What Are Cooling Towers and How Do They Work?

Cooling towers are heat rejection machines that reject waste heat and force it into the atmosphere through the cooling of a water stream to lower temperatures. Cooling towers can either use the evaporation of water to remove process heat and cool the working fluid, or they can rely on air to cool the working fluid.

Cooling towers have a long history and have continued to develop, serving as important equipment in many types of facilities.

History of Cooling Towers

Cooling towers were first manufactured in the 1800s through the development of condensers that were to be used in steam engines. Condensers used cool water to condense the steam that came out of the turbines or cylinders, reducing back pressure to help subsequently reduce steam consumption and fuel consumption.

cooling towers

By the early 20th century, cooling towers were in use in locations with limited land such as cities, as opposed to cooling ponds used in more rural locations. These towers were placed either on building rooftops or used as free-standing structures that supplied cool air for various applications.

Today, they have gone through many advancements to make them more efficient and effective than ever before.

Uses for Cooling Towers

There are generally two main applications for cooling towers, including HVAC units that are used to facilitate air conditioning systems in various types of facilities. They are used in locations with a hot climate, hospitals, schools, and large office buildings, with one or more installed depending on the size of the facility. They are also considerably smaller than industrial cooling towers.

Industrial cooling towers, on the other hand, are used to remove heat from many types of processes in industrial facilities using industrial parts.

factory evapco

They are much larger than HVAC cooling towers and may be used to remove heat in power plants, petrochemical plants, natural gas processing plants, semiconductor plants, food processing plants, petroleum refineries, and more.

Heat Transfer Methods

There are three heat transfer methods that come with cooling towers depending on the application, including:

  • Dry cooling – These towers use a surface that separates working fluid from ambient air, such as in a tube to air heat exchanger, without evaporation.
  • Wet cooling – Operate through evaporative cooling, using working fluid and evaporated fluid.
  • Fluid (closed circuit) cooling – Hybrid towers pass working fluid through a tube bundle, which then sprays clean water with a fan-induced draft.

Using Cooling Towers in a Facility

If you need to keep a facility cool or remove heat during manufacturing or other industrial processes, a cooling tower is a potentially crucial element that can keep facilities both safe and comfortable.

Without the use of cooling towers, many types of facilities would remain vulnerable to overheating, with dangerous levels of heat in many instances. To protect equipment and employees alike, installing one or more cooling towers is a necessary step.

With the right cooling tower professionals behind your purchase and installation, you can benefit from the use of an effective cooling tower that performs the way you need it to.

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