Identify alternative cooling configurations in an operating plant to minimize or eliminate the use of a legacy river water cooling system.
The client owns and operates a chemical production facility in the US. The existing river water system is used for both a singular process building cooling (with most other process buildings having already been converted to tower water cooling systems) as well as the plant-wide fire system. Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was tasked with identifying alternative cooling configurations.
The river water has caused various problems with fouling lines, heat exchangers, and coils. It is also a large use of water as it is a single pass-through the system.
The existing cooling tower supplying the building has been found to be hydraulically constrained but has room for additional thermal load. The reason for the hydraulic loading constraint is that users of the system continue to receive service even when there is no thermal load. In addition, the flow rate of cooling water from the tower is higher than the typical design standards for the existing header.
The goal of this project was to identify changes that can be implemented to eliminate river water usage or significantly reduce water usage and reduce maintenance / operational problems caused by fouling of equipment.
Modifications to the systems were identified to maintain the firefighting capacity with onsite water storage and provide the cooling needs of the production facility, and these potential modifications were presented to the client for review. In the end, a combination of the alternatives will likely be implemented for the best overall solution for the facility.
- Process evaluation
- Hydraulics modeling
- Heat transfer.