Cooling Tower Selection Criteria: What Professionals Need to Know

Choosing the right cooling tower is more than just finding a large box that blows air over water. It’s about ensuring the selected system meets specific needs while optimizing resource use and minimizing environmental impact. The importance of the right cooling tower lies in its ability to effectively manage heat dissipation, maintain optimal operating conditions, and uphold environmental standards. By selecting the appropriate chiller cooling tower design and technology, businesses can align their operations with environmental goals while safeguarding long-term viability and resilience. 

What is the Purpose of Cooling Tower? 

The aim of a cooling tower is to effectively discharge heat generated in industrial applications or air conditioning systems by transferring the heat from hot water or other fluids to the ambience. Machines created for power generation, manufacturing, chemical processing and HVAC systems in buildings, do heat a lot during operation. Cooling towers represent a way out for the problem to be solved by providing for heat exchange between heated water flowing through the equipment and the atmosphere around. Hot water is being pumped through the tower while being exposed to the moving stream of air as a result of which some percentage of the water vaporizes, absorbing heat from the rest and reducing its temperature in the process. It helps stabilize the temperatures of the equipment and boost its durability, production efficiency and smooth functioning of industrial and HVAC systems. 

Types of Cooling Towers

To fit the diverse needs of various industries, there is a large variety of the types of cooling towers based on multiple factors. Let us learn about the different categories of towers and their functions. 

Open Circuit vs. Closed Circuit

Open circuit cooling towers directly expose water to the atmosphere. Water flows over a fill material while air is drawn through the tower, causing some water to evaporate and dissipate heat. Water treatment and filtration are often required to maintain water quality and prevent fouling of equipment. They are generally less efficient compared to closed circuit towers because of water loss through evaporation and drift.

Closed circuit cooling towers keep the water completely enclosed within a heat exchanger or coil system. Closed circuit cooling towers are generally preferred for applications where water conservation and precise temperature control are important factors. Since the water is enclosed, closed circuit towers are less susceptible to contamination from external sources.

Counterflow vs. Crossflow

Counterflow cooling tower design allows for efficient heat exchange between the hot water entering the tower and the cooler air flowing upward. These towers typically have a more compact design, making them suitable for installations in areas with limited space. They generally have lower water carryover rates and are less susceptible to freezing in cold climates. 

In a crossflow cooling tower, the flow of air and water is perpendicular to each other. It facilitates effective heat exchange between the hot water entering the tower and the air flowing horizontally. Air enters the tower through the sides and flows horizontally across the fill material. These towers are often preferred for large-scale industrial applications due to their flexibility in design and capacity. 

Key Factors Impacting Cooling Tower Selection

Selecting the right industrial chiller requires thorough consideration and verification of multiple factors. Below, we have listed a detailed look into the various properties that influence the selection of a cooling tower. 

Heat Load Calculation

Heat load refers to the amount of heat that needs to be removed from a particular system or process to maintain the desired temperature. Calculating this measure helps engineers to determine the cooling capacity needed to offset this heat generation. By knowing the upper threshold of heat load, you can select cooling towers that efficiently remove heat without overburdening natural resources or contributing to environmental pollution. Additionally, accurate heat load calculation enables engineers to anticipate future cooling requirements, allowing for scalability and flexibility in system design. This is particularly important in industries experiencing growth or changes in production processes, where the cooling demand may vary over time. 

Water Flow Rate and Temperature Requirements

Water flow rate and temperature requirements have a direct impact on the tower’s performance, energy efficiency, and overall effectiveness in heat dissipation. The water flow rate determines the amount of water that needs to be cooled within a specific time frame. Insufficient flow rates can lead to inadequate cooling, causing equipment to operate at higher temperatures than optimal, which can reduce efficiency and potentially damage machinery over time. Choosing a tower that can efficiently handle the required flow rates while effectively reducing the temperature of the circulating water ensures optimal performance, energy efficiency, and equipment longevity in industrial processes. 

