137 Transcript

137 The One That’s All About Cooling Towers – Part 1


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hello scaled-up nation and welcome to
the scaling up h2o podcast the podcast
where we’re scaling up on knowledge so
we don’t scale up our systems
I am trace Blackmore I am the host of
scaling up h2o and folks happy may 8th
happy may 6 to me two days ago actually
celebrated my 45th birthday I don’t know
how that happened 45 years old for fun I
looked up who I share my birthday with
and I actually share a birthday with
Sigmund Freud I don’t know if that says
anything about me but I also share a
birthday with George Clooney so I think
by default that makes me Batman and I
think that’s appropriate because as you
know I compare water treaters to
superheroes all the time I think it was
about three years ago on this podcast
when I first did a microphone check on a
brand new microphone that I received
I’ve since gifted that microphone to
somebody that started out a podcast but
I remember I was just playing around and
I did this little thing on water
treaters are superheroes and since that
time I’ve seen other people post on
their social media pages how water
treaters are superheroes so I love that
others agree with me when you think
about it with all the things that nature
throws against us you have to consider
us a superhero think about it we protect
metals from rapidly corroding now steel
a metal it wants to corrode it doesn’t
like existing in the state that it is in
it wants to exist in a more stable state
meaning it wants to rust and then we put
that metal we put that steel in water
will be called water the universal
solvent that means it wants to corrode
things corrode things like steel so
we’re putting something that wants to
corrode into something that wants to
corrode it and now our job is to protect
that metal from rapidly corroding how
else would you define what we
do other than we are superheroes so I
hope you spread the word about that
nation you’ve heard me say on this
podcast before whatever area of water
treatment you practice there is most
definitely some sort of certification
that you can acquire now for the folks
that practice the same type of water
treatment that I do that certification
is the certified water technologist
that’s administered by the Association
of Water Technologies now we call that
the C WT and there are two individuals
that recently achieved their C WTS that
I wanted to recognize on the scaling up
h2o podcast that is Patrick shaver he’s
of Global Water Technologies and then
Ryan Cochrane of aqua troll well folks
they received their CW teas this year
and I know they are both listeners of
the scaling up h2o podcast so you guys
are now superheroes in your own right
and folks if you have not considered
looking to see what designation is out
there for the type of water treatment
that you practice and going after that
designation I’m going to encourage you
to do so by doing that you are proving
to the world that you are in this
industry to stay that you are taking it
seriously and you are doing what you can
to raise the bar within that industry
just like Patrick and Ryan what can we
all do to raise the industry just a
little bit and just think what will
happen if we all do that no nation can
you remember a time where you didn’t
know what a cooling tower was like I
said have you practiced the same type of
water treatment that I do you see
cooling towers each and every day but
before you got into this industry you
probably didn’t know what a cooling
tower was back then you never noticed
them but now you cannot help but notice
them they’re everywhere the funny thing
is is they were everywhere before you
just didn’t know to look for them and
now that we know that
I’ve got this disease where I can’t stop
looking for cooling towers they almost
just call out to me I’m not even trying
to look for I mean I’ll say hey there’s
a cooling tower over there they they
call out to me I think that’s something
that water treaters just that’s maybe
one of the super powers that we have to
share a funny story with you my wife
Stacy and I were in Rome and we were
looking at some historic buildings and
right beside that there was a cooling
tower and I remember I started pointing
out some features of the cooling tower
to her and she just looked at me and
said trace we’ve flown 5,000 miles and
you’re looking at a cooling tower and I
think I said something like well Stacey
you can take the boy out of water
treatment but you can never take the
water treatment out of the boy and of
course she filed for divorce immediately
when we returned home no that didn’t
happen we’re happily married just a joke
but I just say that because I think a
lot of people are like that they just
notice things in the environment
wherever they are that relate to what
they do on a regular basis here’s the
thing about cooling towers they are very
effective at removing heat and they can
be used in just about every industry
that you can imagine because of their
ability to effectively remove heat now
because they’re in so many industries
we’ve developed different terms for the
same piece of equipment and we call
cooling towers a bunch of different
things we call parts on a cooling tower
a bunch of different things so if you’re
now having a conversation with somebody
and you call something X and the other
person normally calls it Y you’re
probably sitting there agreeing with
each other but you have no idea what
you’re talking about because you’re not
using that common terminology now if
you’ve ever called a manufacturer of a
cooling tower and didn’t use the
appropriate word they will probably take
the time to educate you or ask you the
question what exactly are you talking
