Sub-zero air coolers and condensers are without doubt the most difficult to correctly design for reliable performance over the long term. Why? Because the range of conditions in which the air cooler must perform varies widely.

Arctic climates have extreme ambient conditions. Not just air temperature across all four seasons, but also wind conditions. These have a large impact on air cooler performance. A well designed air cooler must overcome these wildly fluctuating ambient conditions across a broad range of expected process conditions: plant start-up and shut-down, plant turndown scenarios, plant upset conditions, and more. For air-cooled condensers, where a process phase change is required to condense a gas into liquid, determining the correct design across multiple scenarios becomes an even more delicate proposition.

A correctly designed air cooled heat exchanger or condenser for sub-zero applications requires careful control of the flow of air as these ambient and process conditions change. Without optimal air recirculation around the unit, you can not get the air cooler maintaining stable operation irrespective of the changing conditions. The big risk of a poorly designed air cooler is that the unit will simply freeze up and fail outright as conditions change, causing massive disruption and downtime for the plant operator.

Jord air coolers have proven their reliable performance down to temperatures as low as minus 46 degrees celsius. These are our units currently operating in the higher latitudes of Russia and Canada. But there’s no shortage of other countries where Jord air coolers endure conditions only marginally better than this!

Materials selection is also critical for reliable performance and longevity of service in these conditions. The correct selection of steel grade is very important. And the mechanical components – the fans, motors, bearings and louvre control system – all require careful consideration. As technology continues to improve, better componentry is becoming available and should be kept in mind.

Jord’s commitment to its customers is to ensure the right design, both thermal and mechanical, is tailored for the specific needs of each project. We can commit to this, because we have the experience, with many thousands of air-cooled heat exchangers and condensers in service across six continents and well over 100 countries. We know the way equipment needs to be designed, constructed and maintained for extreme conditions, from hot, dusty desert environments to sub-zero arctic ones.