Closed Loop Fluid Coolers
The most simple type of cooling system is the Closed Loop Fluid Cooler. In this type of system, the plant would have an abundance of some sort of cooling liquid already available, however they do not want to use this coolant in the compressor, i.e. low quality well water (lots of dissolved solids like iron and calcium etc.).
A Closed Loop Fluid Cooler would be ideal for this situation. It would use the well water on one side of an intermediate heat exchanger and a coolant on the other side, in a closed loop to cool the compressor. The heat is then exchanged through the intermediate heat exchanger without fouling the heat exchangers. Fouling of the intermediate heat exchanger could likely happen on the well-water side, however, a properly selected intermediate heat exchanger can be taken apart easily and cleaned. The most common intermediate heat exchangers are either plate and frame or shell and tube type. Typically, one can expect to achieve coolant temperatures of 5 degrees above the plant cooling “water” with a Closed Loop Fluid System. For example, if well water is available at 55 F, the cooling system is capable of supplying 60 F coolant to the load.
The strength of a Closed Loop Fluid Cooler is that it is relatively inexpensive to purchase and install. The system can be installed inside or outside. The system is inexpensive to operate with only the closed loop pump using any additional energy.
Weaknesses of the Closed Loop Fluid Cooler include periodic downtime of the cooling system for cleaning. Additionally, this system requires a regulated supply of plant coolant like the well water example above for proper cooling of the load.
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