about a lot of times when people say
that they mean this is that what you’re
talking about
and that’s been my experience when I’ve
worked with manufacturers well folks
that is what today’s show is all about a
vApp ko is here to help us with a common
language for all these things that we
call cooling towers and all the parts
that are on cooling towers and Brett
Alexander of of a pro is going to
educate us on everything about cooling
towers well not everything but he’s
gonna give us a pretty good lesson on
cooling towers he’s got to let us know
that just because we call it a cooling
tower its proper name is not necessarily
a cooling tower folks I know you are
going to learn a lot today so please
welcome Brett Alexander my lab partner
today is Brett Alexander of evap CO
Brett how are you today hey trace gonna
be here absolutely man thanks so much
for coming on I’m really excited about
today’s show because we have the water
treatment world and we have the
manufacturers world and we don’t always
communicate in the exact same way we’re
gonna fix that today yeah I’m excited
you know I kind of started in the water
treatment industry a few years ago and
then moved over the manufacturing side
so I kind of have the point of view on
both sides which is nice well I think
that’s definitely gonna help today’s
conversation but before we get started
with that do you mind letting the
scaling-up nation know a little bit
about yourself
yeah so I’m a Midwest kid born and
raised in Wichita Kansas grew up you
know like in sports basketball baseball
while you know with school like in math
and science so I took the talents up to
the University of Kansas for school and
decided to go engineering route
originally thought that I wanted to go
you know petroleum engineering a lot of
my friends parents growing up we’re all
in the oil and gas industry and so that
was kind of attractive to me but I kind
of was doing some more research and
decided to switch over to chemical
because it didn’t really pigeonhole me
so much and just oil and gas
so after graduation I decided to go and
oil and gas got a job with Halliburton I
was down in Houston Texas and my role
with them was actually the drilling
fluids engineer which is a fancy way of
calling a mud engineer so I would go out
to the rig when they’re drilling the
well and I was in charge of treating the
drilling fluid so we drill a well
whether it’s for natural gas or oil you
drill through you know the earth but you
have to bring all those cuttings and the
earth back up to the surface while
stabilizing the wellbore so you know you
get you’re doing a lot of the same
properties as you would with cooling
water but it’s a lot higher pressure and
temperatures and you’re throwing in 50
pound 100 pound bags of stuff instead of
measuring to the ppm so that’s kind of
how I got my start you know treating
fluids did that for about three years
and then 2015 came around and that’s
when you know the oil prices kind of
took a took a spike down and so they
laid out a bunch of Engineers my rig
that I was working on got stacked back
and so they decided to let me go and I’m
telling you that that two months of
being unemployed felt like two years you
know Jenny of the younger listeners you
know if you have to go through time
where your company goes down and they
have to layoff employees don’t get down
it seems like you know a long time when
you’re looking for a job every day for a
couple months but with our background
and our specialties you’ll find
something so I since found a job with
they probably heard of them before
Malka water you know they’re the big the
big water treatment company you know and
I I really I really enjoyed my time with
them you know they’ve got some good
training programs so learned a lot about
the cooling water and the health side of
it I was in Austin Texas at that time
and you know being in Texas there’s not
too many boilers down there so I was
primarily cooling water application
started in the heavy industry with them
so power plants big central plants and
then also transit
over to their institutional side which
hospitals hotels commercial buildings
data centers so kind of seeing all the
different types of cooling water places
that you can go into and about two years
ago Ave Abdo came looking for a kind of
chemical engineer I had been in Texas
for about five years at the time and I
was kind of ready for you know kind of a
culture change and I definitely got that
by coming out to the East Coast to
Baltimore Maryland and joining the of
Abdo team so now I’m on the
manufacturing side but we’re a little
different than a lot of our competition
because Valco actually has a water
treatment division inside of the company
so you know we sell the cooling tower or
evaporative condenser closer to cooler
but we also can then offer water
treatment solutions to accompany that so
that’s been something different for me
learning from both sides yeah when I
spoke with your boss Chris Nagle on
episode 37 we spoke a lot about your
department and at the time that was the
only one that was around that I’m aware
of I’m not sure if other manufacturers
are doing that but I can tell the nation
firsthand that personally you know
working with you guys and then you guys
working with the Association of Water
Technologies you have just shared some
tremendous information that have changed
the way of how us water treaters do
things specifically passivation which I
think we’re going to touch on just
briefly a little bit later in the show
but I want to say hats off to you guys
when you guys are producing some amazing
stuff and it’s coming from the
manufacturer and for the manufacturer to
say we’ve done these water treatment
tests we can help provide you with
procedures that actually work instead of
