Charlotte-based SSI Schaefer was in an expansion mode. There was only one problem: Due to water restrictions in place due to a severe drought, the company needed a way to add 40 percent more cooling capacity - without increasing water use.

The Charlotte area was under Stage 3 water conservation measures, which required companies to significantly limit water use. The restrictions were difficult to meet with Schaefer’s previous process cooling system, which included both a 500-ton cooling tower and 400-ton chiller, both of which consumed water. Schaefer pursued process cooling alternatives for its facility, where it makes refuse containers, returnable packaging and storage systems, to reduce the water demands.

SSI explored its options and found a solution in Ecodry, a closed-loop process cooling system from Frigel North America, East Dundee, Ill. The process cooling system was able to provide several features SSi sought: less water and energy consumption, lower costs and cleaner water.

Once the system was installed, SSI Schaefer was able to realize 97 percent water savings. The company also has experienced overall system energy savings and a 15 percent reduction in energy costs due to taking advantage of free cooling opportunities. In addition, the Ecodry has helped address SSI's heavy contamination problems, including bacterial growth and sludge that evaporated into its water.

“The system allowed us to save dramatically on water as well as circulate clean water continuously to our machinery - a critical attribute to our industry,” said Morris Marlow, technical manager of SSI Schaefer.