Cooling towers are used to extract heat from water and disperse it into the atmosphere, but not all towers do this the same way. There are many types of cooling towers out there because there are so many various environments and situations that they need to perform in. We are going to cover a few of the common cooling tower types here:
Hyperbolic: Commonly used in nuclear facilities, hyperbolic cooling towers work due to their stack/chimney style design. This design is used to take advantage of the times when the air outside of the tower is cooler than the air inside the tower which causes the warmer, heavily humid air inside the tower to rise and eventually leave through the top of the tower. The upward draft effect cools the water in the tower.
Crossflow: These towers are designed to cool water by sending air across water descending from the distribution basin horizontally. Once the water has descended to the flowing collection basin it has been adequately cooled. While more these type of towers don’t usually cost as much as other types, they are more prone to freezing which could offset the benefit of the lower cost in the long run.
Counterflow: In these type of towers air moves vertically against water descending water and sends the extracted heat out of the top of the tower. It takes power to send the air upward so counterflow towers tend to cost a little more. They are also more compact and ergonomically efficient which is can offset some of the sting of the higher costs of construction and operation.
There are many, many more cooling tower types out there and the science behind the design of each is fascinating. Finding the right cooling tower to for a facility is a huge decision that will have major financial implications in the big picture. Knowledge is your best weapon against wasting valuable resources.