As the global population continues to grow, water insecurities in major cities are being felt with increased frequency. It has become critical for industries to reduce their fresh water consumption and improve their internal water reticulation systems. Effective onsite water system management is the simplest method to reduce water consumption.
When Watercare Innovations formulates a cooling water management strategy, we believe in the importance of the specific delivery requirements of each individual project. These are the six most common cooling water system challenges we tackle in every project we deliver.
Watercare Innovations strongly believes in assisting our clients by mitigating risks to the water systems in their operations and helping these operations run at optimum efficiencies.
We achieve this by looking deeper into cooling tower make-up water. This may appear clean but can contain excess dissolved minerals that can cause scale if left untreated.
Limescale is one such example. This type of scale deposits in the heat exchanger section of the cooling system reducing cooling efficiencies and promoting corrosion beneath the scale deposit. The way we prevent this is to carefully manage the system water chemistry by controlling the water stability and using proven inorganic dispersants that keep the scale-forming dissolved solids in suspension.
We help our clients further in running their cooling operations at optimum efficiency by looking deeper into the cooling tower make-up water, which may appear harmless, but can contain dissolved oxygen and excess hydrogen ions that can cause corrosion if left unattended. Corrosion causes cracks, leaks and premature failure of cooling system components.
We mitigate the risk of system failure by implementing a corrosion control programme that incorporates the monitoring of corrosion coupons placed at representative points in the cooling system. The corrosion control programme supplements the management of the cooling water stability together with the implementation of a corrosion control chemical programme.
One millilitre of make-up cooling water contains as many as a million bacterial cells, despite the water appearing crystal clear! These bacteria can double in number within four hours.
Microorganisms do not like to remain free-floating in the water. They quickly adhere to the cooling system surfaces where they protect themselves with a thick layer of slime. The biofilm plugs and fouls tubes, filters, cooling tower fill and other cooling system components.
Biofouling leads to other problems such as under deposit corrosion (Microbial Induced Corrosion or MIC) and loss of heat exchanger efficiency. By introducing effective microbiological control we retain heat exchanger and cooling tower efficiency and bring slime and MIC under control.
4. Environmental pollution
At Watercare Innovations, environmental sustainability is at the forefront of our value-added service. Cooling towers present environmental concerns in several ways. The cooling water may contain potentially toxic components emitted into the atmosphere by the cooling tower fans as water droplets together with the vapour.
These towers also discharge this cooling water as a blowdown stream into the stormwater drains, or directly into the environment, polluting natural water bodies. By understanding our clients’ processes and the interrelationship between their process and cooling systems, it’s possible to identify potentially toxic components present in the cooling water.
We prevent this environmental pollution by providing innovative recycling solutions for cooling tower blowdown water, which prevents contamination of our ecosystems and preserves aquatic balance.
The core of Watercare Innovations’ service delivery centres on the preservation of cooling equipment, excellence in housekeeping and safety. Not only is a foaming cooling tower unsightly, but the surrounds adjacent to the tower also become unsafe. The presence of severe and stable foam in the cooling water causes air locks in the recirculating pumps increasing maintenance and downtime. Our cooling water management includes the reliable control of foam.
6. Process Contamination
Leaky heat exchanger tubes? The integrity of heat exchanger materials of construction is impacted by unstable, aggressive recirculating cooling water. Process material, usually organic in nature, provides additional nutrients for microbiological activity in the cooling system. We flag process leaks to monitor the organic loading of the recirculating cooling water.
Compressor Cooling Programme Case Study
When Watercare Innovations formulates a cooling water management strategy, we value the importance of the specific delivery requirements of each individual mining project. Our service representatives have an integral understanding of deep-level mine cooling and its integration into the overall mine water reticulation process.
We are proud to have improved the ventilation quality and chilled water reticulation of a deep-level PGM mine by improving the compressor and fridge plant efficiencies. We did this through a focused effort on optimising the heat exchange efficiencies across the cooling towers.
The cooling tower control equipment was upgraded to full working order enabling the optimisation of cycles of concentration. This, together with the implementation of an effective scale and microbial control programme, improved the cooling efficiency across the cooling tower by 30%. Water savings was a further result of our cooling water management strategy for this site.