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Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917 www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng An exergy analysis on the performance
Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917 www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng An exergy analysis on the performance

Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917 www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng An exergy analysis on the performance

www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

An exergy analysis on the performance of a counterflow wet cooling tower

Thirapong Muangnoi a , Wanchai Asvapoositkul b, * , Somchai Wongwises b

a The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangmod, Bangkok 10140, Thailand b Department of Mechanical Engineering, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangmod, Bangkok 10140, Thailand

Received 23 February 2006; accepted 29 August 2006 Available online 18 October 2006

Abstract

Cooling towers are used to extract waste heat from water to atmospheric air. An energy analysis is usually used to investigate the performance characteristics of cooling tower. However, the energy concept alone is insufficient to describe some important viewpoints on energy utilization. In this study, an exergy analysis is used to indicate exergy and exergy destruction of water and air flowing through the cooling tower. Mathematical model based on heat and mass transfer principle is developed to find the properties of water and air, which will be further used in exergy analysis. The model is validated against experimental data. It is noted from the results that the amount of exergy supplied by water is larger than that absorbed by air, because the system produces entropy. To depict the utilizable exergy between water and air, exergy of each working fluid along the tower are presented. The results show that water exergy decreases continuously from top to bottom. On the other hand, air exergy is expressed in terms of convective and evaporative heat transfer. Exergy of air via convective heat transfer initially loses at inlet and slightly recovers along the flow before leaving the tower. However, exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer is generally high and able to consume exergy supplied by water. Exergy destruction is defined as the difference between water exergy change and air exergy change. It reveals that the cooling processes due to thermodynamics irreversibility perform poorly at bottom and gradually improve along the height of the tower. The results show that the lowest exergy destruction is located at the top of the tower. 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cooling tower; Exergy analysis; Exergy destruction

1. Introduction

A cooling tower is a heat rejection device. Its main func- tion is to extract waste heat from warm water to the atmo- sphere. Heat rejection in cooling tower is specified as convection between the fine droplets of water and the sur- rounding air, and also as evaporation which allows a small portion of water to evaporate into moving air. Therefore, the process involves both heat and mass transfer. Cooling towers are widely used in most power plants, refrigeration and air conditioning industries, etc [1] . They can be classified by the movement of water and air as counterflow and cross-

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +662 470 9338; fax: +662 470 9111. E-mail address: wanchai.asv@kmutt.ac.th (W. Asvapoositkul).

1359-4311/$ - see front matter 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2006.08.012

flow types. Moreover, they can also be classified by means of air flow into mechanical draft and natural draft types. The analysis of cooling tower performance has been studied and developed over the last century. Investigations on the performance and its factors have been widely stud- ied. Heat and mass transfer are the core principles in these analyses. Bahaidarah [2] stated that the method generally used for cooling tower calculation was developed by Mar- kel over 70 years ago. The equation was presented in a dif- ferential form known as Markel Mathematical Modeling and was used for describing the distributions of water- and air-conditions along the cooling tower. However, an obvious disadvantage of Markel equation was based on the assumptions that evaporation of water flow was neglected in energy balance and saturated air was at the exit. These assumptions made the results inaccurate.

