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Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

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Applied Thermal Engineering


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Comparative evaluation of hybrid (dry/wet) cooling tower


performance
Wanchai Asvapoositkul*, Mantheerapol Kuansathan
Department of Mechanical Engineering, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, 126 Pracha Uthit Rd., Bang Mod, Thune Khru, Bangkok 10140,
Thailand

h i g h l i g h t s
 A new computational approach for hybrid (dry/wet) cooling tower is proposed.
 The performance of a hybrid cooling tower is determined.
 The model simulation has been validated and it is used as a design tool.
 Air ow rate has a major role in hybrid cooling system performance.

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 19 February 2014
Accepted 12 June 2014
Available online 27 June 2014

The performance of hybrid cooling tower is analyzed using experiments and numerical simulations on a
wide variety of working conditions. A computational model for predicting the behavior of dry, wet and
hybrid cooling systems has been developed. The hybrid cooling tower model is expressed as a combination of a dry cooling model and a wet cooling model. The effectiveness-NTU equation and the Merkel
equation, fundamental equation of heat transfer in dry and wet cooling towers, are presented and discussed. The cooling tower characteristics are a function of water-to-air ratio for each cooling mode.
Comparison of the model tower test results with those of a computer simulation has demonstrated the
validity of that simulation and its use as a design tool. Using the information presented in this paper, it
will be possible to incorporate dry and wet cooling tower design, and simulation into a procedure to
evaluate and optimize hybrid cooling tower performance.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Hybrid cooling tower
Dry cooling tower
Wet cooling tower
Tower model
Simulation

1. Introduction
The state of the art in cooling tower has advanced to the point
where further signicant improvement cannot be considered only
in terms of energy efciency but also in connection with environmental problems. For this reason, in recent years increasing
attention and effort have been devoted to invent and experiment
on conservation of natural resources in cooling towers. Dry cooling
towers (or air cooled heat exchangers) require large surface areas
and have relatively high energy consumption, even with higher
water temperatures, in comparison to the more efcient and
signicantly smaller surface areas of wet cooling towers (or evaporative coolers) [1]. However, the wet cooling towers consume
relatively large fresh water quantities due to evaporation, drift and
draining losses. In addition, a visible plume may be formed at the
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: wanchai.asv@kmutt.ac.th (W. Asvapoositkul).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2014.06.023
1359-4311/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

fan stack, depending upon operating condition and design. This


plume, which is often considered visually undesirable, is only a
cloud composed of very small droplets of water. A review dealing
with formation, potential, and abatement of plum from wet cooling
towers can be seen in Tyagi et al. [2]. As a result of that study, a
number of innovative cooling towers have been developed and are
still being developed. Examples of these may be seen in Lindahl and
Mortensen [3], Al-Bassam and Maheshwari [4], Lucas et al. [5],
Michioka et al. [6], Pistochini and Modera [7], and Rezaei et al. [8].
A hybrid cooling tower is a cooling tower that uses a dry cooling
method and a wet cooling method to eject waste heat to the atmosphere by means of either dry cooling or evaporative heat
transfer [9]. It combines the advantage of the dry-bulb based dry
cooling tower and the wet-bulb based wet cooling tower and the
resulting make-up water and working performance is between the
two, depending on the chosen ratio. Its operating mode also depends on the heat load, the air ow rate and the ambient air conditions [1].

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W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

The main objective of this study is to develop a computational


procedure that gives good qualitative predictions of hybrid cooling tower thermal performance that take into consideration the
variation of the working conditions. The proposed method is a
combination of a dry cooling tower model and a wet cooling
tower model. The dry cooling tower model is based on the
effectiveness-NTU approach [10] and the wet cooling tower model
is based on the Markel approach [11,12]. The approaches were
successfully demonstrated by Asvapoositkul and Treeutok [13].
This combination model allows a combined dry and wet cooling
tower (or hybrid cooling tower) to be studied in a variety of
working conditions.
1.1. Model details
Hybrid cooling towers can be applied to a wide range of congurations and they cannot all be considered here. A summary of
many congurations was prepared by Streng [14]. One of the most
effective cooling processes overall is a Parallel Path Wet/Dry
(PPWD) tower [3,14]. In this method, the air ow passes in a parallel
path through the dry and wet sections, and the water ow passes in
series connection of the two sections. Details of this arrangement
are given in Lindahl and Mortensen [3], and Streng [14]. It is also
applied to the present study and will be described in the following
sections.
The hybrid cooling tower was set up as shown in Fig. 1. The air is
drawn by an induced draft fan in a parallel path through the dry and
the wet sections, mixed in a plenum, and discharged from the fan.
The water is circulated by a pump, rst through the dry section and
then through the wet section. The hot water entering the dry section with a temperature of T W,DCT,1 is cooled in a nned tube heat
exchanger to a temperature of T W,DCT,2 with an ambient air (TDB,1,
T WB,1). The dry section range (RDCT) is the temperature difference
between T W,DCT,1 and T W,DCT,2. Then the water is delivered to the wet
section where it is cooled to a temperature of T W,WCT,2 via direct
contract with the ambient air. The wet section range (RWCT) is the
temperature difference between T W,DCT,2 and T W,WCT,2. This way, the
total cooling range (R) is split up into RDCT and RWCT.

