Water loss with cooling towers is often evaluated due to evaporation, leaks and unintentional overflow, though intentional loss of water through blowdown should be carefully considered, since the practice is attributed to significant expenses that include bleed, blowdown to sewer, chemicals that are also purged, and makeup water. Most cooling towers are not operated in a manner that maximizes cycles of concentration (COC) to minimize water losses. The vast majority of cooling towers over 50 tons are equipped with conductivity sensors or flow-based controls intended to control the level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the tower water. Common practice involves purging water with TDS levels below the point where scale forms due to supersaturation, while adding chemicals to enhance performance. Cooling tower system water chemistry is managed to control three main concerns:
- Corrosion, and
- Biological fouling
Chemistry is a large component of annual operating costs, along with energy and makeup water/ disposal. HydroFLOW electronic water conditioning provides measurable reduction in water, chemistry and energy expenses each day. HydroFLOW creates a 150 kHz frequency that causes TDS scale to cluster in the water rather than on pipes, and enhances sidestream filtration. HydroFLOW controls bacteria and algae formation, and prevents corrosion within systems. HydroFLOW does not eliminate chemicals, but will reduce their volume up to 70%, along with increased cycles of concentration, resulting in the reduction of water consumption up to 50%. Direct and embedded energy consumption is reduced in cooling towers due to a decrease in scaling and improved heat transfer.
The use of controls to achieve maximum achievable cycles of concentration is fundamental to efficient operations. With HydroFLOW causing TDS to form into total suspended solids (TSS) that will not form into hard scale, the conductivity of water can safely double without affecting the efficiency of the water. In this way, using conductivity to activate blowdown should be adjusted or replaced with another measurement that will preserve the water from being blown down unnecessarily. As the TDS clusters are attracted to one another, their size increases which allows the filter to remove them, which reduces hardness without use of a water softener.
The COC associated with cooling towers is able to increase safely which saves up to 50% of makeup water and disposal costs, along with chemistry expenses. Operators are able to improve efficiencies and extend the time between maintenance shutdowns.
HydroFLOW devices operate on less than $15 of electricity per year, and are installed on the exterior of a pipe without cutting or interrupting operations. Great progress has occurred since early applications of magnets were applied to control scale on short segments of pipes. HydroFLOW uses AC current which is 30,000 times more powerful than DC magnets, and the patented signal extends throughout a water system to control scale, bacteria and corrosion. HydroFLOW is a sustainable water technology that can earn LEED points for energy efficiency on both existing buildings and new designs.
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