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

911

Nomenclature a air/water interfacial area per unit volume of tower, m 2 /m 3 wet-bulb
Nomenclature
a air/water interfacial area per unit volume of
tower, m 2 /m 3
wet-bulb temperature, C
T wb
V
A
X air
c
X w
volume of tower, m 3
air exergy, kW
water exergy, kW
pa
c
Greek symbols
pv
tower cross-sectional area, m 2
specific heat of dry air at constant pressure, kJ/
kg K
specific heat of water vapor at constant pressure,
kJ/kg K
specific heat of water at constant pressure, kJ/
kg K
q
air density, kg/m 3
x s,w
G dry air mass flow rate, kg/s
humidity ratio, kg w /kg a
saturated humidity ratio evaluated at T w , kg w /
kg a
h
h
h
w
c
h
d
h
f,w
h
fg,w
h
g,w
enthalpy, kJ/kg
heat transfer coefficient of air, kW/m 2 K
mass transfer coefficient of water, m/s
enthalpy of saturated liquid water evaluated at
T w , kJ/kg
phase change enthalpy ( h fg,w = h g,w h f,w ) at
T w , kJ/kg
enthalpy of saturated water vapor evaluated at
T w , kJ/kg
w
w
tm
w
relative humidity
specific water exergy, kJ/kg
specific thermomechanical exergy, kJ/kg
specific chemical exergy, kJ/kg
ch
l chemical potential, kJ/kg
Subscripts
0
restricted dead state
00
environment
H tower height, m
a
dry air
I
air
moist air
Ka
exergy destruction, kW
tower characteristic, kg/m 3 s
conv
convective heat transfer
L
Le f
water mass flow rate, kg/s
Lewis factor, (Le f = h c / h d q c pa )
evap
evaporative heat transfer
exp
experiment
P pressure, kPa
e
exit
R gas constant, kJ/kg K
i
inlet
s
entropy, kJ/kg K
entropy of water, kJ/kg K
pred
prediction
v
water vapor
s f,w
T
temperature, C
dry-bulb temperature, C
w
water
T db

c

pw

x

A detailed explanation of the procedure for developing Markel’s basic equation applied to counterflow and cross-flow cooling towers was outlined by Baker and Shry- ock [3] . Zubair et al. [4] investigated the performance char- acteristics through the counterflow cooling tower. The result showed that a majority mode of heat transfer rate is evaporation, where it was 62.5% of the total heat transfer rate at the bottom and about 90% of that at the top of the tower. Since evaporation is by far the most effective factor in cooling towers, the accuracy of the predicted conditions are directly dependent on it. For this purpose, it is quite common to include the evaporation term in the equations such as that of Osterle [5] for finding the tower character- istic ratio (KaV/L) and exit air conditions. Kloppers and Kro¨ ger [6] expressed the equation for the tower perfor- mance calculation using the Poppe method [7] , which was developed for actual unsaturated and supersaturated air before exiting cooling towers. Furthermore, the influence of Lewis factors on the performance of wet cooling towers was proposed by Kloppers and Kro¨ ger [8] . The results showed that it decreased when the inlet air was relatively

hot and humid. The Lewis factor is proportional to the heat transfer rate. Other approaches, proposed by [9–12] , were based upon the second law analysis which was more instructive in pre- dicting loss in different designs at different locations. To

demonstrate this, the experiment with natural draft cooling

ˇ

tower was done by S irok et al. [9] . The results confirm that the low and uniform entropy generation or exergy destruc- tion in cooling tower can be achieved when heat transfer across the plan area is homogeneous. One interesting feature of exergy analysis for the system which undergoes a psychrometric process such as in cool- ing tower operation is that the total exergy can be split into thermomechanical and chemical components [10,11] and so it enables one to quantify the contribution of each term on the total exergy through the tower. Shukuya and Hamm- ache [12] expressed that thermomechanical and chemical

exergy play an important roles in assessing the actual ther- modynamics merit of psychrometric process application. Until now, there is still a small number of researchers who study and investigate the energy utilization of water

912

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

and air in cooling tower, especially via exergy analysis. Currently, little is known about the applicability of exergy analysis for cooling tower investigation. In the method to be predicted in this paper, a counter- flow wet cooling tower performance is predicted by using heat and mass transfer between water and air to drive the solution to steady-state conditions. The second law is used to take account of exergy distributions of water and air in cooling tower. Investigation of the calculated results can be used to further understand details of exergy in cooling towers.

2. Mathematical model

In counterflow cooling tower, water flows downwards while air flows upwards. It is assumed that the conditions of water and air vary only with vertical position in the tower. The differential section of the tower height d H and the given boundary conditions are shown in Fig. 1 . The important assumptions of the model are as follow [13] :

Heat and mass transfer through the tower wall to the environment is negligible.

