Delta cooling tower installation
The HDPE cooling towers provide long service life and low maintenance.
The advantages of using high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-based “plastic” cooling towers have been well received in the commercial and industrial sectors of the United States. Now the technology is being introduced internationally, with installations at two notable projects in the Middle East.

In recent months, HDPE cooling towers manufactured in the U.S. by Delta Cooling Towers, Rockaway, N.J., have been integrated into an advanced, solar-powered cooling project underway in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as a water treatment project in Jenadriyah, located in the Riyadh province of Saudi Arabia.

Cooling with the Desert Sun

The Abu Dhabi project is 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.

“Essentially, the project is using solar power to produce cold water that is used to provide air conditioning,” explained Mohammad Alkarmi, CEO of Limitless International Corp., Raleigh, N.C., the exporting organization that sold the plastic cooling towers to the project’s management. Limitless International is the authorized agent for Delta Cooling Towers in the Middle East

“We believe that this unique cooling tower technology is the ideal solution for cooling applications in the Middle Eastern countries, where very high temperatures accompanied by high humidity — especially in the gulf region — would prevent most metal cooling towers from lasting very long because they would rust and corrode easily,” Alkarmi said.

He added that the solar-powered air conditioning project is a demonstration of how it is possible to capture the sun’s energy and provide cooling in the desert heat. The Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. PJSC (TAQA) and Chromasun Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based solar panel manufacturer, installed 27 Chromasun Micro-Concentrator (MCT) solar panels on TRANSCO’s rooftop in Abu Dhabi. TRANSCO is a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) 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 TRANSCO’s absorption chillers, and from the absorption chillers the facility gets cold water for its chilled water system.

“Essentially, they are simply using the hot water that is coming from the solar panels to get cold water from the chiller,” Alkarmi explained.

According to TAQA, the benefits of the system include not only significant energy savings, but also the rooftop solar cooling technology has great potential for peak shaving, which will result in better grid efficiency and reduced emissions.

Alkarmi noted that the cooling towers play a vital role in the cooling system performance, and the 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 said. “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.”

Due to the product’s long-term performance, the manufacturer recently increased the warranty period from 15 to 20 years.

“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,” said Alkarmi.

Assisting in Water Treatment

Limitless International also recently supplied a new HDPE cooling tower to a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant in Jenadriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Cooling towers can be an important element in water and wastewater treatment applications because microorganisms used in the treatment process can be compromised when water temperatures get too warm. Cooling towers are a viable alternative to cooling water in tanks and ponds, which may be unavailable in dry climates.

“This project was an upgrade that called for the replacement of the Delta cooling tower that was originally installed in this plant many years ago,” said Alkarmi. “So, when they decided to upgrade the RO plant recently, they specified a new HDPE cooling tower for the project.”

He said that the overall motivation of the customer was the same as with the solar application: long-term reliable performance, reduced maintenance costs, and an economical purchase price.

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Publication date: 8/19/2013

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