just seen in the OEM that you know you
guys are on your own you should use your
water trader and we’re out of it but by
the way if you do something wrong you’re
gonna violate your warranty so I just
want to commend you guys for doing that
yeah and we’re not so much coming in and
stepping on the toes of people you know
with liquid chemical feed systems and
stuff we kind of have
different more sustainable focused you
know with a non chemical type device and
then solid chemistry and now like a
water efficiency focused pretreatment
system and our passivation research so
it’s a kind of a different niche to it
but we like the direction we’re going in
the industry yeah again I just want to
commend you guys for it and I’m curious
what’s the culture shock that you
experienced from movie from Texas to
Baltimore so I traded in my barbecue and
tex-mex and now I eat a lot of seafood
that’s why I tell everybody but the sea
here is fresh and when our
representatives that sell the equipment
come up with their customers we take
them on fishing trips sometimes and
going out to the Chesapeake Bay and
catching rockfish and you know that’s
just a fun time my favorite crab cake is
in Baltimore
it’s faidley’s and every time I go up
there I always make sure I stop there
and once a year we get a shipment in
right around the new year where we get
12 crab cakes shipped to us and we cook
those on special occasions have you ever
had them yes I have and they’re they’re
the size of softballs
they’re awesome yes donation I highly
recommend you check those out Brett I
understand you recently got married I
did October 4th
so I was dating Tiffany for about two
and a half three years and when I moved
up here from Texas that’s where we met
down Texas and she moved up with me to
this new place neither of us have lived
and you know we lived together for about
a year and you know it just was right so
we said I do
October 4th went on a nice honeymoon and
Thailand and Cambodia and so that was
sweet to see that side of the world I
had never been over there before not
many cooling towers over there well hey
let’s get into the meat of this
conversation because I know for a fact
and working with you guys
I tend to call everything a cooling
tower and I know that isn’t the correct
way and you say no there are specific
terminologies for what the cooling
towers actually doing and that gives us
separate definition so Brett if you
don’t mind how do you as the
manufacturer define a cooling tower so
we give it a simple definition a simple
open cooling tower is just a big metal
box like the factory assembled one a big
metal box used to reject heat from a
building or a process through
evaporation when I’m going to talk about
a lot of stuff today it’s going to be
what you’ll typically see in the field
because there’s so many different types
of equipment and setups but I’m going to
talk more of the general what I think
the listeners will most often run into
and kind of focus on that
so that is an open cooling tower you
know just the general one where you have
the water flowing in to the top of it
and then it cascades down over a PVC
fill media and then you’re also having a
fan push air or pull air through the
cooling tower so that air and water that
interacts some of the heat evaporates
out of the unit I mean then that cooler
water falls into the basin of the unit
that then can be pumped back to the
chiller or the heat exchanger or
whatever the load is but that’s not it
because that’s what a cooling tower does
but depending on what it actually is
being used for and how it’s designed we
go a step further and we give them
another name and I believe those names
are either a cooling tower a closed
circuit cooler or an evaporative
condenser so help the scaling-up Nation
understand what the differences of those
are so what I just explained was a
cooling tower but I like to call it an
open cooling tower because that
condenser water is open to the
atmosphere right so when that air comes
in its directly seeing that that water
flowing through it those are the gonna
be the most common what you’ll see the
other one for HVAC applications that you
can see is a closed circuit cooler or it
can also be called a fluid cooler these
look very similar to an open cooling
tower
but the difference is there’s a coil
inside of this so the recirculating
water now falls over the coil as air is
moving up through that cooler so you can
think of it we pretty much move to heat
exchanger inside of the tower right so
this cooler now has a coil inside of it
and you’re flowing water and spraying it
over the coil and inside that coil is a
fluid a process fluid
it could be glycol it could be water it
could be oil for an industrial process
something that needs to be cooled and
some applications you’ll see a fluid
cooler end is water source heat pump
applications and then also maybe like
data centers hospitals anything that
kind of has a critical process where you
really want to keep that fluid clean
because the fluid inside of that coil is
not not seeing the the air the
atmosphere so it’s not picking up all
the dirt and debris that’s getting
scrubbed into the tower so that fluid
inside the coil stays a lot cleaner so
I’ll tell you the story the first time I
saw a closed circuit cooler in Austin
Texas you know traditionally an open
cooling tower market and I go out to
this commercial building and they they
called me out they’re like hey we think
we got scale on our unit so I’ve been
about a year and a half and go out there
open the louver and look inside and I
seen this coil inside and I’m like had
no idea what it was and never seen one
before and it had white spots all over
it so it was a couple of first of a
couple of things you know seeing a
