Industrial cooling towers are the heart of any industrial process that requires cooling as a course of action. Cooling may be an important part of the industrial process so that a given product can be manufactured. It can also happen that the industrial installation or the manufacturing area requires cooling so that the manufacturing process can go on smoothly.
For this reason, these towers have become a necessity rather than a luxury in various industries. These towers have basically evolved from commercial towers and specially modified for various industrial processes. The basis of functioning of these towers, whether industrial or commercial is very simple to understand. They work on the principle of evaporative cooling, as part of which water is brought into contact with ambient air. This causes partial evaporation of the water and results in cooling.
Various industrial units require cooling for their daily and smooth operation. These include industries like electricity generation, petroleum refining, chemical processing, sugar manufacturing, air condition and refrigeration, steel generation, and many others. Industrial cooling has been around for many years. The first need of industrial cooling arose during the initial years of the industrial revolution. Since they were successful in removing the heat from the industrial processes, their use grew in more and more industries.
Depending upon their use, these towers are classified as commercial or industrial. Some of these towers involved especially in the petroleum and power industries use large capacities of water for cooling purposes – some of these giant towers use anywhere between 80,000 and 100,000 cubic meters of water per hour for their cooling needs.
Most industrial towers utilize air to cool the flow of water in them. Generally, based on this arrangement, they can be categorized as natural draft or mechanical draft, which include induced draft and forced draft towers. Natural draft towers utilize the tendency of warm air to rise and cold air to descend to induce cooling. Induced draft towers utilize motors and fans at the air exit of the cooling tower to draw air through the cooling tower. Finally, forced draft towers use fans at the point of air intake in the cooling tower to push air through the tower.
Also, depending upon how the air is directed towards the water flow, two types of towers are in existence. The first involves counter flow type cooling tower, wherein the air flow is directed upwards the fill while the water flows down the fill. Cross flow towers direct the air flow perpendicular to the water flow. Depending upon the requirements, industrial cooling towers can be of various shapes, such as box or bottle shaped towers or even rectangular in shape.
If the quality of water is not maintained properly in these towers, it can cause the formation of several types of bacteria and algae in the water. Therefore, maintaining the cooling tower regularly is very essential. Badly maintained towers can cause a disease called Legionnaires’ disease. However, proper water treatment in industrial cooling towers can prevent the development of this disease.