Those of us involved with cooling equipment tend to have a heightened interest in all things related to cooling technology. In the past several months, three completely unrelated events occurred that caught my eye precisely because the headlines carried the words “cooling” and “chilling.”
  • NASA’s International Space Station astronauts finally were able to remove the broken cooling pump that left the floating observatory at risk of overheating. Until the spare pump could be installed, the cooling system that keeps the six astronauts cool was limping along with one functioning pump. The worry was that something could happen to knock out the remaining pump before the replacement pump was installed. A power surge caused the initial problem. I wondered how many times plants around the United States face downtime when power surges damage their equipment. But with our equipment and our feet firmly anchored by gravity, we don’t have as much to lose.

  • A company that specializes in cooling down oil rigs urgently made its way to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana coast. Burner Fire Control in Lafayette, La., set up a water curtain, which allowed the rig to burn off any oil or gas captured from the damaged well. When oil or gas is burned off, or flared, tremendous radiant heat is generated. The water system cools down the rig, reducing the heat’s intensity and preventing further destruction.

  • Artists expressed themselves with recycled refrigerators this summer in downtown Chicago by transforming them into wacky sculptures. The reason? The local power utility used the repurposed appliances to promote its recycling program. One sculptor laid an old Philco refrigerator on its back, added wheels, gave it a fancy paint job, and voila! A hot rod was born. ComEd notes that an old refrigerator can use up to five times more energy than its energy efficient equivalent. All this raises the question of how efficient is your industrial refrigeration system?
Just food for thought.

Anne Armel, Group Publisher, armela@bnpmedia.com