Reduction of Biofilm Formation on Cooling Tower Heat Exchangers using Nano-silica Coating Environmentally sustainable antifouling coating demonstrated on stainless steel heat exchanger tubes


JOHNSON MATTHEY TECHNOLOGY REVIEW, vol.64, no.4, pp.419-424, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1595/205651320x15895565390677
  • Page Numbers: pp.419-424


Cooling towers are industrial cooling units operating to dissipate heat. As with any surface in contact with aqueous systems, biofilm formation appears on the surface of heat exchangers. Although biofilm formation on plastic tower fill in wet cooling towers has been studied widely, no studies were found regarding biofilm formation on steel heat exchangers in closed-loop systems. In this study, heat exchangers were coated with nano-silica, which is known to reduce the formation of biofilm. Natural biofilm formation was monitored for six months. Biofouling was examined monthly using epifluorescence microscopy by assessing the numbers of live and dead bacteria. It was observed that the biofilm layer formed on the nano-silica coated heat exchanger surfaces was significantly lower than on the control surfaces. 3 log microbial reduction was recorded on coated surfaces in the first month. After six months, total biomass on control surfaces reached 1.28 x 10(12) cell cm(-2), while the biomass on nano-silica coated surfaces was 6.3 x 10(4) cell cm(-2).