Consequently, the hot and dry air (TDB,2, T WB,2) from the dry
section is then mixed with hot and humid air (TDB,3, T WB,3) from the
wet section so that the state of the cooling tower exhaust is locally
as uniform as possible. When this exhaust air (TDB,4, T WB,4) is mixed
with the ambient air (TDB,1, T WB,1), a plume is no longer formed.
In the dry section, the limiting temperature to which the water
can be cooled is the ambient air dry-bulb temperature. In the wet
section, the limiting temperature to which the water can be cooled
is the ambient air wet-bulb temperature. Therefore, the dry section
approach temperature (ADCT) is the difference between the outlet
water temperature (T W,DCT,2) and the ambient dry-bulb temperature (TDB,1). The wet section approach temperature (AWCT) is the
difference between the outlet water temperature (T W,WCT,2) and the
ambient wet-bulb temperature (T WB,1). The relationships are
illustrated in Fig. 2. Generally, hybrid cooling towers are designed
by taking advantage of the dry section with the higher inlet water
temperature to reduce water consumption and eliminate plume
formation. While the wet section can take advantage of the closer
approach temperature to increase tower efciency.
1.2. Model description
In this study, cooling towers of dry, wet and hybrid types were
analyzed using mathematical models for the computation of tower
characteristics. The analysis for wet cooling section is based on
Merkel approach and that for dry cooling section is based on
effectiveness-NTU approach. The analogous expressions for evaluation of both sections are expressed in terms of liquid-to-air ratio
(L/G).
1.3. Wet cooling tower
1.3.1. Wet tower demand curve
The wet cooling section cools water by a combination of heat
and mass transfers. It is quite common to use the Merkel equation
to calculate the thermal demand, KaV/L, based on the design temperature and selected liquid-to-air ratio, L/GWCT. The Cooling
Technology Institute (CTI) publication has published a cooling

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of hybrid cooling tower.

W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

85

Values of CWCT and nWCT can be determined from an experiment.


This equation is widely accepted and is able to superimpose on each
wet tower demand curve to analyze the thermal performance capacity of a specied wet cooling tower at off-design conditions. The
intersection of this supply curve and the demand curve is the
operating point for the wet tower being considered for the duty
such as shown in Fig. 3. The techniques used in this study are based
on the work of Asvapoositkul and Treeutok [13].
1.4. Dry cooling tower
Fig. 2. Temperature relation.

tower acceptance test code [11] that is the industry standard for
evaluating and predicting the performance of a tower.

KaV

TW;WCT2
Z

TW;WCT1

cpw dTfw
hsw  ha

(1)

KaV/L is a dimensionless variable which is the basis of determining the size of a wet cooling system. The mass and heat transfer
characteristics of cooling tower ll are described by Ka, a volumetric mass transfer coefcient. V is an effective tower ll volume.
The (hsw  ha) is the difference between the enthalpy of saturated
air at water temperature (hsw) and the enthalpy of air at the air
temperature (ha). The tower characteristic (KaV/L) is determined by
solving the right-hand side of Eq. (1). The principle and numerical
methods, for evaluation of wet cooling tower, are present in CTI
[11], Leeper [12], and Asvapoositkul and Treeutok [13].
Plotting several values of KaV/L as a function of L/GWCT gives
what is called the wet tower demand curve (see Fig. 3). The
approach lines (AWCT T W,WCT,2  T WB,1) are shown as parameters.
1.3.2. Wet tower supply curve
For a xed wet cooling tower design, the value of KaV/L may be
determined as following [11].

