Cooling Towers (Free Cooling Operation)
Cooling towers are used to dissipate heat from air conditioning or industrial process systems. Many of the air conditioning systems currently in use only operate during the summer cooling season, but there are numerous air conditioning and process systems that require cooling year-round. In some cases, the entire cooling system is required to operate during the winter. The cooling tower is required to provide the same 85° F (30° C) or colder water to the system as it does in the summer, but it does so at lower ambient temperatures. However, there are some applications designed to use the cooling tower for “free cooling”. Free cooling is when chilled water is cooled by cooling tower water through the use of heat exchangers without the use of refrigerant compressors. Free cooling can be accomplished when ambient conditions allow the cooling tower to produce “chilled water” for the system.