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Cooling Towers

Are you maximizing your cooling tower efficiency?

Introduction to Industry

Cooling towers are used in a wide range of industrial and commercial applications to remove excess heat from industrial processes or building air conditioning systems. The process of cooling involves the circulation of water through the cooling tower to absorb the heat from the process or system and then dissipate it into the surrounding atmosphere through evaporation.

As a result of this process, the water in the cooling tower becomes contaminated with a variety of impurities, including suspended solids, dissolved minerals, and organic compounds. The accumulation of these impurities over time can lead to scaling, corrosion, and fouling of the cooling tower equipment, reducing its efficiency and potentially causing equipment failure.

To maintain the optimal performance of cooling towers, the contaminated water must be treated and disposed of properly. This water, known as cooling tower wastewater, is typically discharged into municipal wastewater treatment systems or released into the environment after treatment to meet regulatory requirements.

Current Challenges

The evaporation process in the cooling tower causes the concentration of salts in the water to increase. Once the concentration exceeds a certain threshold, the water is discharged as cooling tower blowdown (CTBD) and replaced with fresh water. However, as opposed to disposing large amounts of the CTBD, reusing it within the cooling tower can significantly reduce freshwater consumption. CTBD primarily consists of salts and organic compounds. The high salt content leads to an electrical conductivity of approximately 1.5–4.0 mS/cm in the CTBD, which should ideally be lower than 1.0 mS/cm to enable its reuse in the cooling tower circulation water or blowdown.

What's Being Done Now?

Proper treatment plays a crucial role in optimizing the evaporation cycles of cooling towers while minimizing the rate of water bleed beyond what can be achieved with chemicals alone. Traditional chemical treatment methods effectively address various issues related to cooling tower operation. Corrosion is managed by creating a protective chemical layer, typically in an alkaline environment. Biological fouling and deposits are controlled through the use of both oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocide programs. Scale formation is prevented by employing a combination of polymers, polyphosphates, and carefully managed cycles of concentration within the tower. Suspended solids are tackled using dispersants and polymers. In a typical water treatment process, chemicals are injected into the condenser water to serve three main purposes.

Firstly, "scale inhibitors" are used to modify the water's natural properties, enabling it to hold a higher concentration of minerals without causing scaling. Secondly, "corrosion inhibitors" are introduced to decrease the occurrence of corrosion in piping systems. Finally, "biocides" and "algaecides" are employed to mitigate the growth of biological organisms in the cooling tower, where warm water is exposed to air.

What Hydroleap Brings to the Sector

Industrial cooling towers are vulnerable to several problems, including corrosion, scaling, fouling, and biological contamination. Hydroleap offers a unique solution to these issues through its advanced electrooxidation process (HL-EO). By oxidizing minerals and contaminants in the water, the HL-EO process can effectively kill bacteria, including legionella, and break down mineral buildup, thus mitigating scaling. The Hydroleap system treats a slipstream of water pulled from the main water loop, which is then processed through the HL-EO reactor skid before being fed back into the cooling tower.

By implementing the HL-EO system from Hydroleap, companies can achieve significant benefits. This system enables the reduction-induced precipitation of calcium and magnesium carbonate on the cathode, creating an alkaline region that promotes the precipitation of Silicon Oxide (SiO2). This, in turn, reduces the production of Silica on tower surfaces. Additionally, the system maintains a balanced pH and alkalinity to minimize corrosion. Furthermore, the Hydroleap system activates the natural chlorides present in the water, generating free and total chlorine, which acts as a biocide.

Overall, companies can benefit from up to 70% reduction in blowdown water, leading to significant cost savings. Moreover, the total water consumption can be reduced by nearly 35%, resulting in improved water efficiency. Finally, the cycles of concentration (COC) can be increased by an impressive 40-50%. These outcomes highlight the effectiveness of the Hydroleap system and its potential to enhance overall operational efficiency and sustainability.

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