The approach of summer is a good time to check the performance and, more importantly, the physical condition of your cooling towers. After all, it’s easier to repair a tower when weather conditions don’t put a strain on its cooling capacity.
A cooling tower passes air over tiny droplets or the exposed surface of a water film. In both cases, a small amount of water is vaporized, drawing the latent heat from the remaining liquid water, reducing its temperature. Splash fill continuously breaks up droplets of water dropping down the tower; the fill is arranged so the droplets fall from one splash bar to the next, avoiding agglomeration. Film fill spreads the liquid out on highly wetted plastic, exposing the maximum surface area to the air stream. The amount of water vaporized depends on the airflow over the droplets or film and the ambient wet bulb temperature. As the wet bulb temperature approaches the sensible temperature, the capacity of the air to absorb vapor reduces. This, in turn, increases the temperature of water leaving the tower.
You often can observe the condition of the fill from the face of the tower. Concentrations of flow can indicate water maldistribution, which can stem from either blockage or missing distribution devices. Sagging or missing fill may be visible as well.
Along the Gulf Coast, ambient weather conditions may strain a cooling tower even in the winter; a poorly functioning tower could pose significant issues in the summer. A walk-around followed by a quick performance test can avoid summer headaches.
Learn From Jake
It was a very hot August in Texas. Jake had been called in to help diagnose a condenser problem. The plant made a component used in a downstream facility and a drop in its output was curtailing production downstream. Jake took a quick look at the condenser operator screen. The unit condensed the exhaust steam from the process compressor’s steam turbine drive. The compressor was experiencing reduced flow, decreasing plant production.
Jake immediately recognized that the inlet cooling tower water significantly exceeded design temperature. Ambient conditions were high but the temperature was much greater than the design approach temperature. A quick check at the local weather bureau confirmed his expectation.
As Jake set up temperature loggers, calibrated the night before, he also surveyed the condition of the fill. The plant engineer assigned to help him indicated that upgrading the splash fill to a new design was in process. That design, suggested in a recent research paper, promised to drop the approach temperature. The splash fill bars would be installed parallel instead of perpendicular to the flow. The tower was a cross-flow design, meaning the air flowed perpendicular to the down flow of the water droplets. Jake thought the idea made sense.
As they made their survey, Jake noted that he was puzzled by the lack of fill in the front face of the tower. The plant engineer responded that the installer had said the more-efficient design required less fill. That seemed questionable to Jake; a performance test of the three cells verified the tower was the problem. One unconverted cell was at design performance. Fortunately, available performance records confirmed the tower had performed to design in the past.
Jake then contacted the author of the research paper, who indicated the same amount of fill was needed to achieve the desired approach.
The threat of a lawsuit persuaded the installer to complete the installation with the right amount of fill. Temporary cooling towers were brought in to get the plant through the August/September hot spell. Production was increased and no downstream sales were lost.
So, check the performance and condition of your towers right now. If you’ve upgraded or even replaced the fill, ensure you got what’s required. Also, it’s a good idea to spend time with the installer’s team to verify they understand the job and to ensure quality. Contact reputable sources for information if you don’t understand what they are doing or proposing
Tiger Cool Express, an intermodal firm specializing in temperature-controlled freight, announced that it has received commitments for significant additional funding from private equity backers Tiger Infrastructure Partners and Barings.
“This capital infusion will allow TCX to continue its fast growth trajectory and facilitate TCX’s goal of becoming the leading provider of temperature-controlled intermodal service in North America,” said Finkbiner.
The company also announced that CEO Tom Finkbiner has been named chairman of TCX. Finkbiner will continue to serve as CEO until a successor is named. TCX has also named a new company president, Larry Shugart, who previously held roles at Worley Parsons and CSX.
“Since founding TCX in 2013, we have built a world-class business with almost $100 million in revenues, a fleet of over 700 state of the art refrigerated containers, a diversified group of customers, sophisticated IT infrastructure, and critical long-term rail operations,” said Finkbiner. “Larry’s hire comes on the back of a number of internal promotions and hires in sales and operations as we continue to strengthen our organization.”
Tank container leasing group Peacock Container announces the purchase of 10-off 31.000 litre
tank containers made of Composite. Peacock is the first leasing company offering these innovative light weight tanks manufactured by Tankwell in The Netherlands.
The composite swap body tanks are 25% to 40% lighter compared to conventional stainless steel tanks. The tare weight of a 31.000 litre tank container is only 2.250 kg. This results in an increased payload and less movements. Composite also provides decreased heat conductivity and gives a 40% better insulation performance. Therefore, the need for additional heating during transport or re-heating of the product can also be reduced remarkably. Furthermore the method of manufacture gives a seamless inner vessel which bears an improved clean ability of the tanks.
“In line with market developments the tanks are equipped with stainless steel valves and all the latest safety features like full walkways, a handrail and a ground operated airline. These composite swap bodies fit very well in our strategy to offer a wide assortment of (specialized) ISO tanks to our customers. And to be specific, we also see in our market the search for CO2 reduction. Peacock strategically aims to take a progressive role and tank containers made of composite answer this development” says Jesse Vermeijden, Managing Director of Peacock.
“The composite Tankwell tank containers have undergone various impact and static tests and are certified to European regulations of safe transport (ADR/RID/CSC/IMO-4). In addition, due to the chosen resin (Aliancys/DSM) the tanks are compliant with EU Food regulation, which makes them suitable to load a wide range of chemicals and food grade products. From various European clients we have already got positive feed back about this extension of our range of products, concludes Jesse Vermeijden.