How Industrial Cooling Towers Work


Voc removal evaporative

The industrial manufacturing and refining processes produce a lot of heat. So where does that heat actually go? The answer is that it’s removed from the system and into the atmosphere via industrial cooling towers, and the process is basically the same as the one used by your home’s HVAC system. Read on to find out a little more about how these ingenious inventions work:

What Are Cooling Towers?

Cooling towers are related to the condensing process first developed for use in steam engines. They use the concept of heat exchange to move heat out of a workstream (a liquid, like water or oil) and into the atmosphere. There are essentially two kinds of towers in use today: wet and dry cooling towers. In the first system, evaporative cooling towers are used such that excess heat in the workstream is used as the energy source to evaporate water. In dry cooling towers, the workstream is exposed to the ambient air through special pipes, and the principles of surface heat transfer allow that heat to be removed (“rejected”) into the atmosphere.

How Big Are Industrial Cooling Towers?

Cooling towers vary in size from the small rooftop units used as part of home HVAC systems to the giant towers used at industrial plants. These industrial towers are generally hyperboloid in shape (meaning they get narrower in the middle). The largest cooling towers in the world are over 200 meters (656 feet) tall.

Are Cooling Towers Contributing to Pollution?

One of the biggest misconceptions people get about cooling towers (probably because they just rely on what they see when passing by industrial plants, rather than actually researching the topic) is that the substance rising out of what appear to be chimneys is smoke or exhaust. But if the tower is a cooling tower, what’s actually rising is merely condensed steam; that cloud isn’t harmful pollution, but rather vapor identical to the clouds in the sky.

Do you have any other questions about air cooling towers? Ask in the comments.

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