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Chemicals Used In Cooling Tower Water Treatment

Without the proper chemical treatment program, a cooling tower may begin to lose efficiency as a result of corrosion, scale deposition, and biofilm growth. Treatment programs consist of Inhibitors to protect against scale and corrosion and biocides to protect against microbial growth and biofilm.

  • Scale & Corrosion Inhibitors are developed by blending phosphates, polymers and azoles (such as tolytriazole) into different ratios depending on the LSI level of the water. The raw materials that make up the different formulas have been around for decades and there is little differentiation amongst the formulas used by the reputable water treatment suppliers. Differentiation often comes in the service of the water treatment representative and the delivery mechanism of the inhibitors.
  • Biocides are used to prevent microbial growth that can be harmful not only to the cooling tower but also to humans. The use of two biocides is very common because the microbes can often create a resistance if only one form of biocide is used. The water treatment professional will design a program that balances continual low level feeds with occasional shock treatments to keep the bugs off balance. The two types of biocides are Non-Oxidizing Biocides and Oxidizing Biocides.

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The Smart Approach

Solid water treatment

Smart Release Technology® uses the same proven chemicals that have been treating cooling towers for decades. The scale and corrosion inhibitors are created by compressing powders into a tablet, resulting in a concentrated tablet. The biocides are solid granules or tablets that are packaged into safer to handle and easier to apply packages than traditional liquid biocides. The differences and benefits are not in the chemicals but in how the chemicals are applied. The concentrated chemicals do not need calibrated pumps to deliver the chemicals into the water stream. Instead the water just needs to be directed into the equipment and the chemicals will release a consistent dose of chemical treatment. The elimination of pumps greatly increases the reliability of the system and reduces the monitoring required with liquid treatment systems.

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How Smart Release Technology® Works



If the chemicals in these solid products are the same as they are in liquids, and the benefits are as good as we say they are, then you might be wondering “well how does this all work?” The beauty of it all is that the technology is one that we’re all familiar with. Smart Release Technology® uses the same time-release technology that pharmaceutical companies line the drugstore aisles with. The difference is that our bodies often require treatment for 6-24 hours while our cooling towers often require 30 days of consistent treatment (between service visits). Our Corrosion Technology R&D team is responsible for bringing this technology to the industrial marketplace.

In 1998 we developed tablets of corrosion additives for heavy duty diesel engines back. And by 2001 we had perfected the coating chemistries and manufacturing processes required to control the release for anywhere from 6-12 months. With a passion for developing solutions for any metal exposed to corrosion, our team identified cooling towers as a market in need of an alternative form of treatment. By 2006 we had developed coatings that would effectively treat cooling towers for 30 days.

Controlled Inhibitor and Biocide Release for 30 Days

The entire Smart Release Technology® offering is based upon providing a solution that will provide consistent and reliable treatment for between the common 30-day service visits. The tablets have a polymer coating that is sprayed onto them to control the release while the biocide release is contained by the use of filter membranes which are selected based upon the particle distribution of the different biocide granules.

Our team of corrosion experts developed simulated cooling tower rigs to study different polymer coatings on the tablets and different membrane openings for the biocides. Since launching Smart Release in 2006, we have conducted over 450 30-day trials on simulated cooling towers. We replicate the hard water in Arizona and the softer water from Maine in order to optimize the release profile for each product line. The result is a core product line of scale and corrosion inhibitors that will treat any water in the United States.

Controlled Inhibitor and Biocide Release for 30 Days

Cooling Tower Water Treatment Options:

A cooling tower can be over 600 feet tall and treat a giant thermal power station or it can be a small evaporative condenser behind a local convenience store. A cooling tower may be of critical nature such as those that keep data centers cool, or it may be a backup tower on a commercial building in the city. Just as there is no one size that fits all for cooling tower design, there is no one size fits all for the application of the cooling tower chemicals.

Liquid scale & corrosion inhibitors and biocides are excellent at treating the very large towers because they’re closely monitored for precise chemical feed rates. Precise treatment is required because if these large cooling towers are under treated there could be catastrophic results, whereas if they are over treated, the costs can quickly spiral out of control. In cases such as this, the liquid cooling tower chemicals are a perfect fit.