Material Selection and Corrosion Resistance

Cooling towers are often exposed to water, air, and various chemicals, which can accelerate the corrosion process if the materials are not carefully chosen. Additionally, the exposure to outdoor elements such as rain, humidity, and temperature fluctuations can further contribute to corrosion. Therefore, selecting materials with excellent corrosion resistance properties is essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of the cooling tower. Some common examples of the most widely used materials include stainless steel, fiberglass-reinforced plastics (FRP), or galvanized steel with protective coatings. These materials offer resistance to rust, oxidation, and chemical degradation, thereby minimizing maintenance requirements and extending the operational lifespan of the cooling tower. 

Noise Considerations

Noise is an important factor to consider when selecting an industrial cooling tower. Excessive noise from these towers can disturb workers, affecting their productivity and well-being. It can also annoy nearby residents. Additionally, noise pollution from cooling towers can harm the surrounding environment and wildlife. To address these concerns, noise barriers or acoustic enclosures can be installed around cooling towers. This helps contain and reduce noise levels, ensuring compliance with regulations and minimizing disturbances to workers and residents. Moreover, conducting thorough noise assessments and incorporating noise mitigation strategies during the design and installation phase is crucial to effectively address potential noise issues.

Energy Efficiency Features

Energy efficient features are among the most important parameters for the choice of an industrial cooling tower as they significantly are able to save operation costs, be more environmentally friendly, and lead to overall system performance. A cooling tower’s energy efficiency is directly related to the amount of energy used by the auxiliary equipment and the overall power consumption. Elements like the tower design, the fill material, heat exchange, and the fan system as well as the control systems play a role in the optimization of energy efficiency. By selecting a cooling tower that is energy efficient, the industrial unit’s energy consumption can be reduced, resulting in decreased operational costs and, ultimately, increased profitability over time. Moreover, energy-saving cooling towers contribute to environmental sustainability in lowering the greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere through electricity generation. They also play a role to facilitate achieving regulatory requirements such as energy efficiency and environmental standards. 

Maintenance and Accessibility

Ensuring the maintenance and accessibility of the cooling system are crucial because of their connection to the components effectiveness, lifespan, and better performance. A well-serviced cooling tower is a key to achieve the maximum efficiency of heat transfer, directly influencing the productivity of industrial process equipment and its energy consumption. Accessibility is also an integral part of many maintenance activities which include cleaning, inspection, and repair. A cooling tower which is easy to approach allows technical personnel to quickly execute the routine tasks, inspect crucial components and fix potential problems right away. Furthermore, accessibility may be the cause of safety concerns for maintenance men, because it makes working easier and reduces the chances of accidents and injuries during maintenance procedures.

Choosing an Efficient Industrial Chiller

As we read above, deciding to buy an industrial chiller requires an evaluation of various working factors. Making a carefully assessed choice based on these factors can help you access a variety of benefits. 

  • Efficient industrial chillers consume less energy, resulting in lower operational costs and reduced environmental impact.
  • Reduced energy consumption leads to lower utility bills and operational expenses, resulting in significant cost savings over time.
  • Chillers work to maintain stable temperatures, ensuring consistent performance and productivity of industrial processes and equipment.
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions contribute to a smaller environmental footprint, aligning with sustainability goals. 
  • Efficient chillers maintain optimal temperatures in commercial and industrial buildings, ensuring comfort for occupants and employees.
  • Investing in efficient chillers demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices, enhancing brand reputation and customer perception.

Explore CES Chillers Solutions For Effortless Cooling

Selecting the most appropriate cooling tower supplier can be a deciding factor in the proper functioning and effectiveness of your industrial system. At Complete Engineered Solutions, we are a market leader in the manufacture and supply of cooling tower solutions designed to fit the individual requirements of the client. Our commitment to innovation and energy efficiency, among others, as well as our unconditionally customer-driven nature, we constantly surpass expectations at every turn. Visit our website to learn about our services.