What Is A Cooling Tower?

A cooling tower is heat removal device that uses water to transfer process waste heat into the atmosphere. All cooling towers operate on the principle of removing heat from water be evaporating a small portion of water that is recirculated through the unit.


The mixing of warm water and cooler air releases latent heat of vaporization, causing a cooling effect to the water.  They are a key component of many refrigeration systems and can be found in industries such as power plants, chemical processing, steel mills,and many manufacturing companies where process cooling is necessary.

Also, cooling towers can be used to provide comfort cooling for large commercial buildings like airports, schools, hospitals, or hotels.

Types of Cooling Towers

Cooling towers might be one of the most vital part of any industrial process. These tall, open-topped, cylindrical structures are responsible for cooling water generated from industrial or HVAC comfort cooling process. They are classified by the type of draft (natural or mechanical) and by the direction of air flow (counter or cross).

  1. Natural Draft Cooling Towers
  2. Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers
  3. Crossflow Towers
  4. Counterflow Towers
  5. Induced Draft towers
  6. Forced Draft towers
Cooling Tower

Engineered Plastic Advantages

Advancements in the manufacture and design of today’s engineered-plastic towers have initiated a change in the idea of the cooling tower from a valuable support tool to one of productivity and increases cost saving.
Factory-assembled cooling towers formed with engineered molded plastics continue to gain popularity over galvanized sheet metal models that once dominated the cooling tower industry.
There are many reasons why you might want to considered an engineered plastic cooling tower to reduce costs and better meet your process needs:

Engineered Plastic Advantages
  • Life expectancy - Standard metal cooling towers have casings with thin sheets of galvanized steel. These sheets usually have welded seams that can deteriorate within a year and will require re-welding, patching or coating to prevent leakage. Additionally, the treated water tends to attack the galvanized metal, essentially wearing it out in an extraordinarily short time. Environmental conditions such as sunlight, pollution, salt air, and harsh process chemicals also contribute to galvanized steel’s early demise. Even ambient air pollution can affect galvanized steel, leading to premature failure.  Since metal expands and contracts depending on temperature, repeated cycling causes stress that can also accelerate corrosion, rust and leakage.  Even low-grade stainless shell options, series 300 stainless steel, is attacked and wears out against water treatment chemicals and environmental factors
  • Flexible modular design - In the past, plastic cooling towers were too small for many industrial processes. For that reason, galvanized metal cooling towers were traditionally used for most applications above 250 tons but that situation has changed dramatically. Delta, for instance, has introduced its TM Series® of factory-assembled plastic towers that can be combined to provide up to 2,500 cooling tons in a single, modularized unit. Modular cooling towers also facilitate the use of an extra margin of cooling capacity that can be advantageous in adjusting to operational heat load or outflow changes, or in upgrading to meet future cooling requirements
  • Continuous, more economical operation - Engineered plastic can also reduce the expected and inconvenient consequences of operating a cooling tower, which include: electric power usage, water-treatment chemicals, labor and materials for maintenance, and unscheduled process downtime for cooling tower repairs. Maintenance and repairs usually means process interruptions, the costliest of all problems related to cooling towers
  • Easier installation - The basic design advantages of the latest plastic cooling towers also include easier installation, especially on rooftops, because a lightweight plastic shell weighs as much as 40% less than a steel tower, while being 5-10 times thicker. When modular cooling towers are combined in a cluster, installation is often faster and easier
Green Cooling Towers

Green Cooling Towers

With the increasing concerns about meeting green standards and improving ROI on capital equipment expenditures, there are some standards to consider.  A systematic approach to cooling tower greenness will improve sustainability, increase energy efficiency, add water conservation and create a smaller carbon footprint; all while improving some cost ramifications involved in achieving such green goals. While conventional cooling towers, often constructed with sheet metal cladding, are environmentally challenging and maintenance intensive, the alternative of using cooling towers with molded seamless plastic is immediately beneficial to both the environment and bottom line.Traditional metal towers, which last only a few years in many applications, encounter environmental and economic issues including increased chemical use, higher maintenance costs, replacement costs and disposal requirements. 

Engineered HDPE plastic design cooling towers allow the most aggressive water treatment options available. This can allow users to run at higher cycles of concentration, thereby saving make-up water. This can save tens of thousands of gallons of water per year.  These water and chemical savings can be very large and help solve water issues as well as save on operating costs. Cooling towers of this counterflow design also keep water totally enclosed and free from sunlight, thereby lessening the occasion for biological growth, which requires less harsh water treatment chemicals.

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