Water and Energy savings in Cooling Systems –  FReE Technology

Picture of Montse Pallarès Carner
Montse Pallarès Carner

CSV Market Manager
CSV – Creating Shared Value with Society

Water scarcity in Europe is a complex issue that demands immediate attention and action. Sustainable cooling systems offer a pathway to achieve energy and water savings while also contributing to the fulfilment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. By integrating these technologies and practices into various industries, Europe can make significant strides towards achieving water security and building a more sustainable future for all.

Despite being known for its temperate climate and abundant water resources, Europe is not immune to the impacts of water scarcity. As the region faces increasing demand for cooling systems to cater to various industries, it is crucial to develop sustainable solutions that promote energy and water savings while aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This article explores the interconnection between water scarcity, cooling systems, energy efficiency, water conservation, corrosion, heat transfer, and their relevance to the SDGs.

Optimizing Cooling Systems Through Comprehensive Water Treatment Strategies

Water treatment plays a vital role in enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of cooling systems. By effectively controlling corrosion, scale formation, and microbiological growth, industries can ensure that their cooling systems operate at peak performance, saving energy and water. Increasing cycles of concentration and implementing on-line cleaning methods further contribute to improved heat transfer coefficients, reduced water consumption, and minimized operational costs. As we continue to prioritize environmental sustainability, investing in proper water treatment for cooling systems is a crucial step towards achieving energy efficiency and responsible water management in various industries.

What are the main problems in Cooling Systems?

  1. Corrosion:

Corrosion occurs when metal surfaces in cooling systems react with water, leading to the degradation of equipment and increased maintenance costs. It also hampers heat transfer efficiency, resulting in higher energy consumption. To combat corrosion, water treatment techniques such as adding corrosion inhibitors can create a protective layer on metal surfaces, preventing direct contact with corrosive agents. Proper water chemistry analysis and regular monitoring are essential to ensure the effectiveness of corrosion control measures.

  1. Scale Control – Preventing Efficiency-Draining Deposits:

Scale formation is another critical issue in cooling systems. When water is heated, dissolved minerals can precipitate and form scale deposits on heat exchange surfaces. These deposits act as insulating barriers, reducing heat transfer coefficients and requiring additional energy to maintain optimal temperatures. Water treatment methods like water softening and scale inhibitors help prevent scale formation, allowing cooling systems to operate at higher efficiency levels.

  1. Microbiological Growth:

Microbiological growth, including bacteria, algae, and fungi, can thrive in cooling water systems. Unchecked microbial growth not only affects heat transfer efficiency but also leads to biofouling and health hazards. Proper water treatment involving biocides and bio-dispersants helps control microbiological activity, ensuring cooling systems remain free from microbial-related complications.

  1. High Water Consumptions:

One of the effective strategies for conserving water in cooling systems is increasing the cycles of concentration. Cycles of concentration represent the ratio of dissolved solids in the cooling water to that in the makeup water. By optimizing water treatment and monitoring water quality, cooling systems can operate at higher cycles of concentration, reducing the volume of water required for cooling. This approach conserves water and minimizes wastewater discharge and associated treatment costs.

In that sense, Kurita has developed FReE Technology to help industries to efficiently operate cooling systems safely, decreasing water consumption and saving energy keeping clean all heat transfer devices as heat exchangers, condensers and cooling towers.

What is FReE Technology?

Kurita´s Fouling Removal Efficiency program FReE keeps cooling systems clean of various deposits. Even further, it has been specially developed to remove them online, starting from biofouling but also including mineral scales like Al Silicates, Calcium carbonate, and -sulfates. At the same time, using Kurita´s own film forming technologies FReE protects the cleaned surfaces, and especially those of carbon steel and copper or other yellow metals, with an azole-free product from corrosion.

While it is a common understanding that both deposit prevention and corrosion inhibition are necessary for all systems the specific need for different systems may vary depending on the industry the cooling system is used in. Kurita FReE cleaning and protection technology enables to tailor the program and adjust it to the need of the different industries and heat exchanger construction materials.

Using Kurita´s large know-how on applying film-forming technologies in different kinds of applications, Turbodispin® 4363 has been developed to protect cooling systems from biofilms and to apply an active corrosion inhibition for copper and other yellow metal materials.

It can replace traditional biodispersants and copper inhibitors with special filming technologies. The treatment itself is further reinforced by Kurita’s special range of polymers for inorganic deposits and suspended solids, the Turbodispin® D series.

Turbodispin® 4363 is an Azole free three functional product that helps to keep heat exchanger and cooling tower surfaces clean from organic deposits and at the same time provides active corrosion inhibition of yellow metal surfaces.