closed circuit cooler for the first time
and then also seen a white rusted coil
inside which will hit on later I’m sure
yeah I can’t bring you guys all without
talking about white rust all right
definitely but yeah so that was my kind
of first time seeing a closed circuit
cooler but the big key to that is if you
look inside and you see a coil inside of
there that coil can be galvanized steel
or it can be stainless steel or the
primarily the two metallurgies you’ll
see and thinking back I don’t think I’ve
seen that many stainless steel coal
I’ve seen a few but by far most of the
ones I see you’re galvanized right it’s
definitely the best first cost advantage
going galvanized yeah it’s hot dipped
galvanized the coils are primarily G 235
hot dipped galvanized and so the G 235
means you’re getting two point three
five ounces per square foot of zinc on
that carbon steel coil and so that zinc
then acts as the sacrificial anode for
the coil right the zinc will give itself
up before you get to the bare carbon
steel of the coil but of course those
coils then require passivation to extend
the service life and make sure you don’t
have premature corrosion and end up with
leaks in that coil well tell you what
Brett how about when we get finished
talking about the cooling tower designs
we go into the metallurgies and you can
tell us everything that we as water
treaters need to know from the
manufacturer about that yeah that sounds
good I’m getting ahead of myself no
you’re fine so we talked about a closed
circuit cooler and then we have an
evaporative condenser now both of those
have coils what’s the difference so
pretty much the same an evaporative
condenser is pretty much the same as a
closed circuit cooler the difference is
is what’s inside of that coil the fluid
inside of it for evaporative condenser
you’re gonna have a refrigerant flowing
through the coil so ammonia r22 any of
those refrigerant grades and so where
you’ll run into evaporative condensers
are in like food processing plants cold
storage facilities so you know that’s
like our refrigeration reps sell the
evaporative condensers with like an
evaporator system and compressor so
those are kind of the differences and
then they’re and then let’s make sure we
hit on later some of the differences to
what to keep in mind when you treat an
evaporative condenser because they’re
not not the same as a closed circuit
cooler and we’re going to talk about
what the difference is in our water
treatment program needs to be in a bit
but you recently did a webinar for aw
tease young professionals that dealt
with this you want to talk a little bit
about that yeah I think that was about
almost two years ago me and a couple
colleagues we did an AWT young
professionals webinar and the title was
understanding different heat rejection
equipment and how to treat them you know
from a water-treatment standpoint just
kind of what we’re talking about there’s
different types of equipment they
require different water treatment
different things to keep in mind you
know we get into materials of
construction and it’s nice because that
the presentation has you know pictures
and cutouts of the tower so when I’m
explaining water flowing down the tower
Phil and the air going up there’s
actually pictures that you can go and
look at to kind of visualize is that
might be kind of hard to follow me and
explain it it over the podcast but go to
the AWP T’s website into their library
you can see that one of our water
treatment partners down in Houston Texas
actually texted me the other day he goes
hey nice nice webinar you did for AWT
and I didn’t really know he was talking
about it first but he had to go get some
like a credits for it and that was one
he listened to oh credits for his
certified water technologist designation
yep as it very cool I’ll try to put a
link to that but it’s in the members
only section so unless you’re able to
log in it’s not gonna work but we’ll
definitely put a link up to that on our
show notes page you know the other item
I want to talk about is water treaters
we’ll call everything a cooling tower
and now you’re educating us know they’re
they’re different terms for that but
they’re also we describe them with how
the water and the air interfaces so do
you mind talking a little bit about that
so there’s two types of cooling towers
with regards to air flow the first one
being counter flow well the counter flow
tower the water flows down the tower
fill media as the air moves up through
it and so they’re moving in opposite
directions so that’s how we get the term
you know
counter flow most counter flow towers
you’ll see you’re pulling air into the
unit from all four sides these are
primarily what we do from a bapto
standpoint we do a lot of counter flow
design so pulling air from four sides
and I’ll get into more that we talk
about treating so the other one is cross
flow cross flow towers you’ll have air
being drawn in from two sides so the two
ends have the fill media on them and so
now you’re pulling in the air from left
to right or right to left and then you
have the water flowing down the fill
again and so now the water and air are
moving across each other so terms get
the name cross flow tower all right so
what about the air so what happens with
the with the air how it’s introduced you
either have a forced draught tower which
has a centrifugal fan at the bottom of
the unit which pushes the air through
the through the tower these typically
use more energy the centrifugal fans
force draught where you’ll typically see
forced draught units or if they need to
be ducted or it’s a low profile type
insulation where they can’t have a tall
tower these force draught units can be
shorter in size so for example in
Washington DC they have a law where no
