The 2024 Cooling Technology Institute Annual Conference


The 2024 Cooling Technology Institute (CTI) Annual Conference for manufacturers, owner-operators, and suppliers of heat rejection equipment (i.e., cooling towers, adiabatic coolers and dry coolers) was held Feb. 4 – 8 at the Westin Galleria in Houston, TX. This article will share some updates to CTI standards and acceptance test codes, synopsize the event’s educational curriculum, share perspective, and highlight products and services offered by a sampling of firms at the event’s trade show.

Jim Baker has begun his two-year term as CTI President for 2024-2025. Baker has been a member of CTI as an Owner/Operator during his time with Phillips 66, as a Manufacturer (SPX Cooling Tech), and now as a Supplier (Galebreaker Industrial). His predecessor, Ken Mortenson (SPX Cooling Tech), will continue his involvement with CTI on the Past Presidents Committee, and with the Engineering Standards & Maintenance Committee. “Jim is an excellent communicator and an important leader in our business. He is highly qualified and will do a fantastic job,” said Mortensen.


Evolving Standards and Acceptance Test Codes

CTI’s three standing committees - Engineering, Standards & Maintenance (ESM); Performance & Technology (P&T); and Water Treatment (WT) gather at the event to review, draft and update CTI’s existing and developing acceptance test codes (ATC) and standards (STD) covering thermal performance, sound, drift, materials, plume abatement, vibration, fire resistance and much more.

The CTI STD 201 Thermal Certification program and ATC 105 originated around evaporative equipment. CTI has since developed a test code for dry fluid coolers (ATC-105DS), which led to a dry certification program (STD 201RS-Dry). In the past year, CTI published ATC 105 Adiabatic, the acceptance test code for adiabatic fluid coolers. Now, CTI is in early stages of incorporating adiabatic technology into a thermal certification program, according to Scott Nevins, Director of HVAC Product Development with EVAPCO – recently appointed as Chair of the P&T Committee.

“Once the adiabatic certification program is in place, then ASHRAE can adopt the minimum efficiency standards for adiabatic equipment in 90.1,” said Nevins.

Last year, CTI announced the development of a sound certification program for evaporative and air-cooled heat rejection equipment. Now, the STD 204 Sound Certification is in the Ad-Hoc/Board Review phase. Once approved and released, the STD 204 program will begin certifying that lines of heat rejection equipment conform to manufacturers’ published sound pressure level data, using the long-standing test code for sound, ATC 128.


According to Nevins, fourteen standards or test codes were open for revision at the time of the event.

“The ATC-106 test code for mechanical draft evaporative vapor condensers is undergoing its annual revision cycle,” said Graham Nettleton, Chair of the ATC-106 Committee, and Product Development Engineer for EVAPCO.

ESM Committee leadership includes Ken Mortenson and Joe Evans, SPX Cooling Tech; James Blake, American Lightning Protection Systems; Jamie Bland, Composite Cooling Solutions; Nina Woicke (independent); and Jon Bickford, Alliant Energy. P&T Committee leadership includes Scott Nevins, EVAPCO; Jared Medlen, Mesa Associates; and Nick Mascarenhas, Baltimore Aircoil. The Water Treatment Committee leadership includes Bob Hendel, Veolia; Al Feltzin, Becht; and Pete Elliot, ChemTreat.

These standards and codes are of great benefit to specifiers, owners and operators. During the Owner Operator Seminar exclusive to end users, one engineer from a global firm shared accounts from peers who had very costly experiences with non-CTI-certified equipment that did not perform as stated. Owner/operators, manufacturers and suppliers work in tandem to develop codes and standards beneficial to each party.

“For example, the drift test code (ATC 140) was developed years ago when owner-operators approached CTI facing new regulations regarding particulate size at property boundaries,” said Scott Nevins.


Educational Curriculum

The Conference featured about 30 technical paper presentations, a water treatment panel discussion, a half day Educational Seminar chaired by Frank Morrison with Baltimore Aircoil, and the long-standing Ask-the-Expert Seminar.

Dave Wheeler with CleanAir Engineering presented new features of the updated CTI Toolkit version 4.1 – a CTI resource featuring an air properties calculator with fully ASHRAE-compliant psychometrics, thermal design worksheets, performance evaluators and more. CleanAir is one of CTI’s licensed thermal certification test agencies, and offers cooling tower testing, consulting, sales and more out of four technical centers in Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh and France.