Applications of FReE in cooling systems, as well as lab data, show that effective and even superior corrosion protection of copper and copper-based alloys as compared to the treatment with azoles. Corrosion rates of copper have been reduced by up to 30% ensuring a longer lifetime of the heat exchanger being in place.

Kurita’s Turbodspin® 4363 technology is based on a filming technology showing several advantages. It is used to remove biofouling and acting as a dispersing agent, which works without modifying the surface tension of the water. The dispersant and bio-dispersant effects are obtained as thermodynamically the active groups of the filmer agent have a higher affinity for the metallic surfaces than the biofouling or corrosion products. Turbodispin® 4363 penetrates the deposits slowly and therefore disperses slowly the deposits themselves or parts of it. The remaining deposits, due to their now porous structure, become fragile and also is removed step by step through the supporting dispersant for the inorganic matter.

Deposits before and after FReE Technology Treatment.
Figure 1 - Piece of the Filling of a Cooling Tower (Power Plant) scaled with Aluminium Silicate and Calcium Carbonate deposits before and after FReE Technology Treatment.

Which is the impact in Energy Consumption?

When surfaces are corroded, scaled and dirty, heat transfer is compromised and to reach optimal temperature of cooled water, energy consumptions are higher. Depending on the kind of scale and thickness the quantity of energy required to maintain the water cooled is higher, for example 1 mm of Calcium Carbonate means 50% increase in fuel costs. When we apply FReE Technology to the Cooling system we keep the surfaces clean and temperatures under control optimizing energy consumption and also CO2 emissions.
Different deposits thicknes and increase of fuel costs (%)
Effect of Scale in Cooling Process at the fillings of the Cooling System

Figure 2 – Different deposits thicknes and increase of fuel costs (%) – Effect of Scale in Cooling Process at the fillings of the Cooling System.

Which is the impact in Water Consumption?

Running systems at higher cycles of concentration means directly savings in water make up water to the Cooling Systems.

Traditional Water Treatment Programs have limitations in terms of prevention of scale, chlorides content and conductivity, when applying FReE Technology and providing this extra treatment to the water, we are allowed to exceed limits in terms of calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, chlorides content, pH and conductivity, this is achieved by complementing the regular treatment with the boost of dispersant agents and film forming substance keeping scale under control and providing an extra protection against corrosion.

Applying the different Kurita projection tools, software and analyzing properly water chemistry allows using FReE Technology as a boost of corrosion control and on line cleaning. In that sense, we can extend Cycles of Concentration and work in much more stressed situations and allowing us to save water up to 10% depending on the situation.

FReE - Water Chemistry

Figure 2 – Software and Projection Tools to Analyze Water Chemistry to calculate water savings keeping the system safe. In the example (Air Processing Industry) cycles of concentration are increased from 4 to 4,7 driving to 8,5% of water savings.

Apply FReE Technology and get rid of any kind of deposit: saving water, energy and contributing to decarbonization.

Kurita has developed the Fouling Removal Efficiency application, where a total cleaning is performed during operation, without being corrosive and with no generation of waste.

  • Significant improvement in Cooling Efficiency, Energy Savings and CO2 emissions reduction
  • Online cleaning while plant is operating
  • Exceptional protection against corrosion throughout whole water circuit
  • No waste generation or cleaning solutions. Dissolved deposits are eliminated through blow down.
  • Environmentally friendly & sustainable solution

Apply FReE Technology and get rid of any kind of deposit: saving water, energy and contributing to decarbonization.

Water scarcity in Europe is a complex issue that demands immediate attention and action. Sustainable cooling systems offer a pathway to achieve energy and water savings while also contributing to the fulfillment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

By integrating FReE Technlogy into industries and cooling systems, Europe can make significant strides towards achieving water security and building a more sustainable future for all.

The United Nations’ SDGs provide a comprehensive framework for addressing global challenges, including water scarcity and sustainable development. The following SDGs are particularly relevant to the topic

  1. SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation – Implementing water-saving cooling technologies and reducing water consumption align with the goal of ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all.
  2. SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy – Transitioning to energy-efficient cooling systems supports the objective of providing sustainable and affordable energy to promote economic development.
  3. SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production – Encouraging responsible consumption of water and energy in cooling systems contributes to sustainable production practices.
  4. SDG 13: Climate Action – Energy-efficient cooling systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change mitigation.
  5. SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals – Collaboration between governments, industries, and academia is essential to drive innovation and implement sustainable cooling solutions.
Sustainable Development Goals UN

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