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With few exceptions, the largest single use of water by American industries is for cooling purposes. Because the requirements are so huge, industrial plants are generally located near natural sources of water. This arrangement favors once-through circulating systems in which water is discarded after initial use. When water supplies are either inadequate or unavailable as to quantity or quality, recirculating systems are utilized. A cooling tower represents the heart of many such systems. To keep pace with the ever mounting demand for goods and services during the past decade, almost every industry has had to expand its plants and facilities. Frequently, however, plants using water on a once-through basis find that they are limited in their expansion program by (1) overburdened circulating systems, (2) insufficient water supply, and (3) excessive wastes that must be handled in some way. These conditions have led to the development of water circuits that make novel use of cooling towers, three of which will be described in this paper. The first installation is unique because salt water is cooled in the tower instead of fresh water. The second tower, serving a condenser, in effect cools the river from which the circulating water is drawn. The third application is of interest because the tower is used as a process instrument. Excess heat is removed from a waste flow to make biological treatment possible.
Finnerty, Joseph J.
Project Engineer, Foster Wheeler Corp., San Mateo, Calif.