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Optimization of Cooling Towers

Prof. Dr. Javaid Rabbani Khan

Introduction:

Cooling towers are used to reduce the temperature of a water stream by extracting heat from water and emitting it to the atmosphere.

Main types of cooling tower are:


Natural draft or Hyperbolic Cross flow tower Counter flow tower
Mechanical draft Forced draft Induced draft

cooling tower

Cross flow natural draft cooling tower:

Counter flow natural draft cooling tower:

Forced draft cooling tower:

Induced draft tower:

Optimized cooling towers:


Cooling tower is a water-to-air heat exchanger Change in load causes the change in water and air flow rates In optimized cooling towers both flows are controlled by variable speed devices e.g. pumps etc

Savings due to variable speed devices:

Goal of cooling tower optimization:

Optimization of cooling tower is carried out by:


Maximizing

the amount of heat discharged into air per unit of operating cost invested the unit cost of cooling by minimizing the operating speed of cooling tower fans and pumps

Minimizing

Minimizing unit cost of cooling by minimizing operating speeds of CT fans and pumps:

Minimizing Operating Cost:

Cost of fan operation can be reduced by:


Rising

cooling tower water temperature Increasing the approach (TctwsTwb) at which the tower operates

The approach can be increased to a point at which the fans are off and their operating cost is zero.

Optimum Approach:
As the approach rises, the temp difference across all process coolers (TpTctws) is reduced In order to reduce the process temp. Tp, more and more water must be pumped Consequently the pumping costs will rise.

Total operating cost can be minimized by controlling the range of the cooling tower at the value that corresponds to the minimum cost of operation

Supply Temperature Optimization:


An optimization control loop is required to maintain the cooling tower water supply continuously at an economical minimum temperature This minimum temperature is a function of the wet-bulb temperature of the atmospheric air

Optimum approach Ao:

Optimum approach is the one that will result in a minimum total cost operation It will increase if the:
Load

on the cooling tower increases Or Ambient wet-bulb temperature decreases

Acan be obtained by continuous throttling if:


Cooling

tower fans are centrifugal units or Blade pitch is variable

Benefits of Optimization:

Load-following optimization benefits because:


All

cooling water valves in the plant are opened up as the water P across the users is minimized Valve cycling is reduced and Pumping costs are lowered

Valve cycling is eliminated when valve openings are moved away from the unstable region near the closed position

Starting Additional Pumps:

Additional pump increments are started when the pump speed controller set point is at its maximum When the load is dropping, the excess pump increments can be stopped on the basis of flow In order to eliminate pump cycling, the excess pumping increment is only turned off when the actual total flow corresponds to less than 90% of the capacity of the remaining pumps

Return Water Distribution and Balancing:

It is desirable to automatically distribute return water flows to the various cells by operating their associated fans Water flows to all cells whose fans are at high speed should be equal and high Cells with their fans off should receive water at equal minimum flow rates. The normal water flow rate ranges from 2 gpm to 5 gpm per ton when the fan is at full speed

Relationship between water flow and water temperature (Tctws) or approach:

Water distribution balancing is often done manually, but it can also be done automatically as shown:

Cont

In above figure the total flow is used as the set point of the ratio flow controllers If the ratio settings are the same, the total flow is equally distributed Ratio settings can be changed manually or automatically to reflect changes in fan speeds Naturally, the total of the ratio settings must always be 1.

Cont

The purpose of the control system in above figure is to:


distribute

the returning water between the cells correctly make sure that this is done at minimum cost

Cost of pumping will be minimum when the pressure drop through the distribution control valves is minimum.

CONCLUSIONS:

The operating cost of cooling tower motors, fans and pumps can be cut in half by optimization. Optimization is achieved by meeting the variable cooling load of the plant by the minimum water and air flows that are needed. Optimization also can include the cost-effective balancing of the distribution of the returning water among the tower cells.

Cont

A desirable side effect of optimization is the automatic indication of design defects:


in

pipe valve sizing and the increased level of safety, by making sure that no process cooling load is ever neglected.

