Project - Future cooling towers

Jannie Guldmann Würtz

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Project - Future cooling towers

Development of a new cooling tower with rainwater as make-up water

Project start March 2009. Ended in December 2010.

The project is completed.

Currently, there is a trend in the refrigeration industry towards using dry coolers instead of cooling towers. It is a widely held opinion that dry coolers have a longer life cycle economy than cooling tower systems. However, that is not a satisfactory development as dry coolers have an energy consumption that is substantially higher than cooling towers. Dry coolers also give rise to increased energy consumption (up to 15%) to the refrigeration systems they service. The reason why the life cycle economy of a dry cooler nevertheless can compete with a cooling tower is mainly that the operation of a cooling tower is connected with a considerable consumption of water. Using a cooling tower also gives a potential risk of Legionnaires’ disease if the air discharged by the cooling tower is inhaled.

The project will investigate which obstacles there are to using a cooling tower instead of a dry cooler. In that connection a calculation programme will be developed for the calculation of the life cycle costs of a cooling tower compared to a dry cooler solution.

A pilot cooling tower that utilises rainwater and does not create aerosols (water drops in the discharge air from the cooling tower) will be built. Measurements will be carried out on the cooling tower to document the energy consumption and efficiency, as well as possible aerosol creation.

The objectives of the project are to develop a cooling tower system that has a better life cycle economy than current cooling tower systems and to remove the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.
That can i.a. take place by:

1.       Utilising the most recent research results
2.       Utilizing rainwater as make-up water.

The total energy saving potential of the project is expected to amount to 71 TJ corresponding to 15.600 tons of CO2.


  • Vestas Aircoil A/S
  • Multi Wing A/S
  • Rambøll Denmark
  • Skive Kommune (municipality of Skive)
  • Nyrup Plast A/S
  • Danish Technological Institute


  • Development of calculation programme for either cooling towers or dry coolers
  • Dimensional basis of future cooling towers
  • Construction of pilot cooling tower
  • Test of pilot cooling tower with rainwater
  • Measurement of energy consumption, water consumption and aerosol creation
  • Adaptation of dimensional basis
  • Dissemination of knowledge.