Technology

Do water-cooled chiller plants still deliver lower utility bills? Today, many chiller plant energy analyses carefully account for energy costs, and even energy escalation rates – a factor that projects how fuel costs will increase over time, while ignoring water and wastewater costs associated with cooling towers. While highly effective at transferring heat, cooling towers consume millions of gallons of water each year through the process of evaporation, drift, and blowdown. With the rising cost of water and wastewater, this omission can result in an incomplete picture for the building owner.

This article discusses using devices known as “waterside economizers” and “dry coolers” as means to achieve “free-cooling”. Free cooling (sometimes referred to as a “free cooling system”) can reduce energy consumption and operating costs by using cold ambient air in lieu of running chiller compressors for cooling loads.
For the Production Support team at the expansive Quad printing plant in Sussex, Wis., there isn’t one way to manage the operation’s complex and elaborate process cooling system. Rather, the formula for success involves a three-pronged approach that includes carefully measuring and monitoring system performance, diligently and proactively maintaining equipment to ensure peak efficiencies, and investing in updated equipment based on sound decision making. 
rPlanet Earth is a rarity in the plastics recycling and manufacturing industry. After all, its operation in Vernon, California, is the world’s only vertically integrated facility able to convert polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging waste into recycled PET (rPET) packaging for food and beverage industries. Yet, rPlanet Earth is much like any other plastics company in one key aspect: it must maintain production efficiencies to meet growing demand for its high-quality products. 
Reducing fossil fuel use is key to meeting the dual goal of carbon and energy cost reduction. A Full Heat Recovery Engagement (FHRE) approach can dramatically reduce both, through applying simple principles and using existing technology. Simple measures can help focus the design of both the buildings served and the systems used to achieve these goals.
Atlas Copco made headlines recently after introducing itself to the U.S. industrial process cooling chiller market with the launch of the TCX 4-90A chiller range. Chiller & Cooling Best Practices Magazine interviewed Robert Tucker to learn about Atlas Copco’s strategy in the United States. Tucker, a business development manager with more than 30 years of industrial fluid dynamics experience, leads the U.S. process cooling chiller initiative within the Atlas Copco Compressor Oil-free Air Division.
Chiller & Cooling Best Practices Magazine spoke with Tom Pagliuco, Executive Director Global Energy Engineering at AbbVie, Inc. about best practices for optimizing chilled water systems in today’s pharmaceutical operations. 
Schoeneck Containers, Inc. (SCI) is a company that thinks a lot about its future – and how to continue to maintain a long track record of profitability and reliability while meeting a growing demand for its quality plastic containers for customers throughout North America. It’s the kind of thinking driving the decision to install a closed-loop adiabatic fluid cooler and central chiller with free-cooling capabilities at the company’s new 250,000-square-foot production facility in Delavan, Wisconsin.   
Industrial automation and process applications requiring a chiller or heat exchanger can come in all types of shapes and sizes, and cooling capacity demands can range from a few hundred Btu/hr. for bench top lab equipment to many million Btu/hr. for laser applications. Chiller sizing for large-scale end users such as beverage, chemical or plastics manufacturing usually will demand central systems to achieve the massive cooling capacity requirements compared with small- to medium-range point of use automation applications. These unique differences become more challenging for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as machine designers must anticipate a wide range of end-user operating environments and operator skill levels when specifying chillers or heat exchangers in contrast to end-user facilities where cooling capacity requirements are location specific and operator skill levels are known.  
“Evaporative cooling capacity for the district system is provided by a six-cell, open-loop cooling tower capable of 6,000 tons,” said Reid Olsen, USU Central Energy Plant Manager, who has been at the university for 26 years. “This tower serves the condensers of the water-cooled chillers at the heart of the district cooling system. There are four chillers in all, two of which are rated for 1,800 tons each, and the other two are 900 tons apiece. The cooling towers reject heat from the condenser water loop via evaporative cooling, allowing the chillers to supply chilled water to the campus cooling loop.”
Recent legislation is impacting the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, both globally and nationally. On the heels of these changes is confusion about legislation and the availability of certain types of refrigerants. On a global scale, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol provides a global phase-down schedule for the use of HFC refrigerants in multiple sectors - including R-134a and R-410A - for the HVAC/R industry. While ratified across the globe by approximately 100 countries to date, the amendment has yet to be ratified in the United States.