Dry Operation of Evaporative Condensers
Dry Operation of Evaporative Condensers (1987)-Nature tells us that the wet bulb temperature is always lower than the dry bulb temperature unless 100% relative humidity conditions (rain) are present. Therefore, evaporative condensers offer the lowest possible design condensing temperatures because they cool according to the wet bulb temperature in one efficient heat transfer step. Design wet bulb temperatures are typically 15 to 25 degrees lower than design dry bulb temperatures. The lower condensing temperatures afforded by evaporative condensers result in energy savings of 20% to 40%, smaller and less costly compressors, lower discharge temperatures and less compressor maintenance. Air-cooled condensers offer relatively few advantages. They are competitive on a first cost basis only up to about 10 or 20 tons. In general, they cost more to install and operate. Energy costs are much higher and maintenance costs are higher due to higher discharge temperatures. But, some users may prefer to operate air-cooled condensers because they have concerns regarding water availability, water costs, water quality, water treatment, visible plume formation or sub-freezing operation. So, the only possible advantages are related to water or lack of water. However, evaporative condensers can be designed to operate both wet and dry, thus providing the economies associated with evaporative heat transfer for design days, but also eliminating concerns regarding evaporative cooling equipment at off-peak conditions.
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