A common failure point for liquids is when a pump fails. If a pump fails, there won’t be treatment and when there isn’t treatment, there will be scale, corrosion, and biological issues.

In addition to pump prime issues, liquids also require spill containment. The liquids are delivered and stored in plastic drums ranging from 5 gallons to 275 gallons in size. If one of these containers were to spill, it creates a mess to clean up and a hazard of chemical exposure to employees and anyone else in the building.

Cooling Tower Water Treatment Options

When Solid Cooling Tower Chemicals Are the Right Fit

Smart Release Technology® is used in over 2,750 locations throughout the world. While it would never be a good fit in a thermal nuclear cooling tower application, it is a great fit in locations that don’t have the time or budget for close monitoring and in locations that put an emphasis on providing a safer environment for employees and others in the building.

Since the chemicals are the same as liquids, Smart Release Technology® use is widespread.

✔ 2,750 accounts and counting

✔ Used in 48 US States

✔ Used in 17 countries

✔ Backed by 5 chemists and 2 Corrosion PhDs

When Solid Cooling Tower Chemicals Are the Right Fit

Smart Release Technology® is popular in hospitals, schools, property management organizations, grocery & refrigeration, data centers, and municipalities. While each location is unique, their reasons for using an alternative to liquid usually fall into these categories:

Safety for Employees and Visitors1) Safety for Employees and Visitors: Healthcare, educational, and other high traffic facilities are driven by the need for safer processes in everything they do—and their water treatment needs are no exception. As we treat cooling towers, chemicals must be safely transported through their facilities. Buckets of caustic liquid chemicals, of course, present the possibility of spill hazards that can endanger students or patients, visitors and staff. Even disposal of containers can be a safety risk which is why these facilities often choose Smart Release Technology®

non chemical water treatment for cooling towers2) Ergonomics and Storage in Small or Hard to Reach Towers: Carrying and storage of heavy liquid containers can be challenging when a cooling tower is located in remote areas. Since Smart Release Technology® is delivered in boxes that range in size from 12 pounds for biocides up to 25 pounds for scale and corrosion tablets, it makes it easier to reach these locations. Furthermore, no spill containment is required which also lowers the footprint.

Ergonomics and Storage in Small or Hard to Reach Towers3) Reliability of Chemical Treatment: Small or hard to reach cooling towers are often ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and that also increases the risk that many days can pass before an issue with a pump is noticed. With Smart Release Technology®, users have the comfort of knowing that their cooling tower is receiving scale and corrosion and biocide protection for 30 days.

Getting Started with Smart Release Technology®

Find a Distributor or Become a Partner

Smart Release Technology® is a part of Dober’s Corrosion Technology Division. Our focus is on developing corrosion technologies that solve problems in the marketplace and then partnering with companies that share our vision for ‘Amazing our Customer’s’. We are not a service company but if you are interested in using Smart Release, we can help connect you with a water treatment company in your area that is an approved partner and distributor of Smart Release Technology®. We have 58 approved regional AWT companies and 2 national water treatment partners that we feel confident will deliver exceptional service for you.

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A Greener Approach to Water Treatment

The importance of green chemistry to reduce environmental impact has been growing year by year. Some companies Go Green because they get LEED points while some Go Green because it is the right thing to do. We believe that whenever you have an opportunity to do something for the environment you do your best to make it happen.

Here are some Green Benefits of Smart Release.

  • Unlike liquid chemistries, which require stabilizers to keep raw materials in solution, Smart Release contains at least 97% active ingredients. This eliminates the dischange of many harmful chemicals into the waterways.
  • Smart Release products are delivered in recyclable cardboard boxes. Our high active concentration reduces shipping weight and our carbon footprint.
  • Good treatment allows for higher cycles of concentration. Smart Release lowers water usage by using robust chemistries.



Reduce water usage in cooling tower


non chemical water treatment for cooling tower


lower co2


Did you know Smart Release Technology could help you go green? You can earn LEED points and achieve positive community recognition for your facility because Smart Release reduces your carbon footprint and uses recyclable packaging.

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