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Cooling Tower

Blowdown Equation
By James McDonald, PE, CWT Evaporation
Drift

Originally Published: CSTN July 2003

L ets take a look at how to calculate


Cooling Blowdown
cooling tower blowdown. Tower Chiller
Windage

The mass balance around a cooling tower as


Makeup
illustrated in the figure to the right is: Process
Leak

Makeup = Evaporation + Blowdown + Process Leaks + Windage + Drift

Process leaks, windage, and drift are really just forms of uncontrolled
blowdown. Combining the controlled blowdown with uncontrolled
blowdown simplifies the equation to:

Makeup = Evaporation + Blowdown

Cycles of concentration (or cycles) is a comparison of dissolved solids level


of the blowdown with the makeup water. This can be expressed as:

BD concentration
Cycles =
MU concentration

Cycles of concentration can also be expressed as:

MU gallons/minute
Cycles =
BD gallons/minute

Now, if we substitute the Makeup equation above into this cycles equation,
we get:
Evap + BD
Cycles =
BD

Calculations 417
Now carry out the division on the right side of the equation.

Evap
Cycles = +1
BD

Solving for blowdown gives the final equation:

Evap
BD =
Cycles -1

You now have multiple ways of determining blowdown from the equations
above.
If you know cycles and evaporation, you can determine blowdown.
If you know makeup and evaporation, you can determine
blowdown.
If you know makeup and cycles, you can determine blowdown.

Calculations 418