Cooling Towers for Membrane Project Italy_Case Study

Cooling Towers for the Membrane Project in the Chemical Sector

Altair, a chemical plant in central Italy, renovated its production processes, decommissioning mercury cells and replacing them with new membrane cells. MITA supplied evaporative cooling towers, reducing water use.

  • Replacement of old corroded steel towers in a chemical plant
  • Supply of three steel towers with non-corrodible fiberglass infill
  • Water savings
Altair Chimica
2007, 2020
Province of Pisa, Italy
Type of interlocutor
Plant Installer
Scope of application
Chemical Sector
Story in Brief
Altair Chimica is founded in 1959 as a chlor-alkali company in the presence of the President of the Republic. In 2005, it signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry of the Environment and the EU to upgrade and modernize its Saline di Volterra plant, including the total elimination of mercury from all production processes and a reduction in the use of electricity and water from the river in front of it.
List of customer needs
- Expansion of existing closed-loop cooling (concurrently with the "Membrane Project" to replace mercury cells for electrolysis with membrane cells): 2007
- Replacement of old, obsolete and corroded metal towers: 2007
- Thermal thermal power increased to 13.9 MW: 2020 expansion
Other requirements
Water flow rate 1,000 m3/h
Technologies provided
- No. 3 PMP closed-circuit cooling towers: steel structure, non-corrodible fiberglass upper infill
- No. 1 PMM A 30 modular cooling tower: pre-filled modules easily transported and assembled on site
Construction Pluses
Accessibility to various parts to provide ease of assembly and intervention
Key to success
- Reduced water use, energy efficiency
- Technical advice from MITA during design and implementation

1. Installation context

The Altair Chimica plant, located in Saline di Volterra in central Italy, is an important site for the production of potassic derivatives and inorganic chlorinated derivatives. The basic plant is an electrolysis unit, and its solutions find applications in pharmaceuticals and water sanitization.

In 2003, the company initiated an environmental upgrading project called “Membrane Project” (in agreement with the Tuscany Region and the European Commission) to comply with new European mercury regulations and improve the environmental impact of the plant. The main objective of the project was to adopt the best available technology for electrolysis plants. Collateral objectives of the intervention: reduction of CO2 emissions, minimization of water withdrawal and consequent decrease of water effluents from the production cycle.

The modernization and extension of the plant also included the need to modify the closed cooling circuit, including replacing some old, corroded metal towers.

2. Proposed solution

MITA Cooling Technologies provided the incorrodible evaporative cooling towers for the plant’s environmental upgrading process. The company expanded the existing closed-loop plant by replacing the old, outdated and corroded cooling towers with PMP series cooling towers.
These towers were designed specifically for process water cooling in industrial settings. The supplied solution consists of 3 cooling towers, with a total capacity of about 10,000,000 kcal/h, a water flow rate close to 1,000 m3/h, and a temperature drop of 10 °C.

The towers are equipped with axial fans and are made of high-quality materials: tower body with steel structure, plugging made of double-wall sandwich panels of galvanized and painted steel, upper plugging made of non-corrodible fiberglass.

MITA Cooling Technologies provided technical advice during the design and implementation of the cooling devices. The company worked in collaboration with Altair Chimica to ensure that the cooling towers met project specifications and contributed to the reduction of water use.

3. Results and key to success

The implementation of Mita PMP series cooling towers contributed significantly to the success of the environmental upgrading project due to a number of benefits.

  • Reduced water use: the PMP closed-loop cooling towers have enabled a significant reduction in water consumption in the chemical plant’s production cycle.
  • Improved energy efficiency: the new towers use less electricity than their predecessors, thanks to optimized design and the use of efficient materials and components. Despite the additional steam consumption required for caustic potash concentration, the total energy benefit was positive.
  • Also key to the success is the individualized advice dedicated to the client during all phases of the project: from initial surveys to construction to installation.

4. The 2020 expansion

In recent times, Altair Chimica again sought MITA’s advice following a further increase in production scale: in this case, a large PMM A 30 industrial tower was supplied. This solution consists of factory pre-assembled modules that can be easily transported and assembled on site despite the vast size of the overall system. The thermal output is now 13.9 MW total.

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