KaV
L
C
L WCT GWCT

nWCT
(2)

1.4.1. Dry tower demand curve


The dry cooling section in this study is nned-tube heat exchangers. The methodology of heat exchanger design follows
Incropera et al. [15] and Choi and Glicksman [16]. The effectiveness
of the cooling tower is dened as the ratio of the actual energy that
is exchanged to the maximum energy that could possibly be
exchanged. The number of transfer units (NTU) is another parameter that measures the heat transfer size of the heat exchanger. The
effectiveness-NTU equations of a cross-ow heat exchanger with
water side unmixed are used to calculate the required and NTU
based on the design temperatures and selected liquid-to-air ratio,
L/GDCT. They may be determined in the following two cases.
Case I: L/GDCT < cpa/cpw




G
cpa
Lcpw
NTU ln 1 DCT
ln 1 
Lcpw
GDCT cpa


 

GDCT cpa TDB;2  TDB;1
 TW;DCT2
T
R

 W;DCT1
 DCT
ITD
Lcpw TW;DCT1  TDB;1
TW;DCT1  TDB;1

(3)

(4)

Case II: L/GDCT > cpa/cpw



Lcpw
G cpa
NTU 
ln 1 DCT
ln1 
GDCT cpa
Lcpw

(5)



Lcpw TW;DCT1  TW;DCT2
Lcpw RDCT


GDCT cpa ITD
GDCT cpa TW;DCT1  TDB;1

(6)

The familiar plots of effectiveness versus NTU with heat capacity


rate ratio (GDCTcpa/Lcpw) are most commonly present in many heat
transfer textbooks. This paper presents a somewhat simplied and
unied derivation of the effectiveness and the NTU for dry cooling
section in terms of liquid-to-air ratio (L/GDCT). Plotting several
values of as a function of L/GDCT gives what is called a dry tower
demand
curve
(see
Fig.
4).
The
approach
lines
(ADCT T W,DCT,2  TDB,1) are shown as parameters.
1.4.2. Dry tower supply curve
For a xed dry cooling tower design in either case I or case II, the
effectiveness may be determined as following.


CDCT

Fig. 3. Wet tower demand and supply curve.

L
GDCT

nDCT
(7)

The model is analogous to the conventional expression for wet


cooling section. Values of CDCT and nDCT can be determined from an
experiment. This equation is able to superimpose on each dry
tower demand curve to analyze the thermal performance capacity
of a specied dry cooling tower at off-design conditions. The

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W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

Mass of dry air

G4 GT GDCT GWCT

(12)

Mass of water vapor

GT u4 GDCT u2 GWCT u3

(13)

Energy

GT h4 GDCT h2 GWCT h3

(14)

From the relation above, we obtain

GWCT
G
h  h2 u4  u2
1  DCT 4

GT
GT
h3  h2 u3  u2

Fig. 4. Dry tower demand and supply curve.

intersection of this supply curve and demand curve is the operating point for the dry tower being considered for the duty such as
shown in Fig. 4. This procedure is similar to that presented in wet
cooling tower performance test method as described in the previous section. The principle and numerical methods, for evaluation
of a dry section (air-cooled heat exchanger), were developed by
Kuansathan [10].
Once is known, the QDCT and outlet temperatures can be
calculated as followings:

QDCT Qmax

(8)

Hence, the value of GWCT/GT represents the average property


value for the two working modes. To nd this average value of h (or
any other specic property of the mixture, such as u or TDB), we
need to know the proportions of wet section air mass ow rate and
dry section air mass ow rate in the mixture. The value of GWCT/GT is
between 0 (dry cooling tower) and 1 (wet cooling tower).
The amount of air mass ow rate (G) for each cooling system
also reects the heat rejection in each system. Based on mass and
energy conservation, the heat rejection in wet cooling unit to the
total heat rejection QWCT/QT can be related to GWCT/GT as following.

QWCT
Q

1  DCT 
QT
QT
GWCT
GT

(9)

Case II

Q DCT

h3  h1


h3 1  GGWCT
h2  h1
T

(16)

1.6. Coefcient of performance (COP) of the hybrid cooling tower

COP



GDCT cpa TW;DCT1  TDB;1

GWCT
GT

The COP of the cooling tower is the ratio of the heat rejection to
the power in the form of work supplied to operate the system, as
determined from Eq. (17).

