Cooling Towers
AWE Solutions

The Problem

Commercial cooling systems have become commonplace throughout the World over the last 60 years. In addition, industrial refrigeration systems lengthen the shelf life of perishable foods, minimizing exposure to harmful bacteria and spoilage. Industrial cooling systems help make many processes and products possible we normally take for granted. However biological fouling, corrosion, scale buildup and replacement water costs the industry billions of dollars.

The largest and most efficient cooling systems use water to cool the refrigerant in ammonia and vapor compression cycles. Evaporated water carries away the heat necessary to do this. However, much water is wasted in the controlling of solids concentrated in the cooling water left behind. Water supplies vary in quality at different locations, primarily in the amount and type of dissolved solids. This in turn, requires customized chemical treatment plans. And in some areas, chemical treatment against scale formation only seems to have a marginal effect, requiring frequent cleaning of heat exchange surfaces and system maintenance.

The AWE Solution - Hydrodynamic Cavitation Water Treatment Process

Unlike many of the other technologies available, our Ionizer system is a much more "bulletproof" treatment because it is impervious to alkaline or acidic source water, high or low pH, hardness, suspended solids or total dissolved solids. Additionally, the easy operation allows personnel to see if this system is working and it can be either remotely monitored.

Biological Control: Our technology is in sharp contrast to chemical treatments (chlorine or bromine treatments that are bio-inhibiting). Chlorine concentrations degrade over time, requiring constant additions. And for a biological cell to die, the cell must ingest the chlorine or bromine. This may often takes up to 30 minutes, if and when, the cell comes in contact with a chlorine molecule, and therefore is not always 100 percent effective.

The extreme pressures and temperatures created by our Ionizer physically destroy bacteria and biologics. Microbes and bacteria can develop resistance to traditional chemicals, requiring constant adjustment of treatment methodology. There are no such worries with our Ionizer process – Bacteria cannot adapt to having their bodies ripped apart.

Scale Control: Cooling systems build up scale over time due to the addition and concentration of soluble calcium often in the form of calcium bicarbonate. Calcium bicarbonate can decompose to yield insoluble calcium carbonate and carbonic acid with any changes in temperature and pressure.

Calcium solubility is inversely proportional to water temperature, meaning calcium precipitates as water temperature increases. The kinetic energy and localized temperature associated with our Ionizer process drive solid particles of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) from solution to form non-sticking colloidal crystals. These colloids attract dissolved calcium and carbonate ions, which can then filtered from the water stream.

Corrosion Protection: All waters are corrosive to some degree; however, the level of corrosive tendency will depend upon its physical and chemical characteristics. The materials that a given water supply will negatively affect may differ. Water that is corrosive to galvanized pipe may not be corrosive to copper. Corrosion inhibitors that protect one material may have no effect or may even be detrimental to other materials. Biological growth in a piping system can also cause corrosion by providing an environment in which physical and chemical interactions can occur.

AWE's Ionizer inhibits corrosion through four mechanisms:

  • Elevating pH to alkaline state, approximately 8.5 or higher, through CO2 stripping, both iron and copper are protected from oxidation corrosion which cannot operate in an alkaline state. Under these conditions, metals are allowed to establish a thin layer of natural protection, which is not penetrated by system water or dissolved oxygen.
  • Eliminating the need for corrosive biocides and acids used in traditional treatment.
  • Destroying bacteria that can create Microbiological Influenced Corrosion (MIC).
  • Maintaining a clean system, which eliminates an environment conducive to corrosion.

Benefits of AWE's Ionizer Process for Cooling Water Treatment

Water Conservation

  • Increasing Cycles of Concentration
  • Supplying Chemical-Free Blowdown Reuse

Cycles of concentration refers to the number of times water can be recirculated through a system before reaching a mineral concentration requiring blowdown. AWE's Ionizer process differs from traditional chemical treatment by physically removing scale-forming minerals from the water. By removing scale, cooling water can be circulated more often than with traditional chemistry.


  • Energy Efficiency

The harmful effects of scale and biofouling on cooling systems are well documented.  A very small amount of fouling dramatically decreases efficiency, and significantly increases operating costs. Properly controlling scale, dirt, debris, and microbiological contamination is key to maximize energy efficiency.

Effective chemical treatment is complex, requiring constant attention to balance chemical selection and dosage with ever-changing makeup water and cooling system load. While chemical treatment can be effective when properly managed, too often chemical providers are unable to adjust their treatment program to effectively respond to these dynamic conditions. 

The result: systems that are either chemically overtreated (reducing equipment life) or scaled and fouled (increasing energy consumption and maintenance cost).

  • Environmental Impact


  • Traditional chemical water treatment programs include film-forming corrosion inhibitors, dispersants to prevent calcite or hard scale from forming on heat transfer surfaces, and biocides used to eradicate microbiological organisms. Besides the health & safety risk inherent with handling hazardous materials, the manufacturing, shipment and disposal of these chemicals has a significant environmental cost.
  • Chemically treated blowdown is required to be disposed of in sanitary sewer systems and processed by our local water treatment plants. However, the large quantities of biocides and other chemicals can harm the bacteria used in many waste water treatment facilities.

AWE's Ionizer process eliminates the need for the wasteful and potentially dangerous chemical supply chain while freeing up significant capacity in our wastewater treatment facilities. It's a win-win-win for our customer's pocketbooks, our communities and the environment.