Briefs: Water savings thanks to hybrid condensers

Hybrid condensers offer significant water savings versus traditional water-cooled and evaporative condensers. They also make it possible to reduce energy consumption and refrigerant charge. In Australia, where water savings are a major issue since cities like Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney have gone to level 3 or 4 restrictions, interest in hybrid condensers is increasing. Three Baltimore Aircoil's HXC Intelligent Hybrid Condensers are now in operation at Granites Goldmine in the Tanami Desert and such equipment is set to appear in the plant rooms of many buildings in Australian cities. The hybrid condensers have both an air-cooling mode which is used on days of low load and low ambient temperature and an energy-saving evaporative mode used when the temperature and load is higher. Generally the switch point sits between 5 and 10°C. The "intelligent" aspect of the condenser is its patented modulating dampers, which further increase the dry capacity of the unit. The HXC's water efficiency is "dependent on ambient load and how it is controlled as well but the maximum is about 70% over a conventional condenser" according to Baltimore. Even if hybrid condensers are more expensive than conventional condensers, they appear to be of great interest in Australia with an estimated 30 000 cooling towers operating, most of them using 5000 to 10 000 litres each per day.