A cooling tower extracts heat through the process of cooling water and pushes it into another medium like air. It is used to provide cooled water for air-conditioning, electric power generation, and manufacturing. Originally, they were created to reuse and recycle water that would be otherwise, wasted. Now, this system is able to conserve 98% of the water that is run through them and is able to save energy efficiently. The International Cooling Tower provides different applications for this system.
Types of Cooling Towers
Natural Draft Cooling Towers
These towers use natural convection to circulate the air inside the tower to cool down the water. The warm, moist air goes up in the form of cold gas that creates constant airflow. These are cheaper because they use natural processes.
Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
These towers use mechanical methods of cooling the water to circulate the air inside using the centrifugal fans. While the natural draft cooling towers need to be placed outside the building, the mechanical draft cooling towers are more flexible and can be placed inside any building. However, the only con to these types of towers is their cost.
The 2 Types of Open Loop Cooling Towers
Evaporative Cooling Towers
Traditionally, cooling towers cool water through the process of evaporation. The heated water is pumped into the top of the tower and then flows over a series of baffles that break up the water stream. The water, in results, cools down when an amount of water evaporates forming steam.
Counter-flow Cooling Towers
This is a more advanced type of cooling tower. This system is equipped with fans mounted on the top that draw air which pulls the baffles and the water stream. It is called “counterflow” because the air moves in the opposite direction of the water. The counter flow is called an open-loop because they spray water into the air.
Both Evaporative and Counter-flow cooling towers are efficient in cooling down water but they are more expensive. This is because evaporation takes water and it reduces the water resource, and the top-mounted fans needed in the counter-flow need more energy, thus it is an added electricity.
Three Types of Fans
Oftentimes, the type of fans is easily overlooked. However, identifying what type of fan can have a huge impact on maintenance costs. There are three types of fans:
1. Direct – direct fans are efficient, producing less noise and vibration. They are also very durable that they do not need to be maintained on a regular basis.
2.Gear – gear drives are efficient and require less maintenance than the bel drivers, although it does not equal the efficiency and the durability of the direct-drive fans.
3.Belt – the belt is the cheapest among the three fans. This is because the belt can wear out easily, thus it needs regular replacement. Also, they need to be regularly adjusted, maintained, etc., which can be a bit too costly if you add up the maintenance costs for the whole year.