buildings can be over a certain height
that’s over one of their the monument
building so they do pretty much all
force draft cooling towers and then the
other one that which is most common
which you’ll see is an induced draught
cooling tower which has the fan at the
top of the unit it’s an axial fan which
is pulling the air up through the tower
or inducing it through the film so you
have a forced draught counter flow tower
you know you have a forced draught
cross flow tower induced draught counter
flow tower induced draught cross flow so
there’s different mixtures of those you
can have so let me get into how the the
water in the air
interact in that still media that film
media is typically PVC inside of an open
cooling tower and so the reason you have
that in there as the water goes across
that fill it increases the surface area
of the of the water so then you have
more surface area so then more the air
can contact that and absorb the heat
from the water and then it goes up and
you can evaporate that heat out of the
unit and so you know you might have 95
degree water coming into the top of the
fill and as it goes down through the
fill by the time it exits after it’s
been touching all the air and in contact
with it and now it’s about you know 85
say just a 10 degree difference
Brett there’s no doubt you have educated
a lot of people in the scaled-up nation
about the different types of equipment
that we are treating it’s not all just a
cooling tower and there’s different ways
that they function now you started
talking about this earlier let’s talk
about it now different materials of
construction and typically what we see
out there are galvanized and stainless
steel and there’s different types of
stainless steel so Brett can you define
the different materials of construction
and what the different options are yes
the most common one you will see in the
industry is galvanized steel which is
now G 235 galvanized steel so that then
has that layer of zinc on that carbon
from steel whether it’s the panel or the
coil if it’s a cooler condenser and
Chris Nagel the he is who hired me out
of aapko he has a great podcast with you
I think it’s episode 37 you were right
it is 37 yeah and he gets into like
white rust and you know gets into the
really the weeds on passivation we’ve
done man six seven years early
passivation research here at Vasco on
our units varying different temperatures
different water qualities different
corrosion inhibitors
pH ranges you name it we’ve tested it
and we’ve actually have a white rust
bulletin that kind of you know explains
that and explains you know the
parameters of the water chemistry you
should keep it in during the passivation
procedure visit varies dramatically from
your ongoing parameters so that’s
something to keep in mind we found that
the passivation periods not just a
couple days it’s not like a pretty clean
and flush of new condenser piping it is
you know you’re actually changing the
metallurgy of that new galvanized
whether it’s a coil or panel you know
you’re changing it from that zinc to a
zinc carbonate zinc hydroxide layer so
people are like well how do I know when
that surface is passivated really it’s
it’s the eye test you go out there and
you look at it and the new galvanized
surfaces will be a nice shiny gray and I
mean they’re shiny so you’ll be able to
tell and then once it’s passivated it’ll
look like that battleship that dull gray
color and that means you’ve changed that
zinc layer to a passive film a
protective layer so that’s when you can
kind of change over to your normal water
treatment ongoing system Brett are you
okay if you share that document with us
for the white Russ bulletin and we can
put that on our show notes page yeah the
more people it only helps us from the
manufacturers standpoint if you know the
water treaters out there are properly
passivating units then everybody gets
less phone calls right the startup and
commissioning of a new unit is the most
critical time and when we get the most
phone calls and you know it’s you know
though your unit has you know bad
galvanizing or something on it you know
so it just saves everybody a lot of
headaches down the road if we just had
this information out for the industry
and so everybody knows you know kind of
the research we’ve done and then what
works in your area what doesn’t you know
because we kind of did research for all
over the US and Canada is we sell all
over our listeners you know have a
specific region
where they do the passivation at so we
like to hear feedback on what you’re
doing in your area as well we definitely
appreciate that and in episode 37 I went
on about this but I’m gonna do it a
little bit here your team and my team
has been working very well together for
years and you all have invited me up to
see your facility which is just
incredible and just how you manufacture
everything is is really impressive but
what I was most impressed about is your
department and you actually have small
cooling towers that you will test
different formulations whether you’re
looking at passivation or some other
item and you actually see how it deals
with the different metallurgies that you
have and the different cooling towers I
just think that’s cool yeah it’s great
we have we spent a lot of money here on
R&D whether it’s you know trying to gain
capacity of our Towers coolers or
condensers or it’s finding you know
passivation stuff that works in the
field or you know a pretreatment system
so yeah we spend a lot of time on R&D
yeah and I want to say one of the
conversations that I had with Chris and
this might have been 10 years ago where
he was saying one of the biggest factors
in passivation was heat load and before
that I never considered that but it