Cooling tower specification sheet

Cont

Voidage Packing Correlation


(9 - 129)

where

L' = total water flow, Ib/hr N' = no. of deck levels in tower t1 = water temperature at bottom of tower,0F t2 = water temperature at top of tower, 0F tL = water temperature of bulk of water, 0F v = tower volume, ft3/ft2 plan area iG = enthalpy of air saturated at wet bulb temperature, Btu/lb dry air iL = enthalpy of air saturated at bulk water temperature, Btu/Ib dry air K = overall enthalpy transfer coefficiem, lb/hr (ft2 transfer area) (lb water/lb dry air)

Values of A & n

Ground Area VS Height

The economics of forced and induced draft cooling tower operation require a study of fan and water pump horsepower and usually dictate a fan static pressure requirement not to exceed 0.75-1.0 in. of water. Pritchard presents an estimating curve indicating that as packed height varies from 12-40 ft, the economics of ground area suggest a G, of 2,000-1,400 respectively, being slightly less than a straight line function.

Pressure losses

The tower pressure losses are: (1) tower packing or fill (70-80% of loss) (2) air inlet if induced draft (3) mist eliminators at top (4) air direction change losses and entrance to packing on forced draft units. These losses are a function of air velocity, number and spacing of packing decks, liquid rate and the relation between L and G,.

Cont

The pressure drop for a given number and type of packing deck is expressed

Pressure drop values, P//N/, per individual deck range from 0.003-0.006 in. water for low L/ and G, rates to 0.03-0.06 in. water for high L/ (3,500) and G, (2,000) rates Typical pressure drop curve is shown below

Pressure Drop Curve

Fan Horsepower for Mechanical Draft Tower


BHP = F psa/(6,356) (0.50) Where F = actual cfm at fan inlet, ft3/min ps = total static pressure of fan, in. of water

This relation includes a 50% static efficiency of the fan and gear losses, assuming a gear drive Economical tower sizes usually require fan horsepower between 0.05 and 0.58 hp/ft2 of ground plan area and motors larger than 75 hp are not often used due to inability to obtain the proper fans and gears in the space required.

Water Rates and Distribution

Water distribution must give uniform water flow over the tower packing. Many towers use a gravity feed system discharging the water through troughs and ceramic, metalor plastic nozzles. Other systems use pressure nozzles discharging upward, before falling back over the packing. This latter method requires more pumping head due to the pressure required at the nozzles. Water rates usually run from 1 to 3.5 gpm/ft2 of ground plan area.

Blow Down and Contamination Build-up

the circulating water evaporates in passing through the tower, the evaporated water vapor is pure. This leaves behind and creates a concentration effect for solids material dissolved in the remaining water. This concentration can aggravate the heat transfer surfaces and develop corrosive conditions on many mechanical and structural parts of the tower. To control and limit this build-up, a certain amount of liquid is blown down to expel the concentrated material and this quantity is replaced with fiesh make-up water

Cont

The level to which the contamination can concentrate in the circulating water is

And the rate of blow down is

Cont
Where C = contaminant level in circulating water; number of concentration ratios E = rate of evaporation, gpm (if not accurately known evaporation can be approximated by multiplying total water rate in gpm times the cooling range (OF) times 0.0008).

E (est)- (gpmT) (CR) (0.0008)


gpmT = total cooling tower water flow rate, gpm, (incoming to be cooled by tower) DL = drift loss, water lost from tower system entrained in exhaust air stream, measured as (a) % of circulating water rate, gpm, or (b) more precise an L/G parameter and drift becomes pounds of water per million pounds of exhaust air; for estimating

Cont
DL= (gpmT, as water flow rate) (0.0002) CR = cooling range,OF, difference between hot water into tower and cold water from the tower, 0F B = rate of blowdown, gpm. (Because an acceptable level of concentration has usually been predetermined, the operator is more concerned with the amount of blowdown necessary to maintain the concentration, L/G = ratio of total mass flow of water and dry air in cooling tower, Ib/lb