Case I



Q DCT Lcpw TW;DCT1  TDB;1

(15)

(10)

Energy balance





QDCT Lcpw TW;DCT1  TW;DCT2 GDCT cpa TDB;2  TDB;1
(11)

QT QDCT QWCT

PT
Pfan Ppump

(17)

The total heat (QT) rejection is a combination of two subsystems:


the dry cooling tower (QDCT) and the wet cooling tower (QWCT). The
total required work input (PT) is the sum of work input for fan (Pfan)
and pump (Ppump).
When air mass ow rate increases, it leads to higher heat
rejection and power input. The inuence is similar at different
water mass ow rate. Assuming a cooling tower with either L or G
increases by DL or DG, the total heat rejection and the total power
input are changed by dQT and dPT, respectively. The change in COP
value of the cooling tower is in two cases.

1.5. Hybrid cooling tower


Case I: COPGDG > COPG
A hybrid cooling tower (or mixing section) can be treated as a
combination of two subsystems: the dry cooling tower and wet
cooling tower, as shown in Fig. 1. The outlet moist airs of both dry
and wet sections are mixed in the mixing section. The heat transfer
with the surroundings is ignored, and the mixing process is
assumed to be adiabatic. Mixing processes normally involve no
work interactions, and the changes in kinetic and potential energies
are negligible. The mass and energy balance for the adiabatic
mixing of air streams reduce to

QT dQT QT
>
PT dPT PT
QT dQT PT dPT
>
QT
PT
dQT dPT
>
QT
PT

(18)

W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

Case II: COPGDG < COPG

dQT dPT
<
QT
PT

87

2. Model validation and results

(19)

Therefore, the change in COP value of the cooling tower is


directly dependent on the percentage increase in heat rejection and
that in power input.
1.7. Simulation calculations
It is evident that cooling tower performance depends rather
dramatically on the operating conditions and especially on the
ambient air. The limiting temperature to which water can be cooled
for dry cooling section is the air dry-bulb temperature and that for
wet cooling section is the air wet-bulb temperature. Therefore,
prediction of cooling tower performance at various conditions is
important. Simulation calculations are required to determine the
new operating state.
For dry cooling section, the plots of effectiveness versus (L/GDCT)
are present in two forms, dry cooling system demand curve and
supply curve. Eqs. (4), (6) and (7) must be solved simultaneously to
determine the operating point for the dry cooling system being
considered for the duty. The sequence of the calculation is shown
by the ow diagram in Fig. 5. Starting with trial values of ADCT for an
ambient TDB,1 and RDCT, the value of can be obtained from Eqs. (4),
(6) and (7). In practice, the equations are solved iteratively with the
updated values of ADCT until the specied from Eq. (7) is satised.
Using the similar procedure for calculating the operating point for
the wet cooling system with T WB,1, RWCT and (L/GWCT) for (KaV/L)
and AWCT. Then the hybrid cooling tower operating conditions can
be determined from Eqs. (12)e(17).

2.1. Experiments
The hybrid cooling tower test-rig was constructed at KMUTT to
validate the mathematical models as well as to perform comparative
performance studies of the tower in various heat rejection ratios
between the wet cooling and the dry cooling. A schematic diagram
of the cooling tower is shown in Fig. 1. The cooling tower can operate
as a dry cooling tower, wet cooling tower and hybrid cooling tower.
The hybrid cooling tower combines the operating performance of
the dry cooling tower with that of the wet cooling tower and the
resulting performance is between the two, depending on the chosen
ratio which may be varied by adjusting each damper. The tower's
inside dimensions were 1000 mm  1000 mm with a total height of
3350 mm. The dry cooling system consists of four automotiveradiators, which are installed at each side of the tower, and connected for water ow in a series.
For dry cooling operations, ll and nozzles were removed and
the outlet water from the radiators were directed to a tank. To avoid
air ow into the wet section, the inlet louver was sealed with a
plastic board.
The wet cooling system consists of eight nozzles and a lm ll of
600 mm height. For wet cooling operations, the dampers at the
nned-tube were completely closed.
The water is heated at the tank by a gas burner and pumped
through a metering valve before entering the rotameter. The hot
water ow through the dry and the wet sections before returning to
the tank. Water temperature at the inlet and the exit of each cooling
section was measured by a thermocouple.
Air was induced by a fan in a parallel ow through the dry and
the wet sections. The fan speed could be varied by variable

Fig. 5. Flow diagram for calculation operating point of hybrid cooling tower.

