Salt water and extreme environment applications

Limited water resources made a Middle East refinery use Red Sea water for its cooling needs. The large salt content of sea water causes high fouling and corrosion, generally making it extremely difficult for cooling.

DATE 2023-11-28

Traditionally a cooling tower has been used to directly cool the sea water which in turn is circulated in an open loop to plant heat exchangers. In this case, each plant heat exchanger would need to be constructed with exotic materials. In addition, fouling would still be an issue leading to inefficiencies and added maintenance.

An Alfa Laval Niagara WSAC with FlexWater feature was the best choice. In this application, we cool potable water inside the tubes providing closed loop cooling to the plant heat exchangers. The outside of the tubes are drenched with an open sea water loop providing the evaporative latent heat cooling. Titanium tubes with all prime surface (no fins) minimize fouling. FRP (fiberglass reinforce plastic) was used for the tube bundle casings. The sea water is used at 2.2 cycles of concentration.


Alfa Laval Niagara Wet Surface Air Cooler

Alfa Laval Wet Surface Air Coolers (WSAC®) are custom built, closed-loop cooling and condensing systems that combine high performance, low operating costs, compact size and reliable operation. 

More about WSAC 


  • Heat rejection–169,553,000 BTUH achieved
  • Cooling 24,000 GPM potable water
  • Low fouling and low maintenance
  • All plant heat exchangers able to be low cost standard materials
  • No thermal pollution back to the sea