Guidelines for Cooling Tower Recirculating Water

pH -Ideally 6.5-8.0; pH as low as 5.0 is acceptable if galvanized steel is not present. Chlorides -Maximum 750 pprn (as NaCl) for galvanized steel; maximum 1,500 pprn for Type 300 stainless steel; maximum 4,000 pprn for Type 316 stainless steel; silicon bronze is the preferred material if chlorides exceed 4,000 ppm. Calcium -In general, calcium (as CaCO3) below 800 pprn should not result in calcium sulfate scale. In arid climates, however, the critical level may be much lower. For calcium carbonate scaling tendencies, calculate the Langelier Saturation Index or the Ryznar Stability Index. Sulfates -If calcium exceeds 800 ppm, sulfates should be limited to 800 ppm, less in arid climates, to prevent scale. Otherwise, asulfate level up to 5,000 ppm is acceptable.

Cont

Silica -Generally, limit silica to 150 ppm as Si02 to prevent silica scale. Iron -Limit to 3 ppm. Note that excessive concentrations of iron may stain cooling tower components, but these stains are not the result of any rust or corrosion. Manganese -Limit to 0.1 ppm. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) -Over 5,000 pprn can adversely affect thermal performance and may be detrimental to wood in the alternately wet/dry areas of the tower. Suspended Solids -Limit to 150 pprn if the solids are abrasive. Avoid film fill if solids are fibrous, greasy, fatty, or tarry. Oil and Grease -Over 10 pprn will cause noticeable thermal performance loss. Ammonia -Limit to 50 ppm if copper alloys are present.

Cont

Nutrients -Nitrates, ammonia, oils, glycols, alcohols, sugars, and phosphates can promote growth of algae and slime. This growth can cause tower problems, particularly with film fill Organic Solvents -These can attack plastics and should be avoided. Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)-Limit BOD to 25 ppm, particularly if suspended solids exceed 25 ppm. Sulfides -Should be limited to 1 ppm. Langelier Saturation Index -Ideally, maintain between -0.5 and +0.5 A negative LSI indicates corrosion tendenciesA positive LSI indicates CaC03 scaling tendencies.

Preliminary Design Estimate of New Tower


1. Determine the inlet water temperature to the tower. This is approximately the outlet temperature from the cooling water load. 2.Determine the heat load to be performed by the tower, based on required water inlet and outlet temperatures and flow rates. 3. Establish the wet bulb temperature for the air at the geographical site of the tower. 4. Prepare a plot of the saturation curve for air-water. Establish the operating line by starting at the point set by the outlet cold water temperature and the enthalpy of air at the wet bulb temperature, and with a slope L/Ga assumed between 0.9 and 2.7

Cont
5. Graphically integrate, by plotting l/h-h vs. t, reading (hh) from the operating-equilibrium line plot for various values of temperature 6. The value of the integral is equal to the number of transfer units, so set it equal to Equation 9-129 and solve for the number of decks needed, N 7. If the number of decks required is unreasonable from a height standpoint, the procedure must be repeated using a new assumed L/Ga, or a new approach, or a new wet bulb temperature, or some combination of these. 8. For the assumed L/Ga and known L, calculate the required air rate Ga.

Graphical integration to determine number of transfer units

Performance Evaluation of Existing Tower


1. Because the heat load, L, Ga and temperatures are known for an operating tower, its performance as represented by the number of transfer units, or tower characteristics can be determined. Solve Equation 9-129 for Ka V/L, or use the modified Merkel diagram, Figure 9-127. This is the number of transfer units operating in the tower.

Calculation of KaV/L factor

Comparison of cooling efficiency of several packing materials in terms of the coefficient of heat transfer Ka.

Cont
2. If it is desired to evaluate a change in performance on an existing tower, knowing the required conditions and numbers of decks and kind of packing, calculate KaV/L for we assumed values of L/Ga. 3. Plot this on the appropriate curve (good up to altitudes of 3,000 ft) for KaV/L vs. L/Ga for the proper wet bulb, range and at the intersection of the straight line plot with the approach value selected or needed, read the L/Ga required to meet the performance conditions. 4. Calculate the new Ga assuming that L is the important value known. If on the other hand, it is desired to determine just how much cooling can be obtained, then for a fixed air rate, calculate the L that can be accommodated.