The advantages of using HDPE-based (high-density polyethylene) “plastic” cooling towers have been well received throughout commercial and industrial sectors of the U.S. for a number of years. Now the company responsible for developing this cost-and-downtime saving technology has ramped up efforts to market it internationally, notably with installations at two impressive projects in the Middle East.
In recent months, HDPE cooling towers manufactured in the U.S. by Delta Cooling Towers have been integrated into an advanced, solar-powered cooling project under wayin Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates as well as a water-treatment project in Jenadriyah, the heritage and cultural city located in the Riyadh province of Saudi Arabia.
The Abu Dhabi project is the a pilot program designed to bring rooftop air-conditioning to the city’s Transmission & Despatch Co. (TRANSCO) via concentrated solar panels that will provide clean,renewable solar energy to the building’s air-conditioning system during peak demand hours. The solar-powered air-conditioning project is a demonstration of how it is possible to capture the sun’s energy and create cooling power in desert heat. For the project, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and Chromasun Inc., a San Jose, CA-based solar-panel manufacturer, installed 27 Chromasun Micro-Concentrator (MCT) solar panels on the TRANSCO’s rooftop in Abu Dhabi. TRANSCO is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and is responsible for developing, operating and maintaining the high-voltage power transmission and bulk water-transmission networks within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The MCT-based system, which is designed specifically for rooftop application and operation in high temperatures and dusty conditions, provides hot water to the absorption chillers, and from the absorption chiller they get cold water to their chilled-water system. The benefits of the system include not only significant energy savings, but also the rooftop solar-cooling technology has great potential for peak savings, which will result in reduced emissions and better grid efficiency.
Alkarmi notes that the cooling towers play a vital role in the cooling system performance, and the continuous reliability of the tower was an important consideration when the Delta HDPE design was chosen. “The HDPE plastic cooling tower will never rust or corrode, as opposed to either stainless steel or galvanized metal clad models, which will eventually rust and corrode,” Alkarmi says. “The Delta HDPE design does not require any coating or galvanizing or other exterior protection. It simply will never rust or corrode, and will last well over 20 years.” This long-term performance has been so well tested that the manufacturer recently increased the warranty period from 15 to 20 years, which was unheard of previously in the industry. Some metalclad cooling towers are guaranteed for only two or three years, after which they require sizable maintenance and or replacement investments.
“The attractive purchase price as well as low maintenance requirements and long-term operating lifespan make the HDPE models highly beneficial for the atmospheric conditions of the Middle East, especially in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where the weather is extremely hot and humid,” Alkarmi adds.
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