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Ensuring energy efficiency in air conditioning systems is essential. In this context, evaporative cooling, used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems with water condensation, provides a positive response to industrial sustainability, as they offer an ideal combination of energy use and installation cost, which derives in an optimal investment / performance ratio compared to similar solutions.
Beyond domestic air conditioning, including shopping centers and office buildings, evaporative cooling is used in almost all industrial applications where cold is required: petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and automotive, steel production, component manufacturing electronics and semiconductors, power plants, cogeneration plants, industrial refrigeration and machinery; which can give an idea of the importance of these teams in the industrial and business fabric of the country.
From the economic point of view, these teams can represent for the Spanish productive system a saving in electric energy consumption of € 25,000 per installation per year compared to the rest of the alternatives.
Evaporative cooling and energy saving
The demand for electric power was, in 2017, 252,755 GWh, 1.6% more than in 2016, if we stick to the data provided by Red Eléctrica de España. It is the third consecutive year that the upward trend continues. Only in the Community of Madrid, domestic spending on heating, air conditioning and sanitary hot water is around 23.6%, so any action aimed at improving energy in terms of air conditioning will have an impact on global consumption.
In this context, evaporative cooling is an alternative, recognized by different public entities, to keep in mind. The cooling condensation technology has three major players: wet systems (cooling towers and evaporative condensers), dry systems (aerocapacitors) and hybrids. The decision to install one or the other depends on the needs of the industry to be cooled, energy calculations are a key fact that must guide the decision of the engineering.
First, the cooling towers dissipate approximately four times more heat than the dry systems and twice as much as the hybrids, so the advantage of the towers and evaporative condensers is clear. A study carried out by the ICAEN (Institut Català d’Energia), establishes that “the evolution of the energy performance curves indicate that, in any power, the most efficient energy systems are the wet ones, followed by the hybrids”. The IDAE (Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving) also includes these equipment in the energy saving measures to be applied in building and equipment.
Secondly, it is a technology that contributes to the saving of electrical energy consumed. This reduction in energy consumption and gas leakage is achieved for two reasons: the efficiency in the process and the high performance of the equipment. In a typical air conditioning installation, the comparison of energy consumption shows significant figures: the water condensing equipment, including cooling towers and evaporative condensers, offer a savings of up to 45% compared to air condensation. %. Another example in the same line is that which occurs in refrigeration facilities, where the powers absorbed by evaporative towers and condensers versus air are significantly lower.
Finally, it should be mentioned that wet systems use approximately 40% more water than hybrid systems, while dry systems do not use this element. Although the percentage may seem high, it is not so much if we think that 95% of the water is reused in the cooling towers, a small amount evaporates and another is evacuated to avoid the concentration of salts. This, together with the fact that these systems need less energy to operate, supposes, in the end, that they consume less water at source, that is, in the production of electrical energy, than the other systems.
Energy efficiency and safety guaranteed thanks to technical advances
Among the technical advances that have been incorporated into evaporative cooling equipment during recent years, those that optimize energy efficiency stand out:
- High efficiency motors: they respond to the IE 2 and IE 3 standards and offer a very high performance.
- Frequency converters: they allow the regulation and control of the equipment so that the energy demand is adjusted to the consumption and maintenance needs. The result is an operation of the “a la carte” tower with the consequent energy optimization.
- Automated purge systems: avoid high concentrations of salt, a circumstance that positively influences both social-health safety and maintenance, since it facilitates the work of technicians. Likewise, the towers can incorporate bacteriological control systems and continuous water treatment that keep them in optimal conditions.
- Materials: its evolution has focused on high-efficiency fillers that have been transformed thanks to the use of resistant materials, especially polypropylene and polyester, which offer great resistance and allow exhaustive cleaning. Likewise, the high efficiency droplet separators have undergone a similar evolution in terms of composition and effectiveness when it comes to reducing the exit by dragging water droplets outside the tower forming aerosols.
- Accessibility: correct accessibility is one of the best guarantees that the cleaning of the tower is carried out correctly. The current equipment presents an extreme accessibility through wide doors that facilitate the entrance to the technical equipment.
- Likewise, the systems to facilitate drainage, cleaning and sampling are translated into inclined trays, platforms and stairs that also meet the highest standards in terms of occupational safety.
Finally, the design of the windows prevents the passage of light or water carrying dirt. Preventing the passage of light is especially important to prevent ultraviolet rays from causing the necessary conditions for microbiological development inside the tower. This is, precisely, one of the great advances experienced in recent times: the sealing of windows is a guarantee of safety and proper functioning of the equipment.
Control y Ventilación, S.L. is a company of international renown within the industrial and livestock sector, for being a manufacturer of products within the evaporative cooling sector, such as the HUMIBAT, evaporative plastic cooler; or its NUCLEOS towers, Cooling Towers. In both products, which the substrate in which the evaporative is produced is a plastic honeycomb, a honeycomb resistant to both physical and chemical attacks, and at the same time flexible, is a honeycomb with mesh structure, manufactured in High Density Polyethylene , and marketed under the names of PANAL C & V or if it is a separator of drops, SEPARATOR C & V.
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