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“Aesthetic appeal poses design challenges”

Cooling towers in district cooling plants face stringent space and noise constraints.

| | Aug 30, 2011 | 4:14 pm
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Cooling towers in district cooling plants face stringent space and noise constraints.

With their big bulky basins and imposing structure, cooling towers are not the most pleasant sight in a residential complex.

Add to this the constant whirring of fans and splashing of water, and it’s a miracle cooling towers are approved in residential areas at all, Jeevan Joy, Managing Director of SPIG Middle East argued.

“Cooling towers require space”, said Joy, “because they are ambient air driven.” He explained that in petrochemical and power plants, the towers are provided with enough room to draw in sufficient amounts of air, thereby making the cooling process efficient. However, in residential areas, space is limited, and its design and location is influenced by architects.

“Space is stringently controlled, and noise reduction is very important for cooling towers in housing centres”, he added. For this reason, a cooling tower that would normally enjoy three times the space in an industrial setting is required to fit compactly into smaller spaces, which calls for high levels of efficiency in design through the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). “Architects often want cooling towers to be placed within aesthetically pleasing boxes that hide it from view, but this hampers the free flow of air and requires additional design considerations”, Joy remarked.

Furthermore, he pointed out that noise control is crucial in residential areas especially since cooling towers have a hemispherical design that results in the propagation of sound. Hence, this needs to be minimised through the use of low noise fans to reduce the sound from the movement of air and acoustic enclosures to lessen the noise from motors, gearboxes, belts and other mechanical devices. The noise of splashing water can also be reduced by employing sound attenuation systems.

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