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W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

frequency drive. Air velocity was measured by a vane anemometer


and scanned across the front area. Readings from each radiator
were averaged to determine the average air inlet velocity. The same
procedure was done at the louver of the wet section. Inlet and exit
air temperatures of the dry, the wet and the mixing sections were
measured with a Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) temperature probe. The humidity ratio (and other air properties) was
determined from Psychrometric charts or citing equations presented in Ref. [17] by measuring the dry and the wet-bulb temperatures at each location, where the air was drawn through
sampling tube by a small axial ow fan. The exit air of the dry
section was measured at the outlet of each radiator, where the
cross-plates (see Fig. 1) were installed to separate each air ow. To
obtain an average over the cross-section of the radiators, one
measurement was made at each location. The exit air of the wet
section was measured above the spray nozzles. The exit air of the
mixing section was measured at the top of drift eliminator.
A procedure for measuring each parameter is as following.
With the air side velocity and ow rate set, a water mass ow rate
range was chosen. The water pump and metering equipment from
the test cooling tower were capable of delivering up to 175 l/min
to the water inlet. Variations in test conditions were not varied by
more than 2% for circulating water ow, heat load and range. Individual air temperature readings during the test did not exceed
the average of all test data by more than 1  C. After reaching steady
state conditions, the temperatures of air and water at the inlet and
the exit for each cooling section were taken at every 5-min interval. A total of 12 readings were taken for each measured data,
and then the average was computed. Air velocity was measured
across each side of the radiators, the louver and that of the fan
stack exit. A reading was taken at every 20-min interval for 3 test
data for each area, and then the average was computed. The
circulating water mass ow rate was measured at every 20-min
interval for 3 test data, and then the average was computed. Power consumption in the fan and the pump was measured by using
a multi-meter. A reading was taken at every 30-min interval. A
total of 2 readings were taken and then the average was computed
for each device. The specications of the measuring devices are
shown in Table 1.

The surface heat transfer for both the dry tower and the wet
tower were xed in this study. According to the design data,
approximately 83% of the heat transfer in this cooling tower is due
to the wet cooling mode.
Combinations of dry and wet cooling tower working conditions
were studied in a variety of heat load, L/G and ambient conditions
and their performance were calculated. Its working modes are
determined by GWCT/GT. A dry cooling mode has GWCT/GT 0 and a
wet cooling mode has GWCT/GT 1.
An equation form used to analyze the thermal performance
capacity of a specied dry cooling tower is given in Eq. (7). This
equation ts well with test data with the value of CDCT 0.71 and
nDCT 0.26, as shown in Fig. 4. It can be used to predict the dry
cooling tower performance under changed operating conditions by
superimposing on each demand curve, since the and L/GDCT
relationship is a linear function on the logelog demand curve.
An equation form used to analyze the thermal performance
capacity of a specied wet cooling tower is given in Eq. (2). This
equation ts well with test data with the value of CWCT 0.92 and
nWCT 0.58, as shown in Fig. 3.
The wet tower supply curve (Fig. 3) together with the dry tower
supply curve (Fig. 4) are then used to evaluate the hybrid cooling
tower thermal capacity. Results from Eq. (15) were compared,
shown in Fig. 6, with the experiment data. It can be seen that they
are in good agreement.
A method for reducing the thermal capacity of a hybrid cooling
tower is to decrease QWCT/QT. This can be done conveniently by
decreasing GWCT/GT. The values of QWCT/QT based on Eq. (16) were
calculated and compared with that of experimental data as shown
in Fig. 7. It should be noted that the result from Eq. (16) was based
on the design conditions for each cooling type while that from the
test values was with varying heat load of 58% to 30% of design
load, ambient conditions at temperature of 2  C of design TDB and
at temperature of 1  C of design T WB. The trend apparent from
those gures indicates that the wet cooling tower has a dominant
inuence on the tower capacity. The value of QWCT/QT is large at
high GWCT/GT and drops to zero when GWCT/GT 0 (when the tower
is in the completely dry cooling mode).
The amount of air (G) and water (L) for each cooling mode reects the energy use and the rejected heat. The total power

3. Results and discussion


The hybrid cooling tower would operate as a combined dry and
wet tower. In order to provide the experimental results for the
comparison of the dry/wet and hybrid cooling tower, each subsystem supply curve is analyzed with the test data that cover a wide
range of working conditions. The design parameters and evaluation
of the tower performance are as following.
Design point: inlet air dry bulb at 33  C and wet bulb at 29  C
inlet water at 50  C at the ow rate of 2.9 kg/s
water temperature drop of 3  C at an approach temperature of
14  C to the dry-bulb for dry cooling mode and water temperature drop of 14  C at an approach temperature of 7  C to the
wet-bulb for wet cooling mode.

