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Case Study: Enhancing Cooling Tower Performance and Efficiency with BioFilmPro™


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A pharmaceutical manufacturing facility faced recurring biofouling issues, resulting in degraded chiller performance and the growth of severe microbial colonies in its cooling tower. Biofilm, which creates poor thermal conductivity, impairs the condenser approach temperature, leading to elevated power consumption and increased operational costs. 


Traditional methods, such as oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides, were initially used to address the biofouling problem employed in the plant. However, these conventional chemical treatment programs proved ineffective as microbes adapted to the chemical environment, allowing continued growth and survival. This required regular intervention and maintenance labor to maintain optimal plant performance. 


To address the biofouling issue, a comprehensive test protocol was implemented to assess the performance of BioFilmPro™ in comparison to conventional biocides. Developed by Aquatech, BioFilmPro™ is an advanced technology integrating bacteria deactivation, real-time sensing, and data-driven analytics to proactively predict and control biofilm before a problem occurs. 

The bacteria deactivation technology was strategically installed at the outlet of a chiller condenser, which circulated to a central cooling tower supporting eight chillers. A biofilm monitoring sensor was installed downstream, which continuously measured the potential for biofilm formation in real-time. Over two months, BioFilmPro’s analytics software utilized historical data to track biofilm trends in the chiller’s performance, anticipate future occurrences and automatically implement corrective actions to prevent system disruptions. 

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Performance Observations 

The initial testing phase demonstrated that normal biocide injection yielded an average potential biofilm level of around 350 mV. However, upon installing the BioFilmPro™ bacteria deactivator, the average potential biofilm levels dropped below 350mV, indicating a significantly lower potential for biofilm formation.  

In the second testing phase, bacteria deactivation was paused, and biocide injection was resumed, leading to consistently higher biofilm potential levels above the baseline of 350mV. Once bacteria deactivation was reinstated and biocide injection was ceased, the biofilm potential quickly dropped and consistently remained lower, rarely touching the baseline, as shown in Figure 1. 

 Figure 1: Biofilm potential (mv) measurement through the four phases of testing. 

Customer Benefits 

The presence of biological fouling can significantly impact plant efficiency and result in increased operational costs. However, implementing Aquatech's BioFilmPro technology in the cooling tower management program resulted in several benefits in the chiller performance evaluation. These benefits include: 

  • Reduced blowdown resulting in 300 m3 of water saved per month 
  • Improved plant efficiency through improved chiller performance and a 3-5% reduction in power consumption  
  • Decreased biocide consumption - 50-100% saving in biocide chemical costs 
  • Reduced human intervention by 20 person-hours per month for blowdown operations and chemical injection

Contact us today or visit our website to learn more about BioFilmPro!


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