Heat transfer from the tower fan to air and water is negligible.

Water and dry air specific heats are constant.

Heat and mass transfer coefficients throughout the tower are constant.

Heat and mass transfer is in a direction normal to the flow.

Water loss by drift is negligible.

Temperatures of water and air at any cross-sections are uniform.

Air Water G, h e , ω e , T e L i , h
Air
Water
G, h e , ω e , T e
L i , h f,w,i , T w,i
G
h + dh
ω + dω
L, h f,w
dQ
dH=dV/A
G, h,ω
L - dL
h f,w – dh f,w
G, h i ,ω i , T i
L e , h f,w,e , T e
Air
Water

Fig. 1. Schematic of mass and energy balance of a counterflow wet cooling tower.

For steady-state condition equation, the mass balance equation of the amount of evaporated water into air yields

ð 1 Þ

d

L ¼ G d x

Heat removed from water is equal to heat gained by air

yields

ð 2 Þ

G d h ¼ L d h f ; w þ h f ; w G d x

The energy balance based on the concept of enthalpy potential in terms of heat- and mass-transfer coefficients, h c and h d respectively, can be written both for air and water sides. The convective mass transfer established from Osterle [5] is shown as

G d x ¼

h d q a ðx s ; w x Þ d V

ð

3

Þ

For air energy balance where h fg,w h g,w [14] ,

 

G dh ¼ h c a ð T w T Þ d V þ h d q a d V ð x s ; w

x Þ h g; w

ð

4

Þ

After simplification of Eqs. (3) and (4) and the replacement of dH = (d V)/ A where H is the tower height (m) and A is the constant tower cross-sectional area (m 2 ), the change of air enthalpy and the change of humidity ratio to the tower height are:

H ¼ Ka A

d

dH ¼ Ka A

d

d

h

x

G

G

½ Le f c pa ð T w T Þ þ h g; w ð x s ; w xÞ ;

ð x s ; w xÞ

and

ð

ð

5

6

Þ

Þ

where Lewis factor (Le f = h c / h d q c pa ) is an indicator of the relative rates of heat and mass transfer in evaporative pro- cess [8] and is determined to be unity [5] . Ka, which is writ- ten for h d q a , is the tower characteristic. By substitution of

d h f,w = c pw d T w in Eq. (2) , the corresponding change of

water temperature on the tower height is

d

T w ¼ G ð d h h f ; w d xÞ Lc pw

ð

7 Þ

For given water temperature at inlet and exit ( T w,i , T w,e ), water to air mass flow ratio ( L/ G ), the air inlet dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures (T db,i , T wb,i ), tower cross-sec- tional area (A ), and tower characteristic (Ka), Eqs. (5)– (7) may be solved numerically for exit conditions of both air and water stream. The calculation starts at discrete points along the tower height from bottom to top with equal space D H . The air–water vapor thermodynamics properties are calculated by equations based on ASHRAE [15] and Mohiuddin and Kant [16] . The air enthalpy change, dh, and humidity ratio change, d x , through the tower can be obtained by solving Eqs. (5) and (6) . There-

fore, d T w can be calculated from Eq. (7) . The water flow rate which is reduced continuously from top to bottom due to evaporation from Eq. (1) can be written as

ð 8 Þ

L H ð j þ 1Þ ¼ L H ð j Þ þ G ð x H ð j þ 1Þ x H ð j Þ Þ

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

Start Initially prescribed flow conditions for water and air. Input T w,i , T w,e
Start
Initially prescribed flow conditions
for water and air. Input T w,i , T w,e ,
T db,i , T wb,i , L i , G, A, Ka
Assume the water mass flow rate at the outlet, L H=0
For j = 1 to J max - 1
H j+1 = H j + ΔH
Calculate dh/dH from Eq. (5), where h H(j+1) = h H(j) + Δh,
Calculate dω /dH by Eq. (6), where ω H(j+1) = ω H(j) + Δω.
Calculate the increasing water
temperature, dT w , by Eq. (7)
T w, H(j+1) = T w, H(j) + ΔT w ,
L H(j+1) = L H(j) + ΔL
Next j
No
L
− L
ε
*
(J
)
inlet
max
Yes
End

*Convergence criteria, ε = 5 × 10 -5 kg/s

913

Fig. 2. The flowchart of the calculation of water–air conditions in cooling tower.

