Water Resources Professional Project Reports

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This paper presents an evaluation of three technologies piloted at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for improving cooling tower water efficiency. High silica content (average of 88 mg/L) in LANL source water requires frequent blow down in cooling tower systems to avoid accumulation of silica scale on heat transfer surfaces. At concentrations above 150 mg/L, silica scaling on heat transfer surfaces can occur to the extent scale causes a reduction in cooling effectiveness and can lead to system shutdown. The pilot project evaluated two chemical treatment processes and two silica removal processes for a period of 4 months in a full-scale pilot. The chemical treatment processes were not successful in meeting reliability standards while meeting the 75 percent efficiency goal (-350 mgIL), while the filtration technologies demonstrated over 90 percent efficiency, where efficiency is defined as the percent of expected vendor process water usage to current LANL water usage in cooling tower systems. This paper discusses the results of the field test. and evaluates performance, reliability, and regulatory compliance, of the processes and presents an evaluation for full implementation options.

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Los Alamos National Laboratory, an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, is operated by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract W-7405-ENG-36. By acceptance of this article, the publisher recognized that the U.S. Government retains a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to publish or reproduce the published form of this contribution, or to allow others to do so, for U.S. Government purposes. Los Alamos National Laboratory requests that the publisher identify this article as work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy. Los Alamos National Laboratory strongly supports academic freedom and a researcher's right to publish; as an institution, however, the Laboratory does not endorse the viewpoint of a publication or guarantee its technical correctness.


Cooling towers., Water efficiency., Incrustations., Descaling.


A Professional Project Report Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Water Resources, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico February 23, 2001.