makes so much sense that if we’ve got a
hot piece of metal we’re trying to
passivate it it’s not going to be as
successful as if we didn’t have a heat
load on it and that has been a game
changer in the water treatment community
yeah that’s a great point because I’m
gonna go back to the University of
Kansas days I feel like I think it’s
when you took kinetics right I think
temperature drives the reaction Ford it
the same goes with the corrosion right
so the the hotter the temperature is the
more likely you’re gonna see that zinc
start to prematurely corrode off the
coil which then you’ll see us white rust
on it so being able to plan ahead with
the end user and get that unit installed
and start it up without heat load and
run water over it I mean that that’s a
huge advantage to having a successful
passivation
you know we what we see is we run into a
lot of last minutes
our girls so it’s like hey this units
going online loads going on it this
weekend immediately yeah yeah and then
you know and then it’s on the water
treatment professional to drop
everything and go out there and try to
save the day and that’s just I
understand like the frustration that
people get sometimes is it’s not fair so
we’re trying to educate our reps in the
end users that you know you’ve got to
have a passivation plan months in
advance everybody’s got to be on the
same page the last minute fire drills do
not work it’s too late at that point so
we’re trying to temper expectations when
that happens I mean also educating
everyone on the importance of planning
ahead all right we can spend the entire
episode talking about passivation and I
know it would be a phenomenal episode
but we’ve kind of already done that in
episode 37 so let’s get on to stainless
steel and we have a lot of different
flavors when it comes to stainless steel
so do you mind telling us a little bit
about those yeah when we’re talking
stainless steel from the evaporative
cooling and units side we’re talking
series 300 so the main elements and
series 300 are chromium and nickel from
the corrosion perspective so chromium
and nickel and so it’s a certain
percentage of the chromium and nickel
that makes up how much corrosion
resistance that stainless steel is so up
until about 2008 all the main players in
the evaporative cooling market from the
cooling tower side use 304 and 316
stainless steel and 2008 was when the
recession hit and at that time what
happened is nickel prices skyrocketed
and so when that happened one of our
competitors decided to try to find ways
to you know kind of cut costs or find
different areas where they could you
know still keep their profits and they
started supplying 301 stainless steel so
now when you talk stainless steel
cooling towers in the market you can
have anywhere from 301 stainless steel
304 or 3
sixteen so I’ll get into a little bit
what the differences are comparing 301
to 304 the main difference is 304 has
more chromium and nickel concentration
so what is the chromium and nickel do
the difference is with stainless steel
and does not require a passivation plan
when the stainless steel contacts air or
water it naturally forms a chromium
oxide passive layer on it so that’s why
it’s important to keep those surfaces
clean so the air or the water can
contact them and you get that chromium
oxide layer the nickel comes into play
that it helps strengthen that chromium
oxide layer so what it means is
generally is more chromium or nickel
more corrosion protection so then you
can also beef up even more the corrosion
protection by going to 316 stainless
steel so now what you’ve done with 316
is you’ve added molybdenum so that
tongue-twister of word which is always
fun when I explain this to customer
visits is having people say molybdenum
but us can kind of roll it off the
tongue what that two to three percent of
molybdenum and the 3/16 does it provides
chloride pitting protection so typical
areas that you see a 3/16 cooling tower
evaporative unit are coastal
environments right because you’re by the
salt water so you got high for IDEs or
areas where you have high chloride
concentration in the makeup water so
when you start cycling up that water
you’re gonna have high fluorides and so
your risk of chloride pitting or any
deposition that follows is higher so
there’s different areas where you know
beefing up to 3/16 is the right move and
I’m assuming there’s a big cost
difference from going to 301 to 3 or 4
and 3 or 4 to 316 yeah there definitely
is nickel really drives the cost of the
stainless steel
comparing 301 to 304 so you’re gonna be
you know a little bit more expensive I’d
say about 10% more three oh one two
three or four and then a little bit more
from 304 301 to 316 is the molybdenum
and it was before my days but we all
know that I never used it down in Austin
busy was outlawed but molybdate you know
as the corrosion inhibitor but I never
got to use it but it’s in 316 stainless
steel so you know that’s that really
drives up the price now occasionally
there’ll be an L behind one of those
numbers what does that mean L means it’s
a low-carbon stainless steel so a lot of
our units that we ship out have at least
stainless steel basins because that’s
where the water sitting so having more
corrosion protection where the water is
constantly contacting it is to the
end-users benefit so then you might see
a galvanized casing section or the the
lure the fill is up above and the fan
section that can be galvanized but
usually the basins are gonna be
stainless steel and what manufacturers
are doing now is they are welding the
basins so they weld the stainless steel
panels together and so the benefit of
using 304 L stainless steel is the low
carbon does not promote chromium carbide
precipitation so it’s a metallurgy term