Since L at the bottom (H = 0) is unknown, an initial guess for L at H = 0 is made. An iterative calculation is required until the change in L at the top from the calcu- lated value and the given value become smaller. The com- putational procedure is outlined in Fig. 2 .

3. Exergy calculation

Taking the analysis, the specific exergy in psychrometric process—such as in the cooling tower operating mechanism without the effect of kinetic and potential energy at steady state—can thus be generally represented as

w ¼ w tm þ w ch

ð9 Þ

The specific thermomechanical exergy can be written as

[17]

10 Þ

w tm ¼ ðh h 0 Þ T 0 ð s s 0 Þ

For an ideal gas with constant specific heat c p ,

ð

w tm ¼ c p ð T T 0 Þ T 0 c p ln T R ln P

T 0

P 0

ð

11 Þ

The specific chemical exergy defined in Wark [18] is shown as

n

w ch ¼ X

k ¼ 1

x k ð l k ; 0 l k ; 00 Þ

ð 12 Þ

where x k is the mole fraction of substance k in the mixture. For ideal gas mixture, the chemical potential integrated

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T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

between restricted dead state and environmental state at ambient temperature T 0 is given by

l k ; 0 l k ; 00 ¼ RT 0 ln P k ; 0

P k ; 00

ð13 Þ

It can be also noted that the specific exergy for psychro- metric process w is a measure of the thermomechanical exergy, changed from actual state to restricted dead state, plus the chemical exergy, changed from restricted dead state to environment. Thus,

n

ð14 Þ

w ¼ ðh h 0 Þ T 0 ð s s 0 Þ þ X x k ð l k ; 0 l k ; 00 Þ

k ¼ 1

In the wet-type cooling tower, water and air are the only two kinds of working fluids revealed in operation. So it is important to write the exergy equations for both water and air for applying in the analysis. On the basis of Eq. (14) , the exergy of water X w in environment when water is considered as an incompressible fluid [18] can be written as

X w ¼ L ½ð h f ; w h f ; 0 Þ þ v f ; T ð P P sat; T Þ T 0 ðs f ; w s f ; 0 Þ R v T 0 ln h 0

ð15 Þ

In practice, the second term on the right side of the above equation is usually neglected when compared with R v T 0 ln h 0 . That is, Eq. (15) is finally becomes:

X w ¼ L ½ð h f ; w h f ; 0 Þ T 0 ð s f ; w s f ; 0 Þ R v T 0 ln h 0 ð16 Þ

For the air side, the specific exergy of air w air may be con- sidered as an ideal gas mixture composed of dry air and water vapor, which can be deducted from Eq. (14) in envi- ronment. This can be written as [11]

w air ¼ x a ½

ð17 Þ

The over-bar (–) represents the mole basis. Substituting the above equation in the form of constant specific heat c pa and

c pv

R ln ð P = P 0 Þ, and, on the basis of Eq. (12) , l a l

a ; 0 ¼

c pa ln ð T = T 0 Þ

h a

h a; 0 T 0 ð

h v ; 0 T 0 ð

s a s

s v s

a; 0 Þ þ l a l

v; 0 Þ þ l

and

a; 0

þ x v ½ h v

for

v l v; 0

Ds a ¼

D h a ¼

c pa ð T T 0 Þ

RT 0 ln ðx a = x a; 0 Þ , the content of water vapor can be done sim- ilarly. As a result,

w air ¼ ð x a c pa þ x v c pv Þ T T T ln

T

T

0

0

0

þ

RT 0 ln P 0 þ RT 0 ð x a ln x a þ x v ln x v 0 Þ

ð x a ln x a þ x v ln x v 0 Þ P x

P

x

a; 0

x

v ;