Table 1
The specications of the measuring devices.
Measurement

Instrument

Accuracy

Resolution

Water ow rate
Water temperature
Air temperature
Air velocity
Power

Rotameter
Thermocouple type-K
RTD temperature probe
Vane anemometer
Multi-meter

2%
e
2%
2%
2%

12.5 l/min
0.3  C
0.1  C
0.1 m/s
0.1 V, 0.01 A

Fig. 6. Comparison of GWCT/GT and ha,4  ha,2/ha,3  ha,2 at the mixing section between
the experiment data and the predicted value from Eq. (15).

W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

Fig. 7. Comparison of heat rejection in the wet cooling unit to the total heat rejection
between the experiment data and the predicted value from Eq. (16).

89

Fig. 9. The rejected heat for dry, wet and hybrid cooling modes.

consumption for the cooling tower is the sum of the fan power and
the pump power. Based on the measurement, as shown in Fig. 8, the
power input in the fan would require over 8 times more than that in
the pump for all types of cooling modes. It is interesting to observe
from this study that the dry cooling tower (GWCT/GT 0) trends to
require more power than the wet cooling tower (GWCT/GT 1). The
power input requirement for the hybrid cooling tower (0 < GWCT/
GT < 1) is between these two cooling modes.
The results, as shown in Fig. 9, indicate that the wet cooling
tower can reject heat about 5 times more than the dry cooling
tower. The rejected heat for the hybrid cooling tower is between
these two cooling modes and increased as GWCT/GT is increased, by
increasing the heat rejection during the evaporation process. As the
air mass ow rate increases, the rejected heat and the total power
consumption will increase. Therefore, the ratio of the two needs to
be considered.

Based on the measurements for the hybrid cooling tower


operating conditions, the values of the total rejected heat to the
total power consumption or COP were calculated as shown in
Fig. 10. The results indicate that the wet cooling tower operates
with higher COP than the dry cooling tower. A COP value from 506
to 698 was achieved from the wet cooling tower, while from the dry
cooling tower it was 91e152. The COP for a hybrid cooling tower
can be calculated from the summation of rejected heat to total
power in each subsystem.
An increase in GWCT/GT results in increased COP since the
rejected heat in a wet cooling unit increases. In order to visualize
the results of changes in GWCT/GT or the hybrid cooling tower
operation mode, each subsystem characteristic curves are plotted
to be analyzed in a readily understandable manner. It is often useful
to know the cooling tower characteristics in terms of L/G since L and
G are the two working uids that are exchanged in both mass and
heat with each other.

Fig. 8. Measured pump power and fan power for dry, wet and hybrid cooling modes.

Fig. 10. The COP for dry, wet and hybrid tower modes.

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W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

In this experiment, the water ow rate L was varied from


2.08 kg/s to 2.92 kg/s and the air mass ow rate G was varied from
1.5 kg/s to 3.9 kg/s. By measuring the pump power and the fan
power for the cooling tower with various L and G quantities and
then plotting all of these points on a chart, the power curves in
Fig. 11 were obtained. The trends apparent, shown in that gure,
show that the fan power increases as G was increased. On the one
hand the fan power was slightly affected, but on the other hand the
pump power was not greatly affected as L was increased from
2.08 kg/s to 2.92 kg/s. When L increases, the amount of water distribution inside the cooling tower also increases along with the air
ow resistance. This water allows the air to blow the droplets over
the tower's cross-sectional area more randomly, resulting in a
higher air-side pressure drop and a lower air mass ow rate.
Therefore the fan ow rate and the power are decreased. In order to
get the same air ow rate, fan speed has to be increased and more
fan power is required. Solid lines are t curves of these test data and
will be used for further calculation. Although the scattering of the
point of Fig. 10 is quite appreciable, the general trend is denite.
For a wet cooling unit, as G increases, the fan power and rejected
heat will increase. From Eq. (19), the percentage increase in rejected
heat was lower than the percentage increase in fan power, resulting
in a lower of COP (see Figs. 12 and 13). It is interesting to note that
when the L is increased, the rejected heat will increase. The inuence of water distribution over ll causes air to operate in a higher
pressure drop resulting in a higher power requirement. But the
percentage increase in rejected heat was higher than the percentage increase in fan power. And the fan power is dominated the total
required power. As a result from Eq. (18), the COP will increase.
For a dry cooling unit, as G increases, the rejected heat will increase. But the change in L of the dry cooling unit to the rejected
heat is not greatly affected (see Fig. 12). This means that the rejected
heat of the dry cooling unit varies with G value. The variation of
COP, on the other hand, is not greatly affected and its values are
much lower than that in the wet cooling unit.
The predicted result, as shown in solid lines in Figs. 12 and 13,
was determined from Eqs. (2) and (7) or Figs. 3 and 4 for the test
hybrid cooling tower (for each subsystem) at a xed inlet water
temperature of 50  C, and an ambient temperature of TDB,1 33  C,
T WB,1 29  C. The value of COP at G lower than 1.5 kg/s is not shown

