically contain phosphonates, polymers, and organic corrosion inhibitors that help to inhibit scale build up.
  • Pretreating Water: The main reason water used in cooling tower applications causes scale build up is because of an increased concentration of calcium in the water. The calcium hardness of industrial cooling tower water should be kept within a range of 350 to 400 ppm. However reducing the calcium hardness even further typically yields a higher tower efficiency. Reducing the amount of calcium in the water can be achieved by sodium ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or lime softening. Reducing the calcium, hardness of industrial cooling tower water to 50 ppm allows the tower to run at seven or eight cycles instead of the typical 2 to 3. This amount of cycles allows the tower to run at over 96 percent water efficiency.

By following the simple tips, an industry can greatly increase the concentration of cycles that the cooling tower goes through. This is beneficial because it reduces the amount of water that the cooling tower consumes, minimizes waste generation, reduces chemical treatment requirements, and reduces the overall operational costs associated with the tower. Potential savings will vary from plant to plant due to the cost of water, waste disposal services, and energy costs. However, the return on investment for improving the cycle efficiency of a cooling tower typically takes than a year.
We hope that this blog has helped to convey the importance of proper water management. Water is the lifeblood of industrial cooling towers and, by simply making a few adjustments, an industry can greatly improve the efficiency of and energy consumption of a cooling tower. Visit us today at Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., and let our experts help with your next cooling tower project. We have the knowledge, skills, and expertise you need to get