ð18 Þ

Writing on a mass of dry air basis when neglecting the change of pressure through cooling tower ( P = P 0 ), the exergy of air X air becomes

X air ¼ G ð c pa þ x c pv ÞðT T 0 T 0 ln T

T 0 Þ

þ R a T 0

ð 1 þ 1 : 608 xÞ ln ð1 þ 1 : 608 x 00 Þ = ð 1 þ 1 : 608 x Þ

þ 1 :608 x ln x 00

x

ð19 Þ

For determining the rate of exergy destruction I , the loss potential of air to recover exergy supplied by water, can be constructed from the control-volume exergy balance equa- tion. The relation is applied at steady state conditions and undergoes an adiabatic process with no work delivered. Assuming that air–water thermodynamics properties are known at discrete points along the tower height, the exergy destruction for each incremental tower height d H is

½X w; H ð j þ 1Þ þ X air ; H ð jÞ ¼ ½ X w; H ð j Þ þ X air ; H ð j þ 1Þ

|fflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl{zfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl}

Total exergy entering

|fflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl{zfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflfflffl}

Total exergy leaving

þ

|{z} I

Destroyed exergy

20 Þ

After rearrangement, the exergy destruction for the discrete height d H will be

ð 21 Þ

ð

I ¼ ½ X w; H ð j þ 1Þ

X w; H ð j Þ þ½ X air ; H ð j Þ X air ; H ð j þ 1Þ

4. Performance simulation

To validate the method, some experimental data in Table 1 done by Simpson and Sherwood [19] is applied to the cooling tower. The comparative results are the exit dry-bulb temperatures ( T db,e ), and exit wet-bulb tempera- tures (T wb,e ). It can be noted that the error between the pre- dicted and experimental values are within 4.0%. Thus, this model is agreed in use for predicting the conditions of water and air in cooling towers. The experiment No. 1 of Table 1 is used to depict the characteristics of water and air through cooling tower. The ambient conditions used

Table 1 Comparison between experimental data obtained from Simpson and Sherwood [19] and those obtained from mathematical model and their errors

Experiments no.

1234

Experimental conditions Inlet water flow rate, L i (kg/s) Inlet dry air flow rate, G (kg/s) Inlet dry-bulb temperature, T db,i ( C) Inlet wet-bulb temperature, T wb,i ( C) Inlet water temperature, T w,i ( C)

Exit water temperature, T w,e ( C)

Tower cross-sectional area, A (m 2 )

Tower characteristic, Ka (kg/m 3 s)

Experimental results

Exit dry-bulb temperature,

T db,e,exp ( C)

Exit wet-bulb temperature,

T wb,e,exp ( C)

Model predicted results Exit dry-bulb temperature,

T db,e,pred ( C)

Exit wet-bulb temperature,

T w,e,pred ( C)

Errors in predicted values

T db,e,pred (%) T w,e,pred (%)

1.259

1.259

1.008

1.008

1.187

1.187

1.265

1.250

29.00

30.50

35.00

35.00

21.11

21.11

26.67

26.67

28.72

34.50

38.78

38.78

24.22

26.22

29.33

29.33

1.057

1.057

1.057

1.057

3.025

3.025

3.025

3.025

26.67

30.27

33.27

33.27

26.17

29.94

32.89

32.89

27.42

31.17

34.44

34.46

26.35

30.02

33.04

33.11

2.81

2.97

3.52

3.58

0.69

0.27

0.46

0.67

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

915

for exergy analysis are at T 0 = 25 C, P 0 = 1 atm, and x 00 = 0.009923 kg/kg (50% RH). The results from the cal- culation are plotted in Figs. 3–8 . Water temperature, air temperature and humidity ratio are plotted against the height of the tower as shown in Fig. 3 . Water temperature, T w , decreases continuously as it flows downwards to the bottom. Air flows upwards from the entrance at bottom and exits at top. The dry-bulb tem- perature of inlet air, T db , initially decreases and then slightly increases after the tower height of 0.68 m (an intersection point of T w and T db ). Before this point T w is less than T db . This indicates that heat flows from air to water. How- ever, after the intersection point T w is more than T db . Therefore, heat flows in the opposite direction. It is known that the water thermal energy is removed by both convec- tive and evaporative heat transfers to air. The effect from evaporation can be indicated in terms of air humidity ratio, x , and wet-bulb temperature, T wb . It is also noted that