Fig. 12. The rejected heat from dry and wet cooling towers for different water and air
mass ow rates.

since there are no measured data. The input power is measured in


terms of the sum of the dry and the wet cooling modes and cannot
be categorized into each subsystem.
The largest source of uncertainty came from the measurement
of the fan and pump power with the multi-meter, whose uncertainty was estimated to be 4%. Combined with the uncertainties in
ow properties, and temperatures, the uncertainty in COP was
estimated at 4.6%. The details of the uncertainty in the measurements are included in Appendix A.
4. Conclusions
The experimental data reveal that the cooling tower characteristics of dry and wet cooling units are a function of water-to-air
ratio for each subsystem. It is the most important factor in
designing the cooling tower and related to operating performance
of cooling tower. Air mass ow rate is proportional to fan power

0.40
900.0

800.0

0.30

700.0

0.25

600.0

500.0

0.20

COP

Power (kW)

0.35

Measured data

0.15

COP

400.0

Fan @ L= 2.08 kg/s


Fan @ L=2.92 kg/s

300.0

Pump @ L= 2.08 kg/s

Measured data
@ L= 2.92 kg/s

COP

@ L=2.08 kg/s

COP

@ L= 2.92 kg/s

COP

@ L= 2.08 kg/s

Pump @ L=2.92 kg/s

0.10

200.0

0.05

0.00
0.50

100.0

1.00

1.50

2.00
2.50
G (kg/s)

3.00

3.50

4.00

Fig. 11. Input pump power and fan power curves for different water and air mass ow
rates.

0.0
0.50

1.00

1.50

2.00
2.50
G (kg/s)

3.00

3.50

4.00

Fig. 13. The COP of dry and wet cooling towers for different water and air mass ow
rates.

W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

consumption as well as heat rejection rate in the cooling system.


The same is true for pump. But in this study the pump has a fairly
at power consumption curve over most of its operating range. The
power consumption of pump is much less than that of fan. Thus the
fan power is dominated the total required power of the cooling
system and air ow rate has a major role in cooling tower performance especially in a dry cooling unit.
At high air mass ow rate the heat rejection and power consumption increased in both units. The increase of heat rejection is
low in dry cooling unit compare to that in wet cooling unit. The
combined result of these mechanisms gives a drop in COP. The dry
cooling unit exhibits less of a tendency to drop in COP at higher air
mass ow rates than does the wet cooling unit. But COP of dry
cooling unit is much less than that of wet cooling unit.
A hybrid cooling tower combines the operating performance of
a dry cooling unit with that of a wet cooling unit. Its performance is
between the two, depending on the chosen ratio which may be
varied by adjusting each tower's air mass ow rate.
As the air mass ow rate increases, the rejected heat will increase, but the COP will decrease. It is evident that if a hybrid
cooling tower can be adjusted without sacricing the rejected heat,
a more economical operation can be obtained at a reduced air ow
rate in a dry cooling unit than in a wet cooling unit. Therefore, it
could be concluded that better COP is obtained when operating
with low mass ow rate in each subsystem with high GWCT/GT. A
much more detailed analysis of the specic applications and the
corresponding economic factors would be necessary to identify
completely the relative merits of each subsystem. Furthermore,
work is in progress to use exergy analysis on the performance of the
cooling system.
Acknowledgements
This research has been supported by the Thailand Research Fund
through the MAG Window I Program (Grant No. MRG545E082). The
authors want to gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Thai
Cooling Tower Company for donating material and equipment for
use in the tower.
Nomenclature
A
COP
G
h
I
Ka
KaV/L
L
NTU
P
Q
R
T
V
Volt

approach ( C)
coefcient of performance
air mass ow rate (kg/s)
enthalpy (kJ/kg)
current (A)
volumetric mass transfer coefcient (kg/m3 s)
wet cooling characteristic
water mass ow rate (kg/s)
number of heat transfer unit
power (kW)
heat load (kW)
range ( C)
temperature ( C)
effective tower ll volume (m3)
voltage (V)

