With the growing complexity of cities today, the need for power and other resources is getting bigger and bigger. To supply all of these needs, power plants, oil refineries, and other massive processing plants are being set up all over the country. One of the necessary components to keep these plants in good working order is the cooling tower.
What are cooling tower operations
A cooling tower is a structure that removes waste heat. The process of temperature cooling makes use primarily of evaporation. Evaporation only occurs when heat is applied on water. With enough heat, water is transformed into gas. During the transformation, however, heat itself is dissipated and once the water condenses into liquid form, the heat waste is effectively removed.
Open cooling tower operations
There are two major cooling tower designs. The open cooling tower, which is also called a direct cooling tower, works by allowing hot water to flow into a fill. Air will then blow down from powerful fans, which then travels over the water causing the water to cool down through the process of evaporation. These types of cooling towers are called open because evaporation is allowed to seep out of the structure and into the open atmosphere. Once the water has cooled down, it is returned to the condenser where it gathers heat again. The most common types of cooling towers are the hyperbolic towers, which are giant structures that are built on site and shaped like a tube with a pinched center. These are designed for major plants, refineries, and factories that consume plenty of energy and fuel.
Closed cooling tower operations
Closed cooling systems, on the other hand, do not allow water to leave the system, or the cooling structure. A cooling coil is used instead. These tubes can be as massive as 15 feet in diameter, depending on the type of plant that uses it. The cooling coil is connected to the condenser which pushes out the hot water that contains the waste heat. Shower heads attached to a cooling pump and water chiller around the cooling tower spray the tubes with water. Combined with the draft coming from fans, air and cool water on the surface of the warm cooling coils creates evaporation. The heat, therefore, is transferred from the water in the coils to the water in the cooling tower. By the time the condenser water reaches the end of the tube, it is cool enough to be redirected back to the plant where it will pick up heat again.
A cooling tower is a mechanism for ensuring that structures such as power plants, oil depots and refineries do not overheat and malfunction. This is particular critical since there are a number of plants that are based on nuclear energy or have radioactive components involved which makes plant failures and accidents major environmental hazards as well. Also, even just a few hours of disrupted work can mean hours of power outage for a city. With a regular maintenance, however, the cooling tower will work perfectly well.
Through cooling towers, you get to enjoy the benefits of electricity, plastics, and even gasoline, as well as most of the other products of modern day living.