Industrial cooling tower can be used to remove heat from various sources such as machinery or heated process material. The primary use of large, industrial cooling tower is to remove the heat absorbed in the circulating cooling water systems in power plants,refineries, petro chemical plants, natural gas plants, food process plants,, and for other industrial facilities such as in condensers of distillation columns, for cooling liquid in crystallization, etc. The circulation rate of cooling water in a typical 700 MW coal-fired power plant with a cooling tower amounts to about 71,600 cubic metres an hour (315,000 US gallons per minute) and the circulating water requires a supply water make-up rate of perhaps 5 percent (i.e., 3,600 cubic metres an hour).
If that same Industry had no Industrial cooling tower and used once-through cooling water, it would require about 100,000 cubic metres an hour and that amount of water would have to be continuously returned to the ocean, lake or river from which it was obtained and continuously re-supplied to the plant. Furthermore, discharging large amounts of hot water may raise the temperature of the receiving river or lake to an unacceptable level for the local ecosystem. Elevated water temperatures can kill fish and other aquatic organisms (see thermal pollution). A Industrial cooling tower serves to dissipate the heat into the atmosphere instead and wind and air diffusion spreads the heat over a much larger area than hot water can distribute heat in a body of water. Some coal-fired and nuclear power plants located in coastal areas do make use of once-through ocean water. But even there, the offshore discharge water outlet requires very careful design to avoid environmental problems.
Petroleum refineries also have very large cooling tower systems. A typical large refinery processing 40,000 metric tonnes of crude oil per day (300,000 barrels (48,000 m3) per day) circulates about 80,000 cubic metres of water per hour through its cooling tower system.
The world's tallest Industrial cooling tower is the 202 metres (663 ft) tall. Industrial cooling tower of Kalisindh Thermal Power Plant in Jhalawar, Rajasthan, India.