If you have heard about a cooling tower then you must have come across the term chiller as well at some point in time. Because both cooling towers and chillers are utilized for a variety of cooling applications, the question here is what are the differences between the two types of cooling systems? If similar questions are popping up in your head then don’t worry, read this article to find out all the solutions to your questions.
You may even be thinking that what is best for your business. Understanding how cooling towers and chillers operate is essential to determining which system is best for your cooling requirements. So, let’s have a look at how cooling towers and chillers function.
How does a cooling tower function?
A cooling tower is a large heat exchanger unit that circulates cooling water to remove heat from a coolant (most often water) that has been used to cool machinery, process fluids, or structures. It is only a small amount of water that evaporates when the cooling water comes into contact with air, lowering the temperature. “Evaporative cooling” is the term used to describe this procedure.
Usually, cooling towers are placed near bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers, in order to ensure a consistent supply of water for cooling purposes. Hot water from an industrial process can enter a heat exchanger or condenser and flow through pipework into a cooling tower for heat removal, or it can flow directly through the cooling tower without passing through the heat exchanger or condenser. A fill material with a large surface area that allows for maximum contact with the air and thus increases the rate of evaporation is sprayed with water by spray nozzles located inside the tower. During the cooling process, cooling fans located within the tower assist, and drift eliminators remove the tiny droplets of water produced in the tower air stream during evaporation.
How Does A Chiller Work?
A chiller is a system in which heat is extracted directly from the coolant before it is transported to the surrounding air, which is required for the cooling process. Chiller designs that are specifically designed to handle temperatures ranging from 70F to 100F or higher are possible. Another point to mention is that depending on the system design, a chiller can typically maintain a closer temperature tolerance to the desired temperature set point.
It removes heat from hot, gaseous coolant flowing from a process using water or heat transfer fluid and transfers that heat to a refrigerant, which is then used to cool the process fluid. When the hot (used) refrigerant is returned to the system, it is cooled and regenerated with ambient air or water from a tower or other outside source before being returned to the system for recirculation.
You can have an industrial chiller that is air-cooled or water-cooled, depending on the medium used to dissipate the heat generated by the system. During the cooling process of an air-cooled chiller, the hot coolant that has transitioned from liquid to gas (in the evaporator) is exposed to the coolant-cooling air around the system, which cools it and returns it to a liquid state. A cooling tower is used in water-cooled chillers to cool and condense the coolant, which is chilled by the water.
The Differences Between a Cooling Tower and a Chiller
In chillers, heat is extracted from the coolant through direct contact with the coolant. After that, the heat is transported to the surrounding atmosphere. Any cooling procedure would be incomplete without this step. Cooling towers, on the other hand, are designed to remove heat from water that has been released from a condenser. Any plant or factory that chooses a cooling system that is not fit for the environment will have difficulty maintaining proper cooling conditions.
Despite the fact that chillers and cooling towers provide outcomes that are comparable, the tiny variances between the two systems are what allow them to be employed in diverse applications. Cooling towers are commonly found in oil and gas refineries, thermal power plants, and power plants that are located near bodies of water. Chillers are used in a variety of industries, including the plastics sector, microbreweries, and wineries.
By using a suitably sized air or water-cooled chiller along with a portable cooling tower erected on the roof of your building, you may provide cooling to small rooms and equipment exhausts on a small scale. Also, combining the two technologies will be more cost-effective than utilizing them separately in large cooling operations. Study the working mechanism of both, a cooling tower and chiller before making the final call regarding if you want to go for one on them or get both installed together.