Cooling tower case study

Courtesy of LG Sonic

Cooling towers have always been difficult to control. Algae grow in the cooling tower itself and on the grids used. In addition to micro-organisms and biofilm, they reduce the efficiency of the cooling tower. Furthermore the risk of spreading Legionella is a serous factor to be reckoned with. Many of the traditional methods to fight algae are either insufficient, cumbersome, environmentally unfriendly, or all of these. LG Sonic uses ultrasound to remove algae efficiently without these negative side effects.

Cooling towers often require strict control and usage of high volume, high frequency doses of chemicals to control the biological environment and keep the tower in operation. As the growth of algae can occur in any place where water is held or transported within the tower, algae levels can quickly rise out of control if they are left untreated. When a grid is covered with algae, efficiency levels drop. Algae that drift can clutter the filters and pumps. Other micro-organisms form a different category. The risk of spreading Legionella is not imaginary as the organisms thrive in the warm environments of the cooling water reservoirs.

Biofilms are communities of micro-organisms (including algae), which develop on surfaces in natural and artificial environments (figure 1).

Under certain conditions, many bacteria (including Legionella) can be induced to produce extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) which include polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids. This definition includes microbial aggregates and adherent populations within the pore spaces in porous media, forming the biofilm (figure 2).

Certain types of micro-organisms can hinder the operation of the towers and can clutter and corrode parts and pieces. Most chemicals used to remove the micro-organisms and biofilm also turn against the materials used within the cooling towers, such as metal.

LG Sonic1' uses the newest ultrasound techniques to combat the algae and biofilm in all these industrial applications. When the LG Sonic device is turned on, the ultrasound attacks most of the unicellular and blue-green algae as well as other microorganisms (in there planktonic stage) responsible for the biofilm formation. Other micro-organisms already attached to the biofilm and which have there cellular bodies exposed to the ultrasound forces will also be attacked by the ultrasound.

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