The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced a $1.8 million contract with the EERC to reduce the water consumption of DoD facilities that use evaporative cooling towers to provide cooling for air conditioners, power stations, data centers, and other industrial facilities. The project, entitled “Hygroscopic Cooling Tower for Reduced Water Consumption,” will span a 3-year time period, covering several project milestones.
“This was a very competitive Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) opportunity under the U.S. DoD,” said Tom Erickson, EERC CEO. “Congratulations to our team for not only the innovative technology concept but the high-quality proposal.”
Cooling towers are intensive consumers of water, yet they are also potential energy-saving devices and can be important system components to meet combined energy- and water-saving goals.
As part of the project, two demonstration units of a novel cooling tower technology designed to restrict water evaporation will be tested at sites that are characterized by “hot, dry” and “hot, humid” summer weather.
The technology will attempt to strike a better balance between wet and dry cooling so that the benefits of wet evaporative cooling can be applied during hot summer afternoons, but the evaporated water loss can be restricted during cooler times when conditions allow for efficient sensible heat transfer to the air.
“The concept behind this project is to seamlessly vary the amount of sensible versus latent heat transfer in response to changing ambient weather conditions,” said Chris Martin, Senior Research Engineer, Advanced Thermal Systems. “In this mode of operation, the maximum amount of water can be saved for any combination of cooling temperature set point and ambient air temperature. This technology is expected to greatly expand the potential for water savings in traditionally wet-cooled applications.”
Annual performance data will be collected and will include water savings, cooling efficacy, and operational costs. The results will help DoD energy managers estimate the technology’s cost-saving potential, understand its operations and maintenance requirements, and identify potential integration strategies.
For more information on the EERC's water programs, click here.