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Sustainability and Evaporative Cooling

John Lane

Evapco, Inc.

Its The Right Thing To Do!!!

ASHRAE GreenGuide defines Sustainable Engineering as: Providing for the needs of the present without detracting from the ability to fulfill the needs of the future.
ASHRAE is the engineering engine that drives sustainability .

Green Building Choices

Involve compromises among:
Environmental goals. Energy conservation. Raw material conservation. Innovative treatment and control methods. Cost.

Condenser Choices
Air Cooling
Economically viable on small systems. Uses no water on-site. Higher condensing temperature less energy efficient. Typically more fans and motors mechanical maintenance may be higher.

Water Cooling
Only choice on large systems. Lower condensing temperature more energy efficient. Water use at facility offset by less water use at power plant. Requires treatment of recirculated water.

Lower Condensing Temperature Yields BIG Energy Savings

Water Use at Building Offset by Reduction at Utility Plant

400-ton at 1,800 hr/yr equivalent full load
Air-Cooled @ 1.49 kWh/ton
Total kWh = 1,072,800 Utility water usage @ 2 gal /kWh = 2,145,600

Water-Cooled @ 0.94 kWh/ton

Total kWh = 676,800 Utility water usage @ 2 gal/kWh = 1,353,600 Evaporation at 80% latent = 1,036,800 Total water usage = 2,390,400

Significant CO2 Reductions

Using water-cooling on one 400ton system saves 396,000 kWh per year. US average generation is 1.55 pounds CO2/kWh Annual reductions of 307 tons CO2.

Cooling Towers
Primary Goal remove heat from water under specific conditions. Secondary Goal perform in an energy efficient, water efficient, and environmentally sound manner. Two general types of towers Counterflow and Crossflow

Cross-flow Schematic
Hot water deck Inlet air slats

Cross-flow Cooling Tower

Cross-flow Cooling Tower

Counter-flow Schematic
Drift Eliminator Spray Header Inlet Air Louvers Fill

Counter-flow Tower

Cross-flow Combination Fill & Drift Eliminator

Cross-flow Combination Air Inlet, Fill & Drift Eliminator

Counter-flow Fill

Counter-flow Drift Eliminator

Cooling Towers Conserve Water

Evaporation 12 gpm

Warm water 1,200 gpm

Air 90,000 CFM Cold water 1,184 gpm Blowdown 4 gpm

Traditional Water Treatment

Oxidizing chlorine or bromine Non-oxidizing

Corrosion Inhibitors Scale Inhibitors

Potential Release Pathways

Drift tower water droplets entrained in cooling air. Blowout/splashout wind carried tower water. Spills and Leaks Blowdown or Bleed intentional discharge of tower water. Chemical releases and emissions Noise particularly fan noise.

Entrainment of water droplets in air. Contains all the chemicals and bacteria in the tower water. Described as a % of recirculating water flow. Ranges from 0.02% to 0.001%.

400-ton Tower 1,800 hours Total Drift Drift Rate Gal/yr 0.02% 0.005% 0.001% 20,720 5,180 1,030

Excessive Drift

Legionella Transmission
Factors Temp., pH, Nutrients Microbial Associations Events 1 Survival in Reservoir (Nature) Events 7 Diagnosis of Legionnaires Disease Risk Minimization (Prevention)

Factors Symptoms Lab Tests Surveillance

Microbial Associations Nutrients Biocides System Cleanliness

2 Amplification

6 Multiply in Human Phagocytes


Temp., Humidity, Droplet Production

3 Dissemination (Aerosolization) 4 Transmission Humidity Droplet Size Distance

5 Susceptible Host Exposure

Age Disease Immunodeficiency

AWT Legionella Transmission

Basin Splashout and Spills

Uncontrolled Discharges
Strong cross winds Slat inlet air louvers with no fan load Clogged nozzles in hot-water basin Flooding at shutdown Improperly designed equalizers Old or damaged equipment

Gravity Flow Water Distribution System

If nozzles clog, basin will overflow. With slat inlet louvers water can splash out under no-fan conditions.

Spills and Splashout - Counterflow

No Overflow with Spray Headers

Water inside louvers

Overflow at Shutdown


Intentional discharge of water. Contains all the residual chemicals and microbes in the tower. Usually discharged to the sewer treatment systems (POTW). POTW discharges to rivers or generates sludges that are recycled.

Where Do the Chemicals Go?

Poor Condenser Water Piping & Practice

Dead Legs Infrequent use loops Plate and Frame Heat Exchangers Chiller Lead-Lag Protocol

Poor Equalizer Piping = Harsher Biocides

No cleanout Bottom Connection Low-flow Legs

Algae Growth Harsher Biocides

Sunlight into basin promotes algae growth

Sound Reduction Technology

Alternate Fans
5 feet above the fan 9-15 dB(A) Reduction

Choices in Evaporative Cooling

Green biocides e.g. hydrogen peroxide, ozone or non-chemical techniques. Green corrosion inhibitors instead of zinc and molybdenates. High efficiency drift eliminators. Keep sunlight off of basin and minimize dead legs. Low sound fans.

Good maintenance practices.

Water Treatment Goals

Control Biological Growth Control Scale Formation Minimize Corrosion Reasonable Cost Minimize Environmental, Health and Safety Impact
These goals are being achieved with some non-chemical methods.

Physical Water Treatment

Ashrae issued a research report on scale control in 2002. Ashrae is developing a research program to investigate biological control. A variety of technologies are commercially available some eliminate all chemical additions. Blowdown may be used for irrigation.

Pulsed-Power Water Treatment

The most successful physical water treatment technology Low power requirement Continuous water treatment of 100% of the circulating water

Pulsed Power
FDA Approved for Pasteurization. Independent Studies Sacramento Municipal Utility District Alcoa on performance in the field. Several thousand successful installations in the U.S.

Pulsed-Power Water Treatment

Solve all Three Critical Challenges of Treating Water Cooled SystemsWithout Chemicals:

Scale Corrosion


Controls Scaling

Without Pulsed-Power

With Pulsed-Power

Precipitation occurs on the seeds not on heat transfer surfaces such as chillers or condenser tubes.

Powder Formation Instead of Scale

Biological Control - Electroporation

Pulsed Electric Fields Create Holes in Cell Walls

FDA Approved Method of Cold Pasteurization

Biological Control Sedimentation

Growing particles agglomerate bacteria and other small particles.

Corrosion Control Elimination of Chemicals

Eliminates acids for scale control. Eliminates oxidizing biocides (chlorine, bromine).

Operation Characteristics
Operates at benign pH of 8.0 to 9.0. Operates at saturation of calcium carbonate. Eliminates microbial influenced corrosion (MIC).

Previous Water Treatment

Fluid cooler maintains R&D cold room. Cooler operated with chemical treatment @ 2 cycles. Heavy scale formed on tubes, basin, and louvers. Biological activity measured between 10,000 and 100,000 CFU/ml.

Pulsed-Power Treatment
Reduced blowdown by over 50%. Biological growth 1% of previous levels.
H P C C F U /m l .

Pulsed- Power Started

Biological Results
50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0
5 05 05 5 05 05 05 05 /0 5 /0 5 /0 5 05 /3 / 11 2/ 9 /8 9 /1 /6 / 8/ 5/ 5/ 9/ /2 7 /1 0 /1 3 /2 0 /0 5 /0 /0

Basin scale completely removed after 2 months. After 1 year tubes are starting to de-scale and biological control continues.

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Evaporation is the most energy efficient form of cooling. Systems with reduced noise, drift and spill potential are available. Good maintenance and operational practices are essential. The environmental impact of water treatment should be considered.