where when you heat that stainless steel
you can precipitate some of that
chromium in that carbon and the steel
out and so then that leaves the weld
area a little bit weaker than the other
sheet metal so as far as the water
treater is concerned well we know that
there are welds and stainless steel we
need to be sure that that customer is
maintaining that power properly and
cleaning out the basin on a regular
basis yeah so the thing with stainless
steel you know you think Oh stainless
steel you know I beefed it up the
materials of construction you know I’m
good from a corrosion standpoint as I
mentioned right when when stainless
steel sees water it forms that TRO Miam
oxide layer right but when you start you
know running the tower and sucking in
the dirt the debris the leaves
you’re gonna start getting that sludge
buildup on the bottom of that basin and
when you look inside and you can’t see
the basin floor and it’s got a layer of
one inch mud sludge in there how are you
getting that water that freshwater or
even your water treatment chemicals in
that water to that basin that stainless
steel floor and so that’s what a big
thing with stainless steel is is you can
start seeing pitting corrosion because
you’re not keeping the stainless steel
surfaces clean and then a even goes into
the weld areas like the corners of the
basin you know we start getting that
buildup to those welds have areas you
know called crevasses so you can then
start seeing crevice corrosion which
will then look like little pits and the
in the corners and the sides of the
basin area so the big thing I’ve seen
since my time here with a Vasko is how
critical it is to keep stainless steel
basin floors clean I keep saying that if
you want to know about passivation go to
episode 37 but I’m gonna bring us back
to passivation again because now we’ve
got customers that are buying stainless
steel basins with galvanized bodies does
that type of system need to be
passivated that’s funny you asked that I
just had a phone call yesterday with a
end-user and our representative talked
in this exact same thing what we did our
passivation research it was primarily on
for a closed circuit coolers and
evaporative condensers with the
galvanized coil because that’s that heat
transfer surface right where you’ve
really where the money is and you want
to protect that coil inside the unit
that does not mean you do not need to
pass a date a unit if it has a
galvanized base in our gals a nice upper
section it’s just different because the
temperatures on a coil will be hotter
than the temperatures say on a on the
casing section the upper section of a
cooling tower or on the basin section so
it just depends that really it’s kind of
talking generally you got to test the
makeup water understanding where you are
with the makeup water to start to really
understand if you
just run water through that and kind of
naturally passivated but what we found
is natural passivation is not possible
if you’re putting heat load on that unit
I’m starting it up it’s not going to be
able to just run water over it but you
know some people don’t want to pay for a
passivation plan and so you kind of make
do you run lower cycles at the start to
try to keep the chloride concentration
down keep the pH between a seven and an
eight during that time which is very
difficult in certain areas if not
impossible so the passivation is
different we saw a metallurgical
analysis come back from a tower an open
cooling tower no coil in it and it had a
galvanized basin and a galvanized casing
section and it had a significant amount
of white rust on it and the white rust
was a concern right to the end-user this
high school they were concerned they’re
like well is that gonna how much is that
going to diminish the service life so
what this metallurgical company went out
and did was to kind of a codeine
analysis so they you know saw what kind
of the metal loss was and what they
found was they didn’t see too much of a
diminish in the zinc coating even though
there was you know a good amount of
white rust on that on that basin and on
those side panels so I guess my point
here is it is critical to passivate any
surface that is galvanized but when I’m
talking more passivation I’m talking
more on the sense of the coil inside a
cooler or a condenser that that’s where
the heat transfer is taking place on
that’s what I’m concerned I’m like you
gotta have a full-blown passivation plan
for that and I’m I’m more concerned
about that well let’s unpack that a
little bit because you’re talking about
a passivation plan and I know customers
out there when in doubt blame the water
treater so I’m talking to all the water
treaters now when you know that there’s
a new cooling tower or evaporative
condenser or fluid cooler because we now
we just learned all those new terms
coming in we need to talk to that
customer
say hey do you know we need to do these
things to properly pacify that metal so
it does not corrode prematurely
customers aren’t going to know that and
then they’re going to assume 12 months
down the road when they’re having issues
that your program is not working
properly so again Brett was very nice to
share his bulletin with us so go to the
show notes page it will have some
information on that and folks you can
charge for this I mean this is up and
above what your regular water treatment
program is so by all means you should
charge for going out there and doing all
the extra stuff that you are doing now
the issue we have a lot is we’re not
notified that a new cooling towers going
in we show up for our service and we
just see a new cooling tower is on the
roof and I don’t know what to do about
that we used to me to make sure that
we’re talking to our customers more
