The Difference Between Open & Closed-Circuit Cooling Tower Systems

Which Cooling Tower System Is Best for You?

A cooling tower is used to cool and circulate water used in settings such as oil refineries, petrochemical and other chemical plants, thermal power stations, and HVAC systems for cooling buildings. Cooling towers extract waste heat into the atmosphere through the evaporative cooling of a water stream to a lower temperature.

There are two different types of industrial or HVAC cooling tower designs: closed-loop cooling tower system and open cooling water system. Both types of towers serve the same purpose, but they go about cooling the water in different ways.

How Does an Open-Circuit Cooling Tower Work?

A direct, open-circuit cooling tower is an enclosed structure that distributes warm water over a labyrinth-like packing, or fill, which provides an expanded air-water interface for heating of the air and evaporation to take place. The water is cooled as it falls through the fill and is then collected in a cold water basin below. The heated moisture-laden air leaving the fill is discharged into the atmosphere.

More about Closed-Circuit Cooling Towers

A closed-circuit cooling tower, or dry cooling tower, involves no contact between the air and the fluid being cooled. This tower has two separate fluid circuits, one in which the fluid is recirculated on the outside of the second circuit, which is a bundle of tubes through which the hot water is flowing. The air drawn through this cascading water provides evaporative cooling similar to an open cooling tower, except that the cooled water never makes direct contact with the air. Closed-circuit cooling towers require much more energy to achieve the same cooling as an open circuit cooling tower.

Different Types of Closed-Circuit Cooling Tower Systems

Another closed-circuit cooling tower system involves a separate heat exchanger package along with an open cooling tower. The fluid on the hot side of the heat exchanger also never makes direct contact with the air. This allows the heat exchanger to be put inside, protected from the outdoor weather elements along with other system advantages. This closed system will last much longer than the outside coil type of closed-circuit cooling tower.

Are Both Cooling Towers Effective?

There are so many factors and details to consider. You may be wondering: “Are both systems equally effective?” The answer to that question is “yes!” Both open and closed-circuit cooling towers are effective for cooling water, but they each work in different ways and consume different amounts of energy.

Closed Circuit Cooling Tower Systems

Still Have Questions?

Delta, the technology-leading cooling tower supplier and cooling tower manufacturer in USA, is here to help. At Delta, we go above the standards of other manufacturers to provide a 20-year warranty, so you do not have to worry about replacements. Our high-quality, durable product portfolio offers customers not only an extended lifecycle but also fewer moving parts and therefore, less maintenance downtime.

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