8 Different Types Of Cooling Towers

There are many different types and variations of cooling towers, below we'll cover eight different types. With so many options it can be confusing and hard to figure out which is best for you. The list below will inform you about the different types and will hopefully give you a better understanding of what type may be best for you.

Classified by Construction

Packaged Cooling Tower

1. Packaged Type ​- These types of cooling towers are assembled at a factory and are smaller than field erected towers. Since these are smaller they only come in tonnages up to around 1,500 per cell. They are typically used at places that have a smaller chilled water requirement. It could include; chemical plants, hotels, malls, hospitals, manufacturing plant.

Field Erected Cooling Tower

2. Field Erected​ - These are much larger in size than the packaged tower types. They have a much greater cooling capacity. They are shipped to the site in pieces and assembled there. They are not able to be transported by truck once assembled. Power plants, petroleum sites and others like these are where these are typically used.

Classified by How Air and Water Flow Through the Tower

Natural Draft Cooling Tower

3. Natural Draft Cooling Towers​ -These are typically very tall, shaped like a chimney, and are concrete. These are often used at nuclear power plants. The warm air naturally rises due to the cool, dry air outside. The warm air rises and draws air to the top of the tower where it is released.

Mechanical Draft Cooling Tower

4. Mechanical Draft Cooling Towers​ - These towers have a fan in the top of them and pull in air from the side or bottom. The dry cool air outside is pulled in through the fill. Once it reaches the middle of the tower the warm moist air is blown out the top by the fan.

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Open Loop vs. Closed Loop

Open Loop Cooling Tower

5. Open Loop Cooling Tower ​- In an open loop system the water being used in the process flows through the tower exposed to the outside elements and is a part of the evaporative cooling process.

Closed Loop Cooling Towers

6. Closed Loop Cooling Towers -​ In a closed loop tower there is a tube bundle in the top of the tower. The working fluid flows through the tube bundle. Water is sprayed over the tube bundle and the fan pulls air across it for cooling. This type of tower protects the working fluid from exposure to the outside environment and eliminates contamination.

Crossflow vs. Counterflow

Crossflow Cooling Towers

7. Crossflow Cooling Towers ​- Crossflow towers have water enter on each end of the tower. The air is drawn in from the sides, perpendicular to the flow of water. The air continues through the fill to the middle of the tower where the fan pushes it out the top.

Counterflow​ Cooling Towers

8. Counterflow​ Cooling Towers - The air is drawn in from the bottom and moves in the opposite direction of the water. The water is sprayed in near the top of the tower onto the fill. The warm moist air moves through the fill and is pushed out the top by the fan.

Author Details

President of Industrial Cooling Services

Blake McClimon

Blake McClimon joined LEL Critical in 2012 and has since moved his way up to President of Industrial Cooling Services. His continued growth in the areas of industrial HVAC equipment, with a focus on Cooling Towers and Air Chillers, has helped set the vertical up for success. Blake is a graduate of USC Upstate where he earned his degree in Business Administration and Management.

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