Greek symbol

effectiveness
u
humidity ratio
Subscripts
a
air
DB
dry bulb
DCT
dry cooling tower

fan
fw
max
pump
sw
W
WB
WCT
T
1
2
3
4

91

fan
saturated water
maximum
pump
saturated air at water temperature
water
wet bulb
wet cooling tower
total or hybrid cooling tower
inlet dry section
outlet dry section or inlet wet section
outlet wet section
outlet mixing section

Appendix A
Uncertainty analysis of hybrid cooling tower COP
The main parameter of interest in hybrid cooling tower is coefcient of performance (COP). The coefcient of performance is
calculated by the following equation.

COP

QDCT QWCT QT

Pfan Ppump
PT

For this equation the uncertainty of COP can be written

dCOP

COP

"

dQT
QT

2

dPT
PT

2 #1=2

The formula for QT is

QT QDCT QWCT




Lcpw TW;DCT1  TW;DCT2 Lcpw TW;WCT1  TW;WCT2
Let T W,DCT2 T W,WCT1



QT Lcpw TW;DCT1  TW;WCT2
QT Lcpw R
The uncertainty in QT becomes:

dQT

QT

" 
 2 #1=2
dL 2
dR

L
R

When cpw 4.186 kJ/kg K


From test data:
Total cooling range (R) 15.9  C
Voltage of fan (Voltfan) 333.1 V
Current of fan (Ifan) 0.52 A
Voltage of pump (Voltpump) 158.3 V
Current of pump (Ipump) 0.19 A
Total power (PT) 0.34 kW
Coefcient of performance (COP) 545.734
From Table 1, the manufacturer's accuracy is used to estimate
the uncertainty L as:

dL
0:020
L
Total cooling range (R) is dened as

92

W. Asvapoositkul, M. Kuansathan / Applied Thermal Engineering 71 (2014) 83e93

R TW;DCT1  TW;WCT2
The uncertainty in R becomes:

dR

"

 #1=2

dTW;DCT1 2
dTW;WCT2 2

R
R

Therefore:

h
2 
2 i1=2
dR dTW;DCT1 dTW;WCT2

2
!2
!2 3


dPT 2
1 4 dPfan
dPfan
2
dI

dVoltfan 5
PT
dIfan fan
dVoltfan
Pfan
"
2
dPpump
1
2
dIpump
dIpump
Ppump
2 #

dPpump

dVoltpump
dVoltpump
2
!2


dPT 2 4 dIfan

PT
Ifan


Let dT W,DCT1 dT W,WCT2 and of the resolution is used.

82
!2
dPT <4 dIfan

:
PT
Ifan

dR

h

dTW;DCT1

2

dVoltfan
Voltfan

dVoltpump
Voltpump

dVoltfan
Voltfan
 #
2

9
!2 3 "
2 
2 #=1=2
dI
dVolt
pump
pump
5

;
Ipump
Voltpump


2 i1=2
dTW;DCT1

h 
2 i1=2
dR 2 dTW;DCT1

i h
io1=2
dPT nh
0:0202 0:0202 0:0202 0:0202
PT

" 
2 #1=2
1
 0:3
dR 2
2

dPT
0:040
PT

dR 0:212C

i1=2
dCOP h
0:0242 0:0402
COP

The uncertainty of QT is

"
 #1=2

dQT
0:212 2
2
0:020
15:9
QT
dQT
0:024
QT
Total power (PT) is dened as

PT Pfan Ppump
When

Pfan

p
3Ifan Voltfan

and

Ppump Ipump Voltpump


Then

PT

!2 3 "

dIpump 2
5
Ipump

p
3Ifan Voltfan Ipump Voltpump

Considering that the uncertainties of Ifan, Voltfan, Ipump, and


Voltpump are independent, the following expression for the uncertainty in PT is developed:

The uncertainty of COP can be calculated:

dCOP
0:046
COP
COP 545:73425:104

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