01/24/2022 | Cooling Tower Water Treatment | 6 MINUTE READ

Process Cooling Water (PCW) and Industrial Applications

In the course of an industrial process, it’s common for a considerable amount of heat to be generated. If left unchecked, this heat could damage equipment and parts throughout the facility. Process cooling water is a method of creating chilled water to help get rid of ambient or process heat. Whether you work in a food processing facility or manufacturing facility, a process cooling water system will likely be necessary. This type of water is also used in the power generation industry. If the industrial process in question causes heat to increase, process cooling water may be used to keep temperature increases at bay.
Process cooling water is applied in any situation that requires constant and accurate control of process temperatures. For instance, it’s regularly used in cooling towers. It’s possible for process cooling water systems to deliver cooling capacity even when heat load, flow requirement, and ambient temperature changes occur. The primary applications that process cooling water is used for include:
-Glycol cooling systems
-Furnace cooling water systems
-Water source heat units
-Closed-loop water
-Deionized process cooling water, which can be either open or closed
When process cooling water is properly applied, unwanted heat can be safely removed from the process. By removing unwanted heat, it’s considerably easier to make sure that the process continues in an efficient, reliable, and safe manner. This article provides a comprehensive overview of process cooling water and why it’s used for many different industrial applications.

Why Use Process Cooling?

process cooling water
In most industrial processes, heat load must be properly managed to ensure that the equipment isn’t damaged and that the processes can be completed without issue. Keep in mind that different components may need cooling depending on the process and application. The main cooling areas extend to:
Directly cooling a product – This type of cooling applies to plastic throughout the molding process and metal products in machining applications.
Cooling a certain process – This cooling occurs in chemical reaction vessels and the fermentation of lager and beer.
Machine cooling – This cooling applies to treatment ovens, hydraulic gearbox and circuit cooling, and laser cutting and welding machinery.
Accurate heat management is usually necessary to ensure the integrity of the process as well as the final product. The primary goals when using process cooling water include:
-Improving the safety of all types of industrial processes
-Reducing the amount of wear and tear that occurs with machinery
-Lessening maintenance costs by reducing damage
-Preventing product spillage, which typically occurs after overheating issues
-Improving the overall quality of finished products
-Making the process more efficient in regards to energy usage
-Improving the speed at which production occurs, which is done by preventing overheating and lessening cooling lag time

Top 5 Energy Efficiency Measures for Process Cooling Systems

process cooling water systems
The majority of process cooling water systems make use of industrial chillers, which are able to effectively remove heat from glycol or water. This process allows for the water to be effectively chilled and for the heat to dissipate. These systems require energy to operate. If the system is poorly maintained or uses older components, it may be inefficient, which means that it will use too much energy.
There are two methods that can be used to make a process cooling system more efficient. You can either purchase more efficient components for the system or buy a system with better efficiency altogether. When taking a system-level approach, every component within the process cooling system should be designed with efficiency in mind. There are five primary energy efficiency measures that are typically used with process cooling systems. These measures include:
1)Chilled water systems are converted to variable flow from constant flow, which occurs by changing two-way control valves to three-way control valves and by installing VFD components on distribution pumps.
2)Condensing water systems are converted to variable flow via the installation of VFD components on condensing water pumps.
3)Temperature setpoints for chilled water supplies are reset based on process load.
4)Temperature setpoints for condensing water are reset based on the temperature of the ambient wet bulb.
5)The cooling tower fans are changed from 1-2 speeds over to a variable speed, which occurs by installing a VFD.

Trends Driving the Need for Cleaner Water in Cooling Applications

trends of process cooling water
Another problem with cooling applications is that the water used within these applications invariably becomes dirty and contaminated over time. When industrial processes use contaminated water, the entire process can become inefficient. Any suspended solids in the water can also bring about health issues for anyone who consumes the water. The fine solids that are found in process water usually come from the equipment, atmosphere, or piping.
When the cooling process occurs, the cooling water will absorb most of the airborne particulate. Over time, the particles could settle in the process cooling system, which results in cooling performance is reduced. The need for cleaner water in cooling applications has become more important than ever. Five of the trends that are increasing the need for better filtration with process cooling include:
-The desire for lower operational costs and less maintenance
-Semiconductor and data center demand for distilled water
-Requirements that call for developing risk-assessment programs
-Green and water reuse initiatives, which apply to makeup water and condenser water
-Requirements for enhanced efficiency with certain types of cooling systems
These trends are important to note because of the high cost that comes with using contaminated water in process cooling systems. In the event that dissolved and fine suspended solids are present in water at high volumes, every facet of the cooling tower performance can be adversely affected. If the fine particulates are less than five microns in size, the issues that could occur include:
Unexpected shutdowns occur, which lead to much higher operating costs and frustrating delays
Clogging occurs in system components, which results in water being irregularly distributed
Valves and pumps need to be replaced earlier than anticipated
Corrosion occurs at a rapid rate
Heat transfer becomes inefficient, which increases the amount of water and energy that must be used during the process
Bacterial growth, scaling, and fouling develop, which can degrade components, increase health risks, and require early component replacement
A highly efficient media filtration system should be able to substantially improve water treatment efforts. While sand filters are somewhat effective, they are unable to filter out finer particles. If you purchase an efficient media filter, you’ll benefit from a relatively compact design, low operational costs, higher flow, and automated operation. The efficacy of these systems occurs via crossflow filtration and micro-sand media. With these features installed, the filter is able to capture particles that are less than one micron in size.
Process cooling water has proven to be essential across all types of industries, which include everything from food processing and manufacturing to petroleum refineries. When heat is created during an industrial process, there needs to be some way to effectively dissipate the heat, which is what process cooling water is used for. While process cooling water is able to produce results, contaminated water can damage equipment and keep energy costs high, which is why treating this water with an industrial filtration system is highly recommended.

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Posted by Sensorex on January 24, 2022

Sensorex is a global leader in the design and manufacture of quality sensors for water quality and process applications. The company offers more than 2000 sensor packages for pH, ORP, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, free chlorine, chlorine dioxide, UV transmittance and other specialty measurements, as well as a full line of sensor accessories and transmitters. Its expert technical support engineers solve analytical sensor challenges with custom designs and off the shelf products.

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