Sustainable water use is an important goal of many companies and institutions, and significant progress has been realized in recent years that has saved millions of gallons of water while achieving the intended purposes of the systems, such as cooling towers, which use high volumes of water. Saving water has a positive impact on the environment as well as the bottom line.
The ability to justify a business case for applying efficient technologies can be difficult based on water savings alone. However, when the metrics include water, energy and chemical reductions, the business case for supporting a return on investment (ROI) in less than 24 months is possible.
Pilot installations have been developed to demonstrate electronic water conditioning technologies, which resulted in larger scale program rollouts in order to capture and replicate long term savings of water, energy, chemicals and maintenance at facilities throughout the enterprise.
A successful program that systematically identified significant water and associated cost savings across the U.S. was jointly developed by AT&T and The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The result of a year-long program identified up to 40% water savings in cooling systems at AT&T facilities and led to the development of a full suite of water efficiency tools and resources during the pilot project that was generously shared at no cost to other companies and organizations.
Cooling towers remove heat from water by evaporating a small portion of the water that is recirculated through the unit. Maintaining water quality is essential for optimum operating conditions, which involves controlling bacteria and algae, preventing scale, and corrosion. Scale and bacteria degrade the thermal and flow efficiencies of a water system, and together can cause corrosion of metal that results in high maintenance and replacement costs.
Traditionally, a range of chemicals are added that include scale inhibitors, biocides, corrosion inhibitors and other site specific additives to extend the use of water while preventing accumulation of scale and biologicals in the equipment. Many cooling systems have a sidestream filtration system that processes approximately 10% of water to remove suspended solids from the water stream while allowing the primary circulation to continue.
Under these operating conditions, water is discarded by blow down or bleed off when a sensor records a specific level of conductivity. Accumulated water loss is undesirable for cost and stewardship reasons, and every thousand gallons of purged water contains expensive chemicals that must be replenished.
In practice, a cooling tower that maintains low levels of suspended solids will have lower conductivity in water, while also eliminating surface area for biologicals to grow. By removing particles to sizes of 1 micron, the effective use of water will be increased significantly. Further, the chemicals in the water will be conserved due to less frequent bleed off and they will have less total suspended solids (TSS) and organic matter that consumes them. We believe that a balanced chemistry program is important for consistent cooling tower operation, and offer technologies that reduce chemical use by up to 75%.
A HydroFLOW unit is installed on the exterior of a flowline and emits a 150 kHz frequency that extends throughout the system. HydroFLOW water conditioners are environmentally friendly devices that have been distributed throughout the world for many years, but only recently entered the U.S. market. Over twenty years ago, Hydropath Holdings, located in the U.K., invented a process that treats fluids by inducing a robust yet harmless signal of 150kHz throughout plumbing systems made of any material. The pipe, and/or the fluid inside of it, acts as a conduit which allows the signal to propagate. The induction of the signal prevents scale and biofilm from accumulating inside plumbing systems and gradually removes existing deposits. This preventative action significantly reduces energy, chemical, water and maintenance costs which extends the service life of equipment and pipes.
Frequent blowdowns are reduced to brief bleed-off episodes using 50% less water, and due to significantly improved water quality from HydroFLOW, less chemistry is wasted. Water may to be reused for irrigation or other beneficial uses rather than discharged into a sanitary sewer. HydroFLOW electronic water conditioners need little to no maintenance, and require no chemical additives. The cost savings provide a return on investment (ROI) of less than 12-24 months. Contact us today to learn more.