In general terms, the purpose of a cooling tower is simple: To remove heat from a process . But a cooling tower is much more interesting: A specialized heat exchanger that brings air and water into direct contact with each other. When this happens, a small quantity of water is evaporated, reducing the temperature of the water as it’s being circulated through the tower. The most common application of a cooling tower is as a part of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in buildings, where the use of a cooling tower is paired with a water-cooled chiller or water-cooled condenser. These smaller-scale units are found on the rooftops of shopping centers, hospitals, and other universities. But the industrial cooling tower is prevalent in large industries such as power plants, petroleum & petrochemical refineries, steel facilities, and pulp/paper facilities. Industrial cooling towers are constructed in many shapes and sizes from large, looming hyperbolics to long In-line rectangular structures you might have seen in a power plant.
Depending on the required cooling load of a facility – the design of a cooling tower will vary, as will its size. The size of the facility from which heat needs to be extracted is the primary factor that determines the cooling load. Another important factor that impacts the tower design – is the relative humidity of the air. A facility in the deep south (say, in Houston), will have a relative humidity that is much higher than you’ll find in high-desert (say, in northern Arizona).