KWR rapport - KWR 2016.069

Cooling Water Conditioning in the Future. Softening or desalination of the make-up water for cooling systems


Cooling systems dissipate excess low temperature heat from industrial processes to the environment and are therefore directly linked to primary industrial processes. Failure of cooling systems is undesirable. For this reason the industry (in general) puts a significant amount of effort in the optimal conditioning of cooling water. A good conditioning method simultaneously prevents corrosion, scaling and (microbiological) fouling of the cooling system. Classical conditioning programs based on the addition of a mixture of different chemicals – more or less tailored to the specific circumstances – to the make-up water are common practice. Such programs, however, may lead to high operational costs and a substantial impact of the cooling tower blowdown on the environment.
This desk study focusses on a change in paradigm from the classical “curative conditioning” to “preventive conditioning”. The feasibility of alternative cooling water conditioning concerning fully or partially softened or desalinated make-up water was studied with regard to reduction of water, energy, chemicals use and costs. The feasibility studied the effects of alternative conditioning using the data from two existing industrial cooling systems. A spreadsheet tool was created to calculate operational effects and costs.

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