0.040 30.0 0.035 29.0 0.030 0.025 28.0 0.020 T db 27.0 0.015 0.010 X 26.0
0.040
30.0
0.035
29.0
0.030
0.025
28.0
0.020
T
db
27.0
0.015
0.010
X
26.0
air,conv
0.005
0.000
25.0
0.00
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Exergy of air via convective heat transfer (kW)
Dry-bulb temperature (º C)

Height of tower (m)

Fig. 5. Exergy of air via convective heat transfer and air temperature profiles through the cooling tower.

30.0 0.04000 28.0 T 0.03500 w T db 26.0 0.03000 T wb 24.0 0.02500 22.0
30.0
0.04000
28.0
T
0.03500
w
T
db
26.0
0.03000
T
wb
24.0
0.02500
22.0
0.02000
ω
20.0
0.01500
18.0
0.01000
0.00
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Temperature ( º C)
Humidity ratio (kg w/kga)

Height of tower (m)

Fig. 3. Temperature profiles of water and air, and humidity ratio profile through the cooling tower.

120.3 32.0 120.0 30.0 119.7 X w 28.0 119.4 T w 26.0 119.1 24.0 118.8
120.3
32.0
120.0
30.0
119.7
X w
28.0
119.4
T
w
26.0
119.1
24.0
118.8
118.5
22.0
0.00
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Exergy of water (kW)
Water temperature (º C)

Height of tower (m)

Fig. 4. Exergy of water and water temperature profiles through the cooling tower.

1.000 0.0220 0.0200 0.800 0.0180 ω 0.600 0.0160 0.400 0.0140 X air,evap 0.200 0.0120 0.000
1.000
0.0220
0.0200
0.800
0.0180
ω
0.600
0.0160
0.400
0.0140
X air,evap
0.200
0.0120
0.000
0.0100
0.00
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer (kW)
Humidity ratio (kgw/kga)

Hieght of tower (m)

Fig. 6. Exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer and humidity ratio profiles through the cooling tower.

T wb , which increases continuously from bottom to top, is always less than T w . In this case, the approach temperature is 3.11 C. As a result, heat still flows from water into air. Therefore, heat transfer mode in cooling tower is domi- nated by evaporation. Fig. 4 shows water exergy, X w , and water temperature. Water exergy defined as the available energy carried by sup- plying water decreases continuously from top to bottom. It can be explained from the fact that water temperature decreases from top to bottom as a result of supplying its exergy to air. Water exergy shows that the supplying rate is nearly constant until approaching the bottom. Eq. (16) explains water exergy where the first two terms are known as thermal exergy and the last is chemical exergy. Thermal exergy is the exergy associated with difference in tempera- tures, and chemical exergy is the one that associated with

916

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

0.800 0.700 0.600 0.500 0.400 0.300 X air 0.200 X air,evap 0.100 X air,conv 0.000
0.800
0.700
0.600
0.500
0.400
0.300
X
air
0.200
X
air,evap
0.100
X
air,conv
0.000
0.00
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Exergy of air (kW)

Height of tower (m)

Fig. 7. Exergy of air which is partly of those via convective and evaporative heat transfer profiles through the cooling tower.