Brett you have any advice on that yeah I
was just I was gonna jump in that’s that
is difficult right because how do you I
always preach you got to know the
materials of construction and the
equipment that you’re dealing with but
you can learn those when you first go in
and you do like a plant survey at a new
account but you do that if you need to
do passivation and like we said it’s
already too late so I think at that
point it’s just I guess I don’t know job
to job how you’re figuring out when
you’re getting these new towers I just
just staying in contact with the
facility manager if it’s a big central
plant or it’s a hospital hotel if
they’re doing a change out you know a
replacement job you know just staying on
top with them be like hey I need to know
the timeline when you talk passivation a
couple months beforehand because if it’s
a new account there’s sometimes you know
your new commercial building across the
street and they’re like hey we know your
company we’re gonna give you the job
they might not know if it’s a closed
circuit cooler with a galvanized coil or
just all stainless steel cooling tower
which won’t need passivation so it’s
just really trying to get the right
person that knows what that unit is
going to be made out of what you know
what the materials that construction are
gonna be and finding that right person
yeah definitely communicating with your
customer and I would guess more often
than not most water treaters I won’t say
most water treaters some water treaters
do not communicate with their customers
as well as they should
engineers are very overworked these days
so there are always off doing something
because they don’t have the staff that
they used to have and it’s hard to find
them and a lot of times if we’re trying
to get so many things done in a day it
takes a lot of time out of the water to
your stay to go and find those but it is
so worth taking the time to do that
because you might just find a new
cooling tower on the roof if you don’t
yep looking looking for that plume get
out early in the morning exactly that’s
how you prospect exactly when a cooler
weather and you can see the plume hey
that’s a new potential account all right
so we’ve got one more piece of material
that we haven’t talked about and that’s
fiberglass can you shed a little light
on why they’re using fiberglass in
cooling towers yeah so I’ve got enough
information honest I guess to be
dangerous
fiberglass is kind of it’s made headway
in coastal regions more right because
it’s more corrosion resistant you know
to the elements in like a coastal region
I guess just the the tower components
itself and so what we’ve seen is that
these fiberglass manufacturers will
market the tower as you know you can run
high higher cycles because of what the
towers made up of but they’re just
thinking of their tower right and we
know as water treaters that tower water
the condenser water is going to a heat
exchanger it’s going in piping and then
it’s going to a chiller the condenser
tubes which are not fiberglass or not
PVC so you know that’s gonna limit the
cycles so that kind of when you start
hearing those arguments that does really
you know have any impact on how we’re
gonna treat it yeah you just got to
think of the entire system not just what
the towers made up of and then one other
thing we’ve seen with respect to
fiberglass is the UV the Sun will break
it down over time and so those towers
will start to look warped and you know
start deteriorating just being out on
the side
which if they’re in a coastal
environment you’re probably seeing some
sunlight pretty often or Brett I have so
many more questions for you but we’re
just about out of time so how about we
get you to come back next week and you
can talk about some of the different
designs we have in cooling towers and
then we can get into the meat of proper
water treatment from your perspective
yeah that’d be great I think that’s
important so we kind of set the page
with you know the different types of
evaporative units and then I’ll give you
some tips and some tricks that I’ve
learned from the manufacturers side that
I think can help you in your day to day
treatment well that sounds great
well we’ll get you back next week a
nation you’ll definitely do not want to
miss that one scaled-up nation how much
did you learn about cooling towers today
and what was the last time you actually
thought about a cooling tower
you know cooling towers are something
that we do in our day to day but do we
really think about all of the internals
that make them do what it is that they
do so I think it was just so awesome for
Brett to stop by and tell us something
new maybe not new to everybody but I’m
sure everybody learned something about
the device that we call cooling towers
you know I think that is the biggest
gift that our industry continues to give
back to us is that we are continuously
learning in water treatment there’s
always something new to learn there’s
always something next to learn I’ve said
this before on the show when I first
started water treatment my father told
me that the day I thought I knew
everything about water treatment was the
day that I needed to quit water
treatment now he said that because that
was his way of saying you simply have
lost your respect for this industry and
there’s just so much to learn within
this industry if we ever did think we
knew everything I think we all have a
lost our respect so tune in for Brett
next we
and until then have a great week folks
nation I think the secret to being
successful is aligning yourself with
other successful individuals and that is
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the rising tide mastermind the whole
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