Behind most modern portable and fixed evaporative cooling systems is a component known as rigid evaporative media. At first glance, this component appears to be a simple block of corrugated cardboard-like material. Outside appearances are often deceptive though, and this is most assuredly the case with evaporative media. Within the intricately and proprietarily designed flutes and angles is the ability to cool many everyday aspects of our lives, from data centers that support our daily online lives to the agriculture environments where our food is sourced.

While you may have never heard of evaporative cooling, it is all around you. The simplest definition of evaporative cooling is cooling with water. Used since the ancient Egyptian days to generate natural cooling, a few examples of evaporative cooling at work include the cooling sensation felt when climbing out of a swimming pool, or feeling the cool breeze blowing across a lake. By evaporating water, the temperature of the air in contact with the liquid water will lower as an endothermic reaction takes place. During this reaction, the liquid water changes to a gas state and the temperature of the air lowers. This is where rigid evaporative media comes into play.

The simplest definition of evaporative cooling is cooling with water

Rigid Evaporative Media

As mentioned earlier, rigid evaporative media is the technology behind portable evaporative coolers and fixed evaporative cooling applications. The quality of the evaporative media chosen for these systems makes a crucial difference in the effectiveness of the cooling achieved. The expert engineering of rigid evaporative media ensures even water distribution and is imperative to maximize the interaction between air and water for the most efficient evaporation, and therefore, the most effective cooling. Composing the media of only superior raw materials is the key aspect to producing strong media that does not easily break down in water, and it is designed in a way that the water self-cleans the media when it runs across it. Higher-end evaporative media is coated with a proprietary blend of resin material to ensure longevity and inhibit the growth of algae. Reputable evaporative media manufacturers have the ability to meet specific performance specifications, considering a customers’ desired pressure drop, saturation, wet out rate and more.

Evaporative cooling offers an energy efficient, environmentally friendly and economical cooling solution over traditional air conditioning methods. There is no need for refrigerants or a compressor, meaning there is no additional heat to vent from the system.

The expert engineering of rigid evaporative media ensures even water distribution and is imperative to maximize the interaction between air and water for the most efficient evaporation

So where exactly does this cooling technology meet daily life?

  • Food chain supply

Did you know that agricultural applications from poultry houses, dairy farms, swine industries and greenhouses all utilize fixed evaporative cooling? Before we find food options on grocery store shelves or restaurant tables, there has been a process to provide the freshest, best-quality option for consumers.

  • Meat and dairy production 

Whether talking about egg-laying hens, broilers or free-range chicken, it has been proven that cooling improves the production and efficiency rates in chicken houses. The same is true for the dairy industry. Cooling the cows and reducing heat stress improves overall milk production. When it comes to meat production, it should be noted that animals such as pigs and broilers do not have sweat glands. Due to this physiological limitation, heat is intensified if their environment is not well managed. It’s important to keep these animals cool – from small, artisan farms to large, agricultural operations – to ensure production meets the quality and quantity demand of the food chain.

  • Greenhouses

Greenhouses are another area that must maintain a delicate balance of keeping temperatures from soaring when dealing with certain fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. As growers seek to find year-round crop growing options, evaporative cooling in greenhouses plays an important role in providing nutritious options in the food supply chain. This touches consumers who have become more conscientious about buying local and embracing farm-to-table practices.

  • Data centers 

They are the backbone to the fibers of our online and social media lives. Computers that power our cloud data run 24/7. Cooling the air surrounding these machines via the fixed evaporative cooling system helps reduce the load on a traditional air conditioning approach. According to a trade publication on the matter, growing demand for digital services and data centers means effectively meeting the power requirements of the IT industry in some geographies, which often means more and larger facilities. Media streaming makes up the biggest portion of global traffic, and it is steadily increasing to become the energy guzzler of the internet. This consumption essentially equates to energy usage and high demand on data centers during high traffic times such as the first half of 2020 during the unprecedented global quarantines that were put in place. Increased online data usage through work from home initiatives and added streaming applications will only increase the burden on data centers. Reducing the heat generated is a benefit of using a fixed evaporative cooling system to ensure data centers run efficiently, and consumers have the internet and social platform usage they want when they want to access it.

  • Gas turbines 

Gas turbines are used to create mechanical energy from a combustible fuel source to provide electrical energy to homes and businesses. Studies have shown gas turbines located in regions that experience high seasonal temperatures are prone to significant losses on both efficiency and output during these high-temp seasons. In response, engineers have begun installing evaporative coolers to cool the ambient air, resulting in increased performance and output.

  • Portable evaporative coolers

They provide cooling in a variety of settings from automotive shops, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses to outdoor sporting events and recreational settings, as well as home patios. Formerly referred to as swamp coolers, modern-day evaporative coolers are more energy efficient and effective thanks to the quality of rigid evaporative media that evaporates the water. Portable coolers create mobile cooling where traditional air conditioning is ineffective or cost prohibitive. As countries and governments focus more and more on the ravages of heat stress and heat-related illness in the work place, employers are looking to evaporative cooling as an effective and cost-efficient method of protecting workers and avoiding government fines.

As consumers look for more green options, evaporative cooling is considered to be an environmentally friendly solution. Utilizing natural elements and staying away from harsh chemicals used in traditional air conditioning options, rigid evaporative media in a fixed or portable system can provide efficient and cost-effective cooling relief.

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Lonny Watson Director, Kuul Media Sales, Portacool

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