0.120 0.100 0.080 0.060 0.040 0.020 0.000 0.13 0.26 0.38 0.51 0.64 0.77 0.90 1.02
0.120
0.100
0.080
0.060
0.040
0.020
0.000
0.13
0.26
0.38
0.51
0.64
0.77
0.90
1.02
1.15
Exergy destruction (kW)

Height of tower (m)

Fig. 8. Exergy destruction values inside cooling tower.

also indicated the minimum value of X air,conv . After this point, X air,conv contained in air is able to let the thermal energy flow into it and its T db increases. Exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer— X air,evap — and its humidity ratio are shown in Fig. 6 . Both values increase continuously along the tower. These indicate that X air,evap contained by air is able to let the thermal energy flow into it. Exergy of air via convective and evaporative heat trans- fers, X air,conv and X air,evap , and exergy of air ( X air = X air,conv + X air,evap ) are plotted as a function of tower height shown in Fig. 7 . When comparing with exergy of

water X w in Fig. 4 , it is noted that the values of X w are more than those of X air through the tower. This means that exergy contained in the water is able to disperse its thermal energy into the environment. Meanwhile, exergy contained in the air is able to let the thermal energy flow into it. It is also clearly shown in Fig. 7 that the process is dominated by exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer. Exergy consumption is always accompanied by entropy generation, thus the generated entropy must be discarded constantly from water. The generated entropy is propor- tional to exergy destruction [9] . The exergy destruction I represented by the difference between exergy change of water and exergy change of air, D X w and D X air , shown in Fig. 8 . It can be described that, for example, 0.099 kW of exergy destruction is destroyed when the tower bottom height is changed from 0.00 m to 0.13 m. Furthermore, another 0.073 kW of exergy destruction is also destroyed when the tower height is changed from 0.13 m to 0.26 m, and so on. These distributions of exergy destruction indi- cate that these are high at bottom and gradually low at the top. The minimum I locates at the top.

5. Conclusion

ambient humidity, h 0 . Because the chemical exergy at ambi- ent is constant, the temperature of water can be used as an indicator of water exergy. The process shows that water exergy at the bottom is less than that at the top. Similar ten- dency can be held for water temperature. On the air side, its exergy, X air , means that available energy of air to recovers or utilizes that supplied by water. There are two kinds of exergy in air: exergy of air via con- vective heat transfer, X air,conv , and exergy of air via evapo- rative heat transfer, X air,evap . The process is described by Eq. (19) where the first term represents X air,conv and the rest is X air,evap . Fig. 5 shows exergy of air via convective heat transfer and dry-bulb temperature profiles along the cool- ing tower. The reduction of X air,conv and T db can be noted from the bottom to the height of 0.68 m. These correspond with the results discussed earlier in Fig. 3 . In that region, heat transfer is taking place from air to water due to neg- ative convection. The intersection point of T db and T w indi- cates no temperature difference; hence, no convective heat transfer of air to water with the minimum T db value. This

A mathematical model for predicting the properties of water and air along the counterflow wet cooling tower is based on heat and mass transfer principles. The exergy analysis is used to explain the performance of simulated cooling tower. A method was presented for the prediction cooling tower performance by employing an exergy analy- sis. The method was validated using experimental data from [19] . The results show that:

Water exergy defined as the available energy carried by water to be supplied decreases continuously from top to bottom. For the air side, its exergy means the available energy of air to recover or utilize that supplied by water. There are two kinds of exergy in air, that are due to exergy of air via convective heat transfer and exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer. It reveals that exergy of air is mainly controlled by exergy of air via evaporative heat transfer. Exergy destruction is high at the bottom and reducing at the top. The distributions of exergy destruction can be used as a guideline to find optimal potential for improving cooling tower performance. For example, the use of a combination of two types of filling material is

T. Muangnoi et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 27 (2007) 910–917

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chosen by placing very efficient filling material with a large contact area at the bottom region where exergy destruction is high, and placing a regular one at the top region where exergy destruction is low. One important observation from this study is that the choice of the ambient conditions (eg. T wb , T db ) affects the results of exergy analysis quite strongly. Currently, work is in progress to see the inlet conditions of air and water effects to the cooling tower performance.

Acknowledgement

This present study was financially supported by the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) and the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). The authors would like to express their appreciation to Assis- tant Professor Sitichai Wongtanasuporn for his recommen- dations in carrying out this research.

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