What Do You Know About Cooling Towers?

We have all seen them. They are most commonly associated with the enormous stacks that identify nuclear power plants. But the truth is that cooling towers are everywhere, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes for numerous industries. This article will focus on how cooling towers operate and where one would find them across world industry.

Cooling towers serve to remove byproduct heat from industrial facilities and push it out into the atmosphere. Most plants use heat widely in their operations (or their processes create heat as waste, in accordance with the laws of physics) and this heat must be removed – nobody wants to work in a factory that routinely gets up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooling towers typically either push this heat directly into their air or use water to initially start the cooling then allow the steam to jet through the towers. The method used is determined primarily by the nature of the facility.

These towers may be most commonly associated with the large smokestacks of big factories, power plants, or refineries, but they actually appear in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are defined more by functionality than by construction – meaning that they can range anywhere from a small vent at the top of a one room building to the massive structures associated with the aforementioned nuclear power. The latter of which are referred to as hyperboloid structures, and have been built to be as large as almost 700 feet tall and over 300 feet wide. The largest of these is present at the Niederassum Power Plant in Germany.

These serve a vital role in any industry as heat is an ever present issue at most processing facilities. This may be intended (such as melting down metals or burning fuel to run facilities) or as a byproduct of regular operations (machinery heating as it creates or refines products). This is not significantly different from the heat that is given off by your desktop or laptop computer as you read this article, only on a much larger scale.

I will close this article by addressing the myth that these towers are pollutive. While the towers are absolutely used by many companies that pollute our earth, it would be unfair to associate cooling towers directly with pollution. While many facilities do jet out harmful and polluted waste products via large smoke stacks that can hurt air quality and possibly even contribute to global warming (depending on one’s political beliefs on that issue), the concept of a cooling tower is based solely on removing heat. As a general rule, steam jetted into the atmosphere is not harmful to the environment. It quickly cools to normal temperature as disperses and simply rejoins the water cycle. If other harmful byproducts are incorporated or survive into the cooling process and make their way into the atmosphere via the cooling tower, this falls on the company doing the cooling, not on the technology behind the cooling tower itself. It is important to understand that the presence of a cooling tower is not equivalent to poor air quality, that lies primarily in what industry the facility participates in and how it goes about its own operations.

The Freedom Tower – Signature of the New World Trade Center Complex

The new World Trade Center complex currently under construction in Manhattan, New York City is a very ambitious project designed to fulfill multiple roles: stand out as a symbol for national strength and freedom, pay homage to the victims fallen during the terrorist acts on 9-11, as well as provide people with thousands of job opportunities and bring a major contribution to the local economy. Regarded as a controversial and challenging concept a few years ago, the new World Trade Center complex has recently begun to take shape, revealing the monumental figure of an infrastructure complex that corroborates latest technology materials and advanced security features with innovative, interesting, modern and unconventional designs. When completed, the complex will comprise the Freedom Tower, three adjacent tall buildings, a residential tower, a museum and a cultural center.

Although the project is far from being completed (the new World Trade Center is expected to be completed by 2012), it has already become very popular worldwide and has generated lots of divergent public opinions. While some people consider the project to be more spectacular and interesting than the previous constructions, others regard it as too ambitious and radical, claiming that the new complex should share more characteristics with its predecessor.

People who aren’t very impressed by the magnitude and the sumptuous character of the new project are concerned about the efficiency and the reliability of the security measures incorporated in the designs. However, the team of architects, engineers and constructors in charge with bringing the colossal, imposing World Trade Center buildings to life have assured everyone that the new complex will not only be impressive through size and aspect, but also through safety and efficiency.

The signature of the magnificent World Trade Center complex is undoubtedly the Freedom Tower (World Trade Center Tower 1), the centerpiece building of the new project. The Freedom Tower has a monumental yet very modern aspect and includes many symbolic features. First of all, the total height of the structure (from its base to the top of the spire) will be 1776 feet, making reference to the year 1776, when the United States Declaration of Independence was established and made public. Once completed, the Freedom Tower will also become the tallest building in the United States (surpassing the Sears Tower in height) and among the tallest buildings in the world.

The shape of the Freedom Tower will resemble a gigantic Egyptian Obelisk, adding new, innovative features to the popular and ancient obelisk design (the aim of the teams of architects and engineers is to situate the Freedom Tower at the crossroads between modern and traditional, slightly modifying the popular obelisk design and using innovative materials for the construction). One on top of the other, the Freedom Tower is expected to be a masterpiece in terms of design and engineering, combining advanced functionality with state-of-the-art technology and great engineering.