Is your evaporative cooler, cooling tower or heat exchangers struggling to keep temperatures down? Are you limiting production due to the inability of utilities to cope with the heat demand? Then you might have a fouling problem in your heating and cooling equipment.
So what is fouling? Fouling is phenomenon where a contaminant such as scale or sludge or film block elements of your heat exchanger. The end result is that your heat transfer equipment is less efficient. Not only is foulant another layer for the heat to transfer through; it is often made up of an element that is of low heat conductivity, which means the heat is trapped in the fluid you are trying to remove it from.
There are three main types being scale, biomass or tramp.
Scale fouling occurs when the concentration of ions, such as calcium, exceed the solubility limits. (When the calcium precipitates out of solution).
Biomass fouling occurs when you have little control of the micro biological activity. If the microbes are allowed to grow unabated they will coat the surfaces of your heat exchanger, preventing or hindering heat transfer.
Lastly, Tramp fouling occurs when physical barriers, such as filters, fail to stop elements like dirt, leaves and anything else that may get sucked into the system and introduced into the cooling water.
So how do you stay on top of it? Generally a review current operations, recommend any mechanical and operational changes and then introduce a chemical and monitoring programme on the critical exchangers around customers sites.
Mechanically and operationally, I investigate mechanisms for a potential foulant to be introduced into the system and look to eliminate them. (Two places to start are dissolved solids content of your cooling/heating/process water and total suspended solids)
Then from these changes you can introduce chemicals that can inhibit scale and microbial growth. In terms of monitoring, I recommend that you look for parameters that are easy to monitor with the equipment you have. Some useful parameters for monitoring are operational temperatures, pressure differences or even flow. The aim is to look for changes over time or deviations from your design rate or baseline.
So by staying on top of this, you can save $$$ either by maintaining full production or reducing the need for more heating and cooling. (Reduce Power or Capital Purchase of new equipment)
As usual, if you have any questions in regards to this article or have an enquiry that I may be able to help you with do not hesitate to contact us via this website or give me a call.
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