Ricky Mull, David Wheeler and Mike Womack – CTI Thermal Certification Administrator, with CleanAir Engineering (left to right).


During the Ask-the-Expert Seminar, Jeff Mallory from Sergeant & Lundy asked about winter temperature ground fogging mitigation. Other questions ranged from tower fill microstructure fouling behavior, whether plume abatement has any impact to legionella exposure, pressure ratings for counterflow spray nozzle retrofits, counterflow fill media gauge thickness distinctions between layers, and more.

“There were many interesting questions during Ask-the-Expert this year, particularly focused on environmental issues,” said Corey Baker, Manager – Thermal Performance & Ratings, SPX Cooling Tech.


The 2024 Ask-the-Expert Seminar panel. Front row: Nina Woicke; Bill Miller, LS Enterprise; John Zibrida, ZIBEX. Back row: Thomas Kline, Structural Technologies; Jacob Faulkner, Cooling Tower Test Associates; Jim Baker, Galebreaker Industrial; and Bob Cunningham, International Water Consultants (left to right).


The Educational Seminar featured Alternative Sources for Cooling Tower Makeup Water by David Anton, Ascend Materials and Robin Wright, Veolia; Cooling Tower Service and Maintenance by Yaram Yerushalmi, YWCT; Selecting Materials for Fan Blades and Fans by Ricardo Reis Costa and Leandro Moutinho, FanTR; and Fundamentals of Adiabatic Heat Rejection by Andrew Sickler, Baltimore Aircoil.


Heat Rejection Equipment Manufacturers

American Cooling Towers, based in Santa Ana, CA offers factory assembled ACF Series (counterflow) and ACX Series (crossflow) cooling towers, multiple field erected cooling tower designs, parts, rentals and more.


 Thomas Underwood, Erik Johnson and Geoffrey Smith with American Cooling Towers (left to right).


Aggreko Cooling Tower Services announced it was granted a patent applying to its rental evaporative cooling towers contained within an ISO-compliant shipping container frame. The patented solution integrates the versatility of a certified CSC shipping container with a purpose-built, modular cooling tower. This enables efficient transport by land, sea, and air without cost escalation and permit restrictions associated with transporting oversized loads.


Travis Whaley and Billy Childers with Aggreko Cooling Tower Services (left to right).


At the Baltimore Aircoil booth, Bill McQuade, P.E., LEED AP, FASHRAE, and Frank Morrison, CTI Marketing Chair and Technical Director for Baltimore Aircoil, discussed its modular cooling tower solutions, and TrilliumSeries adiabatic products with new CO2, ammonia and fluid cooler models now available.


Bill McQuade and Frank Morrison with Baltimore Aircoil Company (left to right).


EvapTech, a subsidiary of EVAPCO, offers new and replacement field erected cooling towers and a variety of cooling tower aftermarket services. According to John Ahern, Vice President of Engineering (retired), EvapTech is now offering the first FM Approved splash-filled crossflow cooling tower, the Series ESX. These products share high quality fire-retardant fiberglass pultrusions with proven structural integrity and a design methodology confirmed by FM Approvals Standard Class 4930 for resistance to extreme natural hazards.


Rob Vandenboer, Alexis Jensen, Graham Nettleton and John Ahern at the EvapTech booth (left to right).


Midwest Cooling Towers, based in Chickasha, OK, offers new construction, repairs and parts for fiberglass composite or traditional wooden field erected cooling towers. Midwest recently acquired Fort Worth-based Composite Cooling Solutions, who is introducing the Phoenix PL fiberglass counterflow heavy-duty modular cooling tower (120 – 500 tons per unit). Precision Cooling Towers in Henderson, KY, is also part of Midwest.


Brandon Malone, Jarrod Rowland, Luke Waltrip and Manish Puri with Midwest Cooling Towers (left to right).


SPX Cooling Tech displayed a model of its factory assembled Marley NC crossflow cooling tower with Ultra Quiet Fan option, with thermal capacities from 101 – 2,189 tons per cell in capacities from 303 – 6,567 gpm. Apart from its factory assembled capabilities, SPX offers a broad range of field erected towers, natural and forced draft concrete towers, Geareducer Solutions gearbox offerings, and much more.  

“Overall, the show has had great attendance, a lot of great technical discussion and very insightful papers this year,” said Corey Baker, SPX Cooling Tech.


Emily Rose Giunta, Alexandra Vosburgh, Anthony Shank, Carolina Lebron, Kenneth Schall, Larry Burdick, Joseph Evans, Corey Baker and Mike Partington with SPX Cooling Tech (left to right).


Component Suppliers

ABB discussed its variable speed direct drive cooling tower motor and drive systems for industrial applications. Its RPM AC synchronous PM motor with laminated finned frame construction provides an efficient power dense package. The ACS880 cooling tower drive has custom cooling tower features like trickle current motor heating, locked motor rotor functionality to prevent wind-milling, and more.


Sean Mullins and Michael Offik at the ABB booth (left to right).


Amarillo Gear Company is rolling out its new Gen II GT1712 right angle gearbox for cooling towers. Improvements include a leak-free design, lower operating temperatures, extended oil life, low-noise operation, lower maintenance and cost of ownership.


David Sayker and Bob Neely at the Amarillo Gear Company booth (left to right).


Brentwood Industries engineers and manufactures film, trickle and splash fills for any cooling tower requirements, as well as drift eliminators, inlet louvres, nozzles, and other accessories. They displayed ThermaCross, Brentwood’s latest thermally engineered advancement to vertical-fluted fills. Also displayed was ShockWave, Brentwood’s latest cross-fluted, high efficiency fill.


Caitlin Banta, Peter Rye, Jason Hill, Dylan Ziegler and Angel Perez at the Brentwood Industries booth (left to right).


Proco Products manufactures expansion joints for industrial and commercial installations using pumping, piping or ducting which requires expansion or movement joints to deal with thermal expansion, vibration or ground movement.


Noah Bieberly and Rob Coffee with Proco Products (left to right).


Regal Rexnord displayed its Traveling Water Screens, a self-cleaning water filtration system with mechanically or manually rotated mesh belt. The belt lifts debris from the basin, then an internal spray system deposits debris into a collection trough for disposal. Regal Rexnord’s cooling tower portfolio also includes couplings and fan brakes, gear drives and motors.


Jon Southworth with Regal Rexnord – Cambridge Water Screens.


Galebreaker Industrial offers windscreens, CFD modeling, winterization screens, debris filters, plume abatement, recirculation screens and other solutions for air-cooled condensers, cooling towers and heat exchangers. Windscreen protection can help reduce mechanical damage, recover thermal deficiency and improve performance of a cooling tower. Galebreaker windscreens stabilize fan pressure, reduce dynamic fan blade loading, increases fan flow rate, reduces recirculation, and more benefits.


Jim Baker – CTI President, Jeff Ebert and Jamie Wilde with Galebreaker Industrial (left to right).


WEG is introducing the W23+ Sync synchronous electric motor line meeting ultra-premium (IE5) and higher efficiency levels, cutting losses by more than 40% compared to the IE3 efficiency.


Robert Sterling at the WEG booth.


WetCooling Software showcased its thermal performance evaluation and design software for induced draft counterflow, crossflow, and natural draft counterflow cooling towers. Features include databases of different fans, splash and film fill; operating and atmospheric conditions; three software modes for verification, performance curves and design; and more.


Chris Klopper with WetCooling Software.


Testing & Water Treatment

Environmental Safety Technologies has provided legionella testing and services to cooling tower operators since 1977.


George Young with Environmental Safety Technologies.


Fluirco displayed its HydroFlow water treatment system to treat and prevent scale, corrosion, and bacteria. In short, the HydroFlow water conditioner applies an electric signal throughout the system, preventing adhesion of scale to piping and equipment, while killing bacteria and microbial growth.


Derek DeShaw displaying HydroFlow at the Fluirco booth.


HPNow displayed its patented GOgen on-site peroxide generation system for cooling tower water treatment. The system generates hydrogen peroxide, a “green oxidant,” from only water and electricity as an alternative to chemical treatment.

“It was great to see everybody, and to see a lot of new and younger faces,” said Nina Woicke, Vice Chair, ESM Committee. CTI President Jim Baker also discussed his goal to further enhance participation from younger professionals.

The CTI 2025 Annual Conference and Expo will occur February 2-6, 2025 at the Peabody Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Published April 2024