Many industrial plants along the Gulf Coast depend on cooling towers for process cooling. Most of these cooling towers, depending on age and design specifications, were built to withstand between 90 mph and 120 mph winds, but only the structure will withstand this level of wind. Louvers, casing, fan stacks, wind walls, and other external components are likely to be damaged by winds well below 120 mph. Furthermore, most of the industrial cooling towers in service today are constructed of wood that is continually exposed to very harsh conditions that over time reduces the structural integrity of the tower. Many towers currently in operation are significantly aged and in some cases poorly maintained. Towers that fit this profile are at significant risk of partial or complete collapse if exposed to hurricane force winds.
Hurricane Winds and Your Cooling Tower
When an industrial cooling tower is moderately damaged in a storm, cooling tower repairs can take between a few days and several weeks to complete. When a cooling tower is damaged to a point it must be rebuilt or replaced, the time required to complete the rebuild will range from several weeks to several months. In the event of a significant hurricane making landfall in a heavily industrialized area, many cooling towers are likely to be damaged by the same storm. When numerous cooling towers are damaged at one time, demand for materials and construction personnel will exceed supply resulting in even longer lead times.
Rental Cooling Towers Can Help You Maintain Operations Today
Rental cooling towers are a great resource and a great way to quickly replace lost cooling capacity until the permanent cooling tower is repaired. However, sufficient rental cooling tower capacity may not be available when it is needed most if prior arrangements are not in place. Unless cooling capacity is reserved in advance of a significant hurricane, sufficient rental cooling capacity may not be available to meet the cooling needs left behind by the storm. When a hurricane makes landfall in a heavy industrialized area, it is not uncommon for numerous cooling towers to be damaged or destroyed, easily exceeding the available rental cooling capacity. Facilities that are dependent on cooling towers should consider their risk and decide if reserving rental cooling tower capacity is right for their business.
Rental Cooling Tower Contingency Plans
A contingency plan that utilizes rental cooling towers can make a big difference when it comes to getting process cooling water restored quickly. In most cases rental cooling towers can be installed within just a few days, allowing a plant to return to full operation without cooling limitations while the damaged cooling tower is being repaired or replaced. Rental cooling tower capacity is available to support the largest of cooling towers. Aggreko owns more than 1,500,000 GPM of cooling tower capacity along with pumps, piping, and electrical distribution to complete the system. Combined with Aggreko’s vast fleet of rental generators, Aggreko can provide a complete temporary cooling system - one that is also powered by Aggreko.
There are many different levels of action that can be taken to reduce the time it takes to recover from a cooling tower emergency. Based on a company’s level of risk and their tolerance for risk the company can choose to prepare for a loss of cooling water by reserving 100 percent of the cooling capacity required to replace all of their cooling towers, choose to reserve a moderate capacity, or they can choose to only develop a response plan that aids in the decision making and implementation process following an emergency. No matter what level of rental cooling tower contingency planning required, Aggreko has the experience, resources and expertise to aid our customers in the process.
For more information on our cooling tower rentals and hurricane planning, fill out the Contact Us form, email us at Aggreko Cooling Tower Services or call at 888.496.6208.