Sidestream Filtration: Reasons to Filter Cooling Tower Water

Industries like power plants, manufacturing facilities and petroleum refineries use cooling towers to remove heat from buildings. The towers pull in hot water used by various types of machinery and cool it down so that the water can either be re-used or evaporated. They’re great assets to larger buildings because they’re energy-efficient, ensure smooth processing of operations and lengthen the service life of the equipment.

However, if cooling water is left untreated, there will be organic growth, fouling, scaling and corrosion within the cooling tower. This reduces plant productivity, causes plant downtime, and will require costly replacements in the future.

Cleaner water means decreased deposits, translating into greater heat transfer and lower energy usage. The best way to treat water in cooling towers is to adopt filtration technologies like sidestream filtration.

Here’s a breakdown of how industrial companies benefit from this cooling tower water treatment system.

Reduces Operating and Maintenance Costs

Businessman computing operating costsTraditional methods of cleaning a cooling tower include draining it and shoveling sediments from the sump. This incurs costs for labour, lost water and chemicals.

Savings in energy and maintenance is significant with the installation of sidestream filtration technology. With a filtration system, the fine particles are filtered through the apparatus, removing abrasive suspended solids that aid in erosion and corrosion. Sidestream filtration yields cleaner components and improved results in the chemical treatment program. It also reduces maintenance costs and chemical consumption over time.

Less Downtime = Increased Productivity

Even a small increase in productivity and reduced maintenance requirements can result in huge savings. Many industries use sidestream filtration because it helps prolong the lifespan of the cooling system, maintain heat transfer efficiencies and keep the tower running with less downtime.

Additionally, when a cooling system is fouled, production may slow down due to inefficient heat exchange equipment. In most cases, the cooling system and heat exchange equipment should be taken offline for repairs, decreasing productivity rate. Sidestream filtration can be cleaned while the cooling systems are online, avoiding the need for planned downtime and disruption to operations.

Minimises Risk of Legionella Bacteria

In Australia, the government requires operators to register their cooling tower systems to ensure high maintenance standards and to minimise the incidence of water-based bacteria such as Legionella. This is because cooling towers contain pools of warm water that are open to the atmosphere, making them potential breeding grounds for Legionella bacteria when they are not properly sterilised and maintained. Legionella bacteria cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe and often lethal form of pneumonia.

Centrifugal separators alone cannot eliminate very small low-density particles that provide habitat and nutrients to bacteria. Installing a sidestream filtration system reduces the likelihood of Legionella infection because they are able to remove low-density organic particles from the water. Additionally, with sidestream filtration, particulate matter remain suspended in the water for easier removal when it passes through the filter. This cleansing process allows the biocide or other treatment processes to be much more effective, improving the bacterial control in the cooling water system.

Sidestream filtration systems are invaluable parts of a cooling tower. Industries benefit from them because they improve water quality, mechanical efficiency and overall operating costs.