A cooling tower is an integral part of the wastewater treatment process. In most cases, this is performed by controlling the temperature of liquid through direct contact with cool air or water. Cooling towers can be either mechanical or natural in function – for natural cooling methods, water typically flows down a tower, rising as it does so and allowing for the transfer of heat from it into the atmosphere via evaporative cooling via evaporation, radiation and convection.
Mechanical cooling towers use forced air to ventilate the system, typically using electric motors and fans to create air movement that reaches down into the tank where the liquid cools itself against outside temperatures. The process works by providing energy to evaporate some of the water contained in the tank, thus dissipating heat and removing thermal energy from the liquid. Cooling towers vary greatly in size depending on their application; large industrial systems can use up to 600 tons of fan-generated airflow while more common domestic models only require less than 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm). With larger installations, multiple fans are used to speed up the efficiency of coolant exchange.
Cooling towers are essential components of many industries today, existing in places such as data centers and power stations to aid with cooling systems and minimize downtime due to overheating. If a system becomes too warm for optimal performance, a cooling tower can reduce costs associated with replacing potentially damaged equipment or dealing with costly maintenance procedures. Furthermore, these machines help reduce greenhouse gas emissions released when running electrical equipment which could otherwise contribute to global warming. Proper maintenance is also critical for ensuring that a unit functions optimally —for instance, checking fluid levels in addition to inspecting for buildup on impellers or fan blades will maximize a unit’s efficiency and lifespan.