Traditional HVAC cooling systems cannot be used to provide cooling services in industrial applications because cooling requirements for industrial facilities such as food processing plants, petroleum refineries and electric power generation plants are much larger when compared to cooling requirements for schools, hospitals and large commercial buildings. With that said, industrial managers have to find a cooling system that can match up to their cooling requirements.
Cooling towers are industrial process devices that use water as the medium of heat-extraction from industrial facilities. These devices provide cooled water used for industrial air conditioning and other industrial applications such as the ones highlighted above. Like all industrial process devices, cooling towers are bound to experience issues at some point due to the extremes of normal use. Though water facilitates the heat-extraction process, it is also the number-one source of industrial cooling tower problems.
Here is a look at some common water-related issues that can affect the efficiency and longevity of industrial cooling towers and how to keep them in check.
- Cooling tower corrosion: It's common knowledge that water will corrode any unprotected metal — it is just a matter of time. In industrial cooling towers, water is the main substance that exposes the interiors of metal components such as heat exchangers and pipes to the elements that lead to corrosion. Severe corrosion can even result in formation of leaks, which can causes extensive damage in other areas of an industrial building. Periodically adding corrosion inhibitors to a cooling tower and making sure the protective coatings applied onto cooling tower surfaces are still in good condition will go a long way in minimising corrosion rates.
- Cooling tower scaling: Scale buildup is another common problem that affects industrial cooling towers. Scaling occurs when inorganic minerals such as iron oxide, calcium phosphate and magnesium silicate that are dissolved in the water form a coating on the interior surfaces of the cooling tower. If left unattended, scale buildup reduces the efficiency of heat transfer within the cooling tower system. The most effective way to minimise scaling is to periodically add water softeners to cooling tower water.
- Cooling tower fouling: As industrial cooling towers can draw dust and other forms of airborne dirt from the air in the environment they're cooling, cooling tower water can easily get contaminated. If these contaminants are not removed from the water, water nozzles can become blocked, in turn, decreasing system efficiency and increasing energy costs. The solution to cooling water fouling is to keep the filtration system in good working condition and to routinely treat the water with chemicals so as to disintegrate the contaminants present in the water.
For more information, contact a business such as Marley Flow Control Pty Ltd.