Cooling Water

Part 1: Emerging Water Chemistry Issues in Combustion Turbine Evaporative Coolers

By Daniel J. Robinette, P.E., and Charlie Nichols, P.E.


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Evaporative coolers are used extensively in the power industry to increase power output from combustion turbines. The evaporative cooling process, and associated makeup water treatment, is similar to that of cooling towers, but the makeup and circulating water quality requirements and allowable chemical treatment for evaporative coolers are much more constrained. These higher constraints, as mandated by combustion turbine manufacturerï¾’s water quality guidelines, make it extremely difficult to find low-cost, readily available makeup water sources of adequate quality. Furthermore, as will be shown, the guidelines limit the cycles of concentration that can be attained to a maximum of 5. This article will present the issues involved and three case studies. It is the hope of the authors that the message presented herein will resonate with combustion turbine manufacturers, engineering firms and evaporative